I heard about this book ages a go, and heard it was great, but with no ebook available, and it generally impossible to find anywhere, it did take me some time to get around to reading it. Seriously, make ebooks available people. You will make more money, and I wouldn’t have to die waiting for the next book to arrive. Anyway…
What it’s about: A girl in an Amish community takes in an outsider during a vampire apocalypse against the advice of her elders.
What I thought: Really freaking enjoyed it.
The main character, Katie, is an Amish girl who wants nothing more than to go on her Rumspringa and see the outside world. Katie is generally considered a bit too headstrong for the Amish, but is essentially a very good person at heart. She’s sensible, she cares deeply about the welfare of others, and is the sort of person who will always do what she thinks is right, even if others disagree, and the consequences may be fairly severe. She’s also sensible and for the most part isn’t unnecessarily reckless. She also loves puppies and animals in general, and is absolutely as tough as nails.
“Men are essentially useless for the difficult things in life. For births and deaths, one clearheaded woman is more useful than a half-dozen men.”
The vampires in this book are quite traditional in that they are vampires vulnerable to sunlight, beheading and a stake through the heart, but far more violent than often portrayed. Vampires are not romantic and broody in this book. They are vile, menacing creatures that should not be trifled with. There’s a lot of gore in this book, and no one is safe, and no gory details are spared.
I don’t know how accurate this book was with respect to what Amish communities are actually like, but this book painted a picture very different from what I expected. I always would have considered the Amish life to be pretty awful. All that hard work and praying without modern comforts, but this book gave me a completely different perspective. Their lives just seemed so peaceful and happy and full of love. Now while this book isn’t going to have me out ploughing fields and milking goats in a full dress and bonnet, it did make me understand why Amish people decide to live that life. I feel like I learned something about Amish culture, and although I can’t say how accurate it was, I feel that the culture was portrayed in a very respectful manner, despite some characters not always being worthy of respect. There was one aspect that I believe was not true to Amish culture, and that was the existence of the Hexenmeister, who is a bit of a magic man (and an awesome character), but that was clearly stated that his presence in the Amish community was unusual, and not typical of Amish communities in general.
I was concerned going in that the religious aspects would be too heavy-handed for someone like me who is not religious, but it was quite the opposite. I found Katie’s struggle to reconcile her own interpretation of her faith with that of others intriguing, which surprised me.
I wish this book hadn’t been so short. I think, although I haven’t read the second book yet (and it just arrived today!) I think they probably would have been better combined, as there was a lot of build up in this book for really quite little at the end. I also don’t feel like we got to know The Outsider enough, both in general and with how quickly their relationship progressed. I feel like it could have been slowed down quite a bit and they could have spent more time together, and the whole thing been longer over all.
I really enjoyed this and I really cannot wait to get stuck into the next one!
I rate it 4/5 stars.
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