Source: S&S Galley Grab
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Release Date: September 13, 2011
Pearl is a sixteen-year-old vampire... fond of blood, allergic to sunlight, and mostly evil... until the night a sparkly unicorn stabs her through the heart with his horn. Oops.As soon as I read this summary (actually, as soon as I saw the cover) I knew I had to try the book out. Just the basic concept of the story - typically evil vamp gets stabbed in the heart with a unicorn horn and starts to grow a conscience - sounds fun, original and witty. Drink, Slay, Love is exactly that.
Her family thinks she was attacked by a vampire hunter (because, obviously, unicorns don't exist), and they're shocked she survived. They're even more shocked when Pearl discovers she can now withstand the sun. But they quickly find a way to make use of her new talent. The Vampire King of New England has chosen Pearl's family to host his feast. If Pearl enrolls in high school, she can make lots of human friends and lure them to the King's feast -- as the entrees.
The only problem? Pearl's starting to feel the twinges of a conscience. How can she serve up her new friends—especially the cute guy who makes her fangs ache—to be slaughtered? Then again, she's definitely dead if she lets down her family. What's a sunlight-loving vamp to do?
One of my favourite parts of the story was the main character, Pearl. In the beginning, her behaviour is completely what I would expect of a vampire. She's confident to the point of arrogance, hostile, looks down on humans and adds a healthy dose of sarcasm to everything that comes out of her mouth. Her thoughts are hilarious and made me laugh out loud several times. With the stellar additions of Evan and Bethany, who are definitely not dark and cynical, Sarah created a cast of characters that constantly kept me entertained.
I was curious to see whether or not the transition from evil vamp to slightly-less-evil vamp would be pulled off smoothly enough to be realistic (er, as realistic as possible anyways). Happy to say it was! Pearl is completely unused to surprises of the nature she gets in the book, and I could see her struggle to maintain her composure at times. There is real character development at work as Pearl evolves into a totally new brand of vampire.
I have to admit that I was incredibly wary of Pearl going to high school. I knew it was coming from the summary, but it still took me by surprise in the actual book. My fears of the high school experience turning the story were completely unwarranted because Pearl is as fantastic as usual. Pulling the humans closer, scaring them away, rinse and repeat... I loved watching Pearl test the waters and navigate her way through the school. With the constant threat of what will happen if she lets her Family down at the back of Pearl's mind, there is carefully built-up tension every step of the way.
I think I've found my new favourite vampire novel!