The Vampire Genevieve.
Author Jack Yeovil
Genres: Dark Fantasy, Horror, Suspense, Mystery, Character Drama
Page Length: 763 Pages split between 3 novels and an anthology of short stories.
Suggested age range: 15+ for both content not necessarily having the swish-boom-bang of others from Games Workshop, and some scenes of intense passion and violence. Mild Language.
Genevieve is an interesting take on the Warhammer Fantasy (now the Age of Sigmar). While front runners like the Gotrek and Felix saga, or the Malus Dark Blade stories follow either small scale to Lord of the Rings epic level battles, this skips all that and goes for human, er, living impaired drama.
The First Novel, Drachenfels, follows a down on his luck playwright in the vein of William Shakespeare who gets a spot of luck as he?s scooped out of debtor?s prison and a well-paying gig doing a play about how a lord of the Greatest Empire of Man (simply called the Empire) defeated one of the greatest evils to come from the vampire counts with a band of heroes. One such hero not only a stunning woman, but one that is one of the vampires children of the night and the book's namesake: Genevieve. Having not aged a day in 600 years, she still has a charm, quick wit, and still quite the bad ass in a fight. However, things run a muck as hooded specters haunt the production, and mysterious murders begin cropping up, with a large number of them being Genevieve?s friends from the adventure. Will they survive this, or is there still something dark lurking after them?
The Next Book, Genevie: Unread, follows sometime after the events of the first, the playwright Detlif and the namesake vampire have hooked up. While Detlif performs and directs in his version of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, with an actual opera Phantom enjoys the shows and his own protege lead actress, Detlif must deal with the PTSD from the last story and the fact that the present play lets everyone see their inner demons. While they deal with that, a somewhat sentient mask that was created by the last book?s big bad wants revenge for its dead master, and attaches itself onto anyone it can, driving them both forward to his vengeance on our heroes and to indulge in their deepest desires.
The following book, A Beast In Velvet, which takes place somewhere between book one and two, has little in Genevieve (kinda has a Hi I?m still here moment), but rather on the pursuit of a scryer, a student, a beat cop, and a noble as they pursue a murderer known simply as the ?Beast?, as he slaughters lonely women of the night in the same veins of the historic White Chapel murders and Jack the Ripper. All the while the capital city of The Empire becomes more on edge as a group of revolutionists try to overflow the government.
Finally Silver Nails gives us a collection of short stories, some better than others, which take place all over the time frame happening during, prior, just after, and long after book 2 or 3.
On the positive side, many of the characters are well done. You believe Geneviee has a charm and mystique to her that only comes from looking sixteen but has a little over 650 years of experience to her name. She can be charming, badass, alluring, and funny as needs be. Without her, the story truly would fall apart.
Detlif you feel his elations and joys. His genius and his insecurities come to life.
Others also have their moments, like the Scyer in The Beast in Velvet, and various insurrectionists.
However one of the more sympathetic ones is a midget; not a halfling, not a member of the fantasy dwarf race, but a person who?s genetic quirks that lead to him being born small in a world were anything out of the ordinary is a sign of influence of eldritch horrors (and sometimes its true).
While Gotrek and Felix focuses on the adventure and Malus focus on the literal backstabbing polatics of the Dark Elves, the biggest strength is focusing on the smaller scale. Its not the glorious battles, or the nightmarish horrors found in war but the human dramas that plague us. IN many cases themes of dealing with our darker half of our personality, or personal demons, and twisted part of our being and how we choose to embrace or disregard it flow heavily here.
Another thing that?s great about this series is you do not need to know a lick of Warhammer lore to enjoy it. There are some bonuses for those that do like the implications of one character being a former chaos knight (uber badass warriors of an faction where badasses are dime a dozen)
Sex is surprisingly done tactfully. Instead of pornography, the few paragraphs here and there we do get have an elegance to them and tend to either show an insight to a character or move the plot on. Its not done for the sake of getting the hot vampire chick of her dress. There are few other scenes that pander to the lowest common denominator either. Even when there would be scenes that seem to be close or full on fanservice it never reaches the proportions f of say a crap guy oriented anime.
Action scenes, though rare, are not all out brawls (unless intended to be), are carefully choreographed.
However it has some weak points. While Book one and two managed to intrigue me from start to finish, things did slow down a bit in Beasts in Velvet and the lack of Genevieve or Detlif were disappointing. Some stories in the Silver Nails were nice, but it can be confusing, and feels like soap opera or an episode of Baccano at times.
Overall I liked it, and would recommend it. The first two were great thrillers, and the third was a wonderful defective story, and there were certainly a few of the shorts in Silver Nails that were worth the read. Its also a rare find among the gun laden, or sword heavy actioners around this franchise.
Recommendation to buy. Its been out of print so unfortunately you are going to hope you're used copy is still good, but I got my copy off Amazon and it did good enough.
As I don't know much about the author's main body of work, I'll just skip him and suggest reading some of the other stories borrowed heavily for these novels like The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and the Phantom of the Opera. I would be remiss if I didn't add in Dracula in there, and while I did give both series a bad time in this review, I would also recommend Malus Dark Blade for when you really need to get the blood running with a villain protagonist or Gotrek and Felix for a good action adventure.
Next time: Something smaller and more kid Friendly