Thirst No. 1 by Christopher Pike
Remember in Rambo II when Rambo spears some unfortunate evil dude and said evil dude BLEW UP? Something of that nature happens in this re-issue of a ‘90’s vampire classic. Rest assured, people will explode, sometimes spontaneously, sometimes on account of sniper rifles and rocket launchers, and, if you’re a pro at suspending your disbelief, Pike will take you on a high octane roller costar ride and then blow YOU up.
In a thinly veiled attempt to ride the YA vampire train to riches and glory, the publishers of Christopher Pike’s backlist have re-issued the first three novels (The Last Vampire, Black Blood, Red Dice) of his bestselling Last Vampire series in this thrilling pulp omnibus.
Sita is a five thousand year old vampire: blond, beautiful, and a certified badass. She’s also the last of the bloodsuckers and, as the story begins, she’s the new girl in Mayfair, a sleepy town in the Pacific Northwest. In history class, she meets Ray, a sensitive teen hunk and here I almost sent this book back to the library unread; I felt like I read this story before. In this case, I’m secretly beating a certain author who shall not be named with the plagiarism stick because I suspect Pike was probably rocking out to Nirvana when he penned The Last Vampire which is to say this chick came before that egg hatched at twilight. Plus, Sita glittered too…for logical reasons, radioactive fallout being one of them.
Out of loyalty to Pike, I soldiered through the “I drink blood and you must think this is unique” bit to the “So the lion falls in love with the lamb: I have no soul, but he has soul enough for two” crap and I am glad. There are…HELICOPTER CHASES, DEADLY FLUTE PLAY-OFFS, RABID VAMPIRE DOGS, and someone gets SPEARED with a JAVELIN (I do love a good spearing).
Let’s speak plainly. Ray—Sita’s mortal lover and ‘soul mate’—was such a sniveling wimp he makes Bella Swan look like Chuck Norris. I doubt I’m the only reader who felt this way, which is why it was so cool when Christopher Pike, probably sensing the inherent lameness of this character, BLEW HIM UP!!!! Have you ever come across a character you can’t stand and wish the author would make him or her (*cough* Bella) spontaneously combust and then the author READ YOUR MIND and plopped this annoying character next to a leaky gas tank and lit a match? This…and helicopter chases, is why Christopher Pike is the king of YA pulp.
Count me in for Thirst No. 2. I have to find out what happens after Sita launched the nuclear warheads and nuked Vegas. Don’t you dare laugh! The way I see it, vampire stories are already far-fetched; why not crank the lever to full-throttle and juice the horror/sci fi genre for all it’s worth? Pike holds nothing back. And it shows. I suspect Pike had as much fun writing The Last Vampire as I had reading it.
This series may win no awards, but an annoying character is blown up and that’s the biggest award of all. Suffice to say, many a coma-inducing classic could use an unnecessary explosion.
As for a rating, I give this a B+ for Blockbuster.