reviews

I'm Glad You're Dead (The Preternatural Chronicles #1) by Hunter Blain Book Review

Write on: Tue, 10 Nov 2020 by  in Charles' Reviews Read 2073

4.5/5

I'm a huge fan of urban fantasy. It's exploded as a genre in the past twenty years thanks to the works of people like Jim Butcher, Patricia Briggs, Kim Harrison, Laurel K. Hamilton, Steve McHugh, and Charles Stross. Indie authors have also helped the amount of stories set in contemporary settings with supernatural elements grow to rival their Medieval fantasy counterparts. But separating the gems from the stones can sometimes be daunting. What are the good and what are the bad? Well, I can't judge all of them but the Preternatural Chronicles are a definite example of the former.

John Cook is a five-hundred-year-old Irish vampire who exists in the modern world as a wise-cracking vigilante. John's parents were killed by brutal English soldiers and he was offered the chance to get revenge in exchange for his soul. Eagerly taking his sire up on his offer, he eventually discovered that the bloodshed was nothing more than an amusement to his master and broke free. Now John has allied himself with the Catholic Church and attempts to hunt down only the worst of humanity alongside battling supernatural threats. It would make a very good comic book and that sort of sensibility flows throughout the work.

As anyone who has read my Supervillainy Saga or United States of Monsters books can attest, I absolutely love snarky pop-culture quoting protagonists. Joss Whedon opened the floodgates with Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Avengers but Hunter Blain has picked up the torch then run with it. John has clearly watched an absolutely mammoth amount of television during his immortal life and it shows in the way he speaks. While not entirely realistic, he should probably be making Jack Benny quotes alongside Star Wars ones, I find that Hunter Blain has a way of making every one of them laugh out loud funny.

The book is generally divided between the past and present, a bit like Highlander, with numerous flashbacks to John's earlier immortal life. I really enjoyed these as they bounce between the hilarious and horrifying in equal measure. My favorite part is when John is murdering Nazis during WW2 (guilt free eating!) and meets his best friend. It's also where he acquired his trademark coat that I suspect is an homage to an episode of Angel.

Part of the book's appeal is that it doesn't take itself too seriously. This is a humorous adventure book from beginning to end. The stakes are absurdly high with the beginning of the apocalypse being intimately tied to poor John's fate. Sometimes it just doesn't pay to leave the graveyard. A lot of the book is set up for later volumes of the series (which I have) but I'm Glad You're Dead tells a coherent story that can be enjoyed on its own.

Vampire novels have a reputation as being overplayed but I think it's really a question of how the book handles itself. This is a pretty good vampire story and John is a nice contrast to the tortured antiheroes of other vampire adventure fiction. Yes, he's a "good" vampire but he still kills people and is mostly okay with what he is. Removing the angst and making him more like vampire Spider-Man (or Deadpool) with quips as he hunts down his prey makes him pretty unique.

I read both the Kindle copy of this book and listened to the audiobook as narrated by Luke Daniels. Between the two, I'm going to state that the audiobook version is slightly better but both are very entertaining. If I had any complaints about the book, it's the relatively minor one that the only female characters are John's mom and his girlfriend Lily. I could use a bit more estrogen in this novel but that's a relatively minor ordeal in an otherwise well-done story. Fans looking for an easy read will find it and I devoured the series up to current latest volume, Holy Sheoly, within a matter of weeks. This book is available on Kindle Unlimited too if you are part of Amazon Prime and looking for some savings.

Available here

Last modified on Tuesday, 10 November 2020 22:08
C.T. Phipps

C.T Phipps is a lifelong student of horror, science fiction, and fantasy. An avid tabletop gamer, he discovered this passion led him to write and turned him into a lifelong geek. He is a regular blogger on "The United Federation of Charles".

He's written Agent G, Cthulhu Armageddon, Lucifer's Star, and The Supervillainy Saga.

Website: https://ctphipps.wordpress.com/