RITES OF PASSAGE by Douglas Robinson


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A young man slowly turns into a vampire while a woman flees a blood cult and its barbaric leader in the second of Robinson’s (Silently Comes the Night, 2013) supernatural series.

Thomas Kline and his vampire (here called “vampyr”) girlfriend, Majken, barely survived a murderous vamp’s attack, but in the process, Thomas’ blood was mixed with Majken’s. He’s gradually experiencing The Change as his body adapts to a blood-only diet. Fearing he may harm his parents or baby sis, Kimberly, Thomas flees from his South Carolina family home and eventually meets fellow vampyr Jeanine. Jeanine has escaped from a blood cult with 7-year-old Alecia, cult-leader Nolan’s daughter, whom he’d planned to sacrifice. Nolan’s just behind them, however, ready to grab Alecia and anyone else in the way. It’s up to Majken and aspiring journalist Kimberly to find—and possibly save—Thomas. The author establishes his contemporary vampyrs right away. They may not be human, but they aren’t undead, and blood isn’t consumed for pleasure but rather sustenance. They likewise aren’t bloodsuckers, opting for knives or needles to procure their nourishment. While Thomas was the preceding novel’s protagonist, this time Robinson wisely shifts the focus to multiple characters. The engaging Jeanine is a mother to Alecia, whom she’s practically raised, and faces real-world concerns, like trying to find a job. Nolan, too, is terrifying, less because he’s a bloodsucker then because he’s an abusive, unhinged man. Thomas has evolved; once skeptical that Majken was a vampyr, he does a few horrific deeds in the course of changing, including attacking Kimberly. Robinson’s vampyrs may be missing fangs, but other traits are more conventional, such as an aversion to sunlight, heightened senses, and prolonged youth—Majken looks college age but is pushing 300. Descriptions are sometimes too vague, like Jeanine’s unwitting blood donor who’s “kinda passed out” or Thomas’ “hard to describe” sickness. But Robinson develops his characters with skill; they’re more or less typical people caught in exacting circumstances.

A harder-edged story than its predecessor in this diverting series.

Pub Date: Sept. 9th, 2013
ISBN: 978-1492387077
Page count: 466pp
Publisher: CreateSpace
Program: Kirkus Indie
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