A dark, gritty take on the vampire myth.
Instead of feeding on blood, the vampiric creatures in Shawn’s debut novel feed on life energy, or “Flow.” Though they’re still weakened by daylight and in possession of heightened senses, they’re not quite the vampires supernatural fans have come to expect. Johnny, the human main character, also doesn’t fit the heroic stereotype. Readers first meet him in an abandoned building, where a criminal from a rival group threatens to shoot him. However, in horrific detail, Johnny executes a would-be attacker with brutal force. It’s clear from this opening that Johnny isn’t an upstanding member of society, and initially, he’s difficult to relate to. Once Johnny is pulled into the world of the Patriciate—psychic vampires—he doesn’t stray from his violent past; instead, he uses his newfound powers for less-than-honorable purposes, which might further isolate readers turned off by his initial sinister characteristics. However, the novel does eventually develop Johnny past his bad-boy image, and readers who stick with it will be rewarded with an action-packed narrative. Occasionally, the novel gets bogged down in its own mythology. Patriciate society has a long, storied history explained in dense, lengthy passages, which can be difficult to get through; fortunately, the action scenes are far more entertaining to read. Shawn skillfully crafts memorable, albeit vicious, action scenes, and readers who enjoy a good brawl with plenty of gore will find a lot to love.
Despite getting hung up in some long expository scenes, action fans will appreciate the gory, brutal violence.