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Vampire Apocalypse: Descent into Chaos / Derek Gunn

KHP Publishers / September 2008
Reviewed by: Derek Clendening

Vampires have taken over the world and life as we know it has been forever changed. In Descent into Chaos, the second in the Vampire Apocalypse series, author Derek Gunn appeals to the reader’s suspension of disbelief, and suggests how society would function with vampires at the helm. And these vampires are very much different from others in literary horror. These bloodsuckers are much more vicious and, worse yet, have established their own government. Humans, like protagonist Peter Harris, are faced with similar problems that readers are faced with daily — particularly during these economically troublesome times. The real difference here is that the leaders are more than a little out of touch with their needs. They are literally too inhuman and too sadistic to understand.

Like most governments and political parties, these vampires might call the shots, but that doesn’t mean that everything is hunky dory. The undead can be as dysfunctional as other factions, even during the best of times. Gunn is thoughtful in the sense that he understands how these vamps must be flawed in order to earn the reader’s suspension of disbelief. The political structure at work here isn’t dramatically different from the current U.S. system, requiring the reader to merely substitute vampires for Senators and Congressmen. This political backdrop also works in Gunn’s favor as readers abroad should be able to easily identify with it.

Plot itself is only one piece of the equation; weak execution can also cause the story to fail to meet its potential. A reader can pick up Descent into Chaos and read it as a standalone novel. While reading the series’ first installment is encouraged, one shouldn’t have trouble understanding the events if they’ve chosen to start here. Still, some explanation is needed to understand this fictional world order, and Gunn’s back story at times lacks the hook that will fully engage the reader.

Editors will sometimes say that submissions in their slush pile read more like movie scripts than literature because the story is heavy on dialogue and light on language. Descent into Chaos doesn’t embody this problem, but one finds that what is explained through language during action sequences might have been better expressed through the character’s dialogue. An action scene will most likely involve some sort of dialogue, yet Gunn seems to shy away from letting his characters speak. Before you know it, the action is finished. Scenes that should be more exciting often feel rushed, and the lack of dialogue blocks the reader from delving deep into the action at times. An action plot is clearly Gunn’s goal, so battle scenes that are not fully realized can cause a dilemma. Still, Gunn makes certain that new action is always on the horizon, so pages don’t pass without a significant event.

Vampires ruling Main Street is certainly a frightening prospect, but it is also a refreshing change of pace from the typical living undead tome. The societal changes add a touch of science fiction to this horror novel. You won’t find Edward Cullen in Descent into Chaos, and the lack of romanticism adds to its appeal. The novel offers an intriguing overall plot, with plenty of action and a concept that is far from ordinary.

Purchase Vampire Apocalypse: Descent into Chaos by Derek Gunn.

Posted on Saturday, April 11, 2009 at 08:10AM by Registered CommenterDark Scribe Magazine in | Comments Off

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