Paraestrals, Volume 1: A Vampire’s Awakening by Sara Stenner (Self-Published, 2012, 106pp.)
The first part in a serial novel, Paraestrals: A Vampire’s Awakening takes place in a large city in England, and focuses on Samantha LeFay, a vampire gumshoe. Just fresh out of high school, she co-owns the Paraestrals Private Investigation Service with her best friend. As the story begins, she’s wrapping up a case involving child abduction, when she thinks back on her awakening as a vampire. Like most vampires of pop culture, Samantha enjoys super strength and hearing, but that’s about it in terms of advantages. When Samantha turns 16, she suddenly finds sunlight unbearable. She starts sunburning more easily than the average person, and has to wear long-sleeves and sunglasses in the summertime. No glamor or sparkly advantages here. To be honest? I kept expecting a secret vampire society to swoop down any second and say, “You’ve been accepted to the House of Night/Hogwarts/whatever,” but the truth is, poor Samantha’s adventures as a supernatural creature are actually quite lonely. Her newfound strength freaks out the kids at school, and turns her into a social pariah. As for her bloodsucking tendencies, there’s no one to act as her mentor. Her parents are dead, and all she has left is a snarky stepmom and a beloved half-brother. So, kudos to the author for taking the less-trodden path.
In technical terms, however, the story still needs some work. It suffers from run-on sentences and an overabundance of adverbs, and there are several instances where the author spells a word correctly, but misuses it. (For example, “I was soar” should be “I was sore.” “She gave me a complement” should be “She gave me a compliment.”) Other than that, it was an interesting high school drama that is sure to please readers ages 14-Up.
Click on cover for image source.