Monday, November 7, 2011

Dystopias and Dead Things: 99 Coffins (Guilty Pleasure)

Now that the book fair is over, I can get back to book reviews!  I'm also focusing on a particular topic this month for various reasons.  Welcome to "Dystopias and Dead Things," where I will be reviewing books that fall into these categories.  More on this after the book review.

Here is my opinion on 99 Coffins by David Wellington, the second in his in his Vampires series starring Laura Caxton.
Checkouts: I own this one; there's no way I'd put this series in a school library.  Actually, you can't find any of this series in -any- U.P. library.
Typical reader: Horror fans, people that like their vampires to actually be scary

Synopsis: After the events of 13 Bullets, Laura Caxton wants nothing more to do with vampires.  Ever.  So of course an archaeology class in Gettysburg finds 100 coffins buried under the famous Civil War battlefield, all with a vampire with its heart removed inside.  When Caxton and the quintessential curmudgeon of a vampire hunter, Jameson Arkeley, investigate, one coffin is destroyed and the vampire from within has vanished.  Caxton must save the historical town from a potential army of the nastiest vampires literature has ever seen.

My Goodreads rating: 5 stars

If you're tired of the dreamy, moody vampires of modern paranormal romance or even the mysterious, villainous vampires of Dracula's ilk, and want vampires that are genuinely scary, you need to read this series.  No ifs, ands, or buts.  There's no sparkle here.  David Wellington's vampires are bald as cue balls, have teeth that are more similar to a shark's than to a human's, are far more likely to rip your head off than to daintily pierce an artery to get a drink, and dissolve into a disgusting soup of mush and maggots during the day.

This is the second book in the series.  The first is 13 Bullets, which is also a great read and I would highly recommend it.  99 Coffins picks up a year later, as Caxton, a Pennsylvania state trooper, is trying to escape the nightmares and avoid fans of the movie that was made about the events of the first book.  (Either Wellington dreams of movie deals for his books, or he likes toying with the fourth wall.)

I was a bit curious about this sequel, as it's billed as a "historical vampire tale."  It works!!  The story goes back and forth between Caxton's investigation and dealings with the vampires and her incorrigible mentor, Arkeley, and accounts from soldiers 150 years earlier during the Civil War.  I was really impressed.

Please do yourself a favor and read this stuff in the right order.  -Do not- touch the third book in the series, Vampire Zero, because the back cover gives away a massive spoiler about what happens in this one.  There was probably a neat twist in this book, but alas, I had accidentally read the spoiler while trying to figure out which was the second book.  For what it's worth, 23 Hours is the fourth book in the series.

If you like high-impact action with a bit of mystery and excellent, flawed characters, this series is second to no other vampire tale.

Now, about this month of dystopias and dead things.  It is my goal to read and review novels that are dystopian fiction, zombie/ghoul/vampire tales, or both.  I've got quite a selection to get through.  Anticipate hearing about the second in the Benny Imura series, Dust & Decay, by Jonathan Maberry.  Bite your nails while you wait for my review of a book I've been looking forward to since January when I read the first in the series - Crossed, the sequel to Matched by Ally Condie.  Await a critique of The Forest of Hands and Teeth, a zombie novel with an awesome title by Carrie Ryan.  And maybe more.

This goes together with my National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) project.  I'm writing a high fantasy medieval zombie apocalypse.  It's day seven and I've got over 10,000 words written!  Maybe some day other book review bloggers will be telling you all about my work.

Happy November!


  1. That...actually sounds really interesting. I never thought I'd be willing to give vampires another shot, but this series sounds innovative enough that I might change my mind.

    As for dystopian futures, if you don't mind dipping into the cyberpunk genre (one that's practically synonymous with dystopia), I'd highly recommend Neal Stephenson's "Snow Crash," and the Avery Cates novels by Jeff Somers (the first one being "The Electric Church").

  2. If I can get through the books I intend to read this month, I might look into your recommendations, sweetie. :)