- Drink, Slay, Love
Unicorns are mythical, right? At least that’s what Pearl and her large family of vampires believe until Pearl is gored and then healed by a mysterious unicorn, leaving her with a newfound tendency to cast a reflection, the ability to walk in sunlight, and the pesky beginnings of a conscience. Both her new abilities and her emergent morality are put to the test when she’s assigned to infiltrate the local high school in order to secure food (a.k.a. classmates) for an upcoming feast honoring the terrifying vampire king of Connecticut (vampire society being hierarchical by state). As Pearl gets to know humans up close and personal and witnesses the aftereffects of her family’s feedings, her loyalties start to shift. The construction of Pearl as even a complex hero is problematic—she’s essentially a sociopathic, mass-murdering cult [End Page 77] member with a speciesist superiority complex—but the bloodthirsty existence is made engaging with an Addams Family–esque sense of the whimsical grotesque. Faced with a group of children at play, Pearl drools rather than coos, and her first reaction to love-interest Evan is more akin to stomach growling than heart thumping. At the same time, the details of the vampire world are ickily hilarious: a grocery shopping list includes “handcuffs for the meals,” and the more refined vampires relax with a spot of blood tea made from packets of dried B-positive. Pearl is, if not exactly likable, refreshingly self-aware and possessed of a sort of mad charm, and readers both vamp-crazy and not will enjoy her dry, unapologetic take on the genre that is at once pointed send-up and twisted celebration.