Saturday, February 28, 2009

The Vampire Hunter's Handbook by Rafael Van Helsing

First published in 2007.

Two centuries have passed since Abelard Van Helsing penned his guide to hunting demons, and the name Van Helsing has become known and feared throughout Hell. The generations of Van Helsings have beaten back the rising tide of evil, the last of Abelard's line knows nothing of his awful destiny until he comes face to face with a Royal vampire bent on his destruction.

Using the secret library at Carthage, Raphael Van Helsing learns of the strict vampire hierarchy - the lineage through which the blood of their Lord Vampyr is passed. Most frightening of all he discovers their demonic rites in the Book of Vampyr and the prophecy of a world governed by vampires who will one day summon up their dark Lord.

The Vampire Hunter's Handbook outlines in graphic detail the skills and strategies needed to dispatch all forms of this cursed breed while chronicling Raphael's personal fight with the vampire who is hell bent on exterminating
the Van Helsing line. (book back blurb)

Perhaps “cute” isn’t the word to use to describe this book considering it’s topic but it’s what keeps coming to hind. “Handy” might be another good one.

This is another one of my Barnes and Noble bargain bin finds that I saw and just had to grab. It was right before Halloween after all. It’s a Barnes and Noble novelty book published I’m guessing for the season, really written by Martin Howard and then labeled as being written by a Van Helsing. I love the camp of it all!

What I love most about it, though, is the take on vampires it has. I’m not a fan of the Nosferatu-type vampire that’s all sorts of ugly. I like me my sexy vampires with the heart of black. I believe in the whole “prey attracted to predators” thing and if a vampire looked like the dude on this cover, there’d have to be some serious mild-melding going on because that face would make a mother run away screaming.

And there is. Serious mind manipulation with these vampires. It touches on the whole vampires turning into mist and bats and such and plays it off as just really good mind games, that vampires can’t really do that but their control over you is so powerful that you’ll be convinced that’s what you saw.

These vampires are spawned from one Lord vampire created by the devil himself and there are hierarchies of vampires–from the lord to royals to nobles to vampires to slaves, the powers dwindling down the line as well at the freakish faces.

Some of the tools that the vampires use are also pretty inventive, including the neck tap. It’s a tight fine metal collar affixed around the victim’s next who's hung upside down, and it pierces his or her jugular. The piercing is attached to a small faucet that can be turned on and off at will and used as a sort of draught. Very inventive. I’d never seen anything like that before.

And while I wasn’t fond of the whole Bucky Beaver teeth that they had (the two front ones were elongated), I liked the fact that they acted as siphons and were, in fact, hollow with ports running straight into the throat via the sinus cavity. Very cool, especially the diagram.

It’s a fun book to have if you’re a vampire freak like me and the illustrations are amazing. I’d recommend buying it just for those, if nothing else. I’d really like to see this little world expanded though. It just touches on everything, including the journal that we’re supposed to be reading from. It leaves me wanting more and there wasn’t all that much to take to begin with, really. Just enough.

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