Zen and the Art of Vampires

Katie MacAlister
December 2008, Vampire Romance
Signet, $7.99, 352 pages, Amazon ASIN 0451225600

Grade: C-
Sensuality: Hot

It’s been years since I last read a book by Katie MacAlister. Since titles by the author seem to be multiplying bunny-style in bookstores these days, I thought it was time I checked in to see if she is still as cutesy-poo a writer as I remembered her to be.

She is.

This one is about a Zany (definitely with a cap Z) young woman from Seattle who goes on a group tour to Iceland because she hopes to meet a Viking. (Really.) So, she’s hanging out with various Characters (definitely with a cap C) from her tour group when she suddenly finds herself drawn into Madcap Mayhem (definitely with cap Ms) because of a charm she’s somehow gotten into her possession.

Before you know it, she’s consorting with vamps (known here as Dark Ones) as well as members of some sort of mystical religious cult. One murdered woman in her hotel room later, Ms. Zany is on the lam with the Dark Ones (two hot vamps!) with the cult in hot pursuit.

This is one of those Wacky Nonstop Action (definitely cap W, N, and A) books with some hot sex thrown in for seasoning. There is no character development – and by that I mean none. Zip. Nada. Zilch. And, to make the book even less interesting, in the You Can See it Coming a Mile Away category, there is absolutely no ambiguity as to which vamp the heroine is going to choose, despite the fact that the author obviously intends for there to be. (And, yes, for those who care about these things, she does sleep with both.)

To add to my issues, the title qualifies as one of those painful pun things that seem to be so popular right now because – gee – I don’t think it will surprise anyone when I tell you that there is nothing even remotely Zen-like (not even in a Motorcycle Maintenance kind of way) about this novel. The next one in the series (and a continuation of the romance featured here) is called – get ready for this – Crouching Vampire, Hidden Fang. Well, hardy-har-har.

I don’t often see Katie MacAlister discussed around AAR, so I’m guessing her large fan base doesn’t visit our site very often. But, clearly, she’s got one or her books wouldn’t be imitating bunnies on store shelves. Bottom line for me? Zen and the Art of Vampires is a slightly less than average book in a genre that doesn’t yet appear to be running out of steam. All I can say is I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

-- Sandy Coleman

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