Saturday, December 22, 2012

Book Review: Team Human

Another book which I had to coax the interlibrary loan system to give me (and then make a special trip to the library to get) which I'll admit I was hesistant about reading when I first heard about it. I was a bit grumpy that this wasn't the 1930s book that Justine has been working on for a while and I still haven't finished SRB's Demon's Lexicon series so I wasn't sure how well I was going to like her contribution. Heck, even though I had read Justine's Magic or Madness trilogy, How to Ditch Your Fairy, and Liar I wasn't the biggest fan of her work either, why was I excited about this? Internet hype and the fact that I really like the blogs of both of them I guess, but the more I heard about this book and the few snippets I read of it made me more interested in it which is always a good sign.

Team Human by Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan

Summary: In the town of New Whitby you might have a larger than normal vampire population but life for its human residents is the same that you might find in any town and for Mel is had been rather vampire free. That is until a vampire decides to transfer to their high school (for unexplained reasons), her friend Cathy falls hard for him, and then it's up to Mel to keep her friend from going completely over to the night side and to try and cheer up her friend Anna whose dad has mysterious vanished. So life is a bit busier than usual but nothing she can't handle, or so she thinks until things start getting really weird in New Whitby.

The Good: Hmm, character with parents who are at least semi-active in her life, ditto for siblings, has an actual group of friends which is mixed gender and has to do homework before a lot of her adventures? Ladies and gentlemen I give you one of the most accurate portrayals of the average American teenager in years and it's from an urban fantasy (oi realistic fiction, you're looking a bit bad by comparison). So the setting worked, the characters worked, the plot had enough hints and clues to make it predictable but not in a way that it was so obvious to take all of the fun out of the story. 

The Bad: There were one or two lines by the characters that betrayed the fact that neither author is a native USian (I think someone said like "a dime for your thoughts" or something like that, tiny detail and the fact that that was basically the only time I remembered that is a good thing). I also do wish that the book had had a small line about how exactly someone is turned into a vampire, again a tiny detail in the grand scheme (and perhaps it was in there and merely mentioned so quickly I missed it) but I would have liked it. Other than that, I'm sure Mel comes off as too rude and prejudiced for some but, well, that's pretty typical human behavior (not to mention teenager) in the face of the unknown and potentially dangerous sad to say. Plus, you know a character like that is going to change (if they're the main character) so while I winced a few times I knew it was going to be for a reason in the end.

So four out of five stars and going on my to-buy list for sure. The book is a stand-alone so it's a complete story and it really is nice to read a stand alone after reading a whole bunch of books from various parts of their series, it's rather satisfying to see a beginning, middle, and end all in one place.