Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Last Vampire by Christopher Pike

Published May 1994.

Alisa Perne is a five-thousand-year-old vampire. For ages she has hunted humanity, loved humanity, but now someone hunts her. Who is this person - what is he or she? Another vampire? Alisa is not sure. She thought she was the last of her kind.

Alisa has only one lead to follow. A detective, Mike Riley, has tried to blackmail her. In haste, before she could learn everything he knew, she killed him. Now she must go after the detective's son and find out what his father knew. Fifty centuries old, and she must enter high school and befriend Ray Riley, a handsome, shy boy who will attract her like no mortal has in centuries. Ray will make Alisa think the unthinkable, to make another of her kind, something she hasn't done since ancient times.

But will Alisa use Ray to help protect her from the mysterious enemy? Or will she just use him as bait? (book back blurb)

Love it! It'd been so long since I've read this book that, for the most part, it was like I was reading it for the first time all over again. Sure, some things were vaguely familiar but in a sense like trying to remember if something was real or just a dream. But it was fantastic whatever it was.

It doesn't read like a traditional YA book because you're being the eyes of a 5,000 year old vampire and it shows. She doesn't think like a teen, she doesn't act like a teen. She acts exactly how you'd think someone her age would act. But I don't think it detracts from the story at all. In fact I think it stands out more because instead of a moldy boy with sparkly semen swooping in to commit statutory rape, it's a chick who's far smarter and probably better looking too.

Pike makes Alisa ruthless and I love him for it. She's a vampire and therefore acts like one. You piss me off, I kill you. Dead. I'm hungry, I need to feed. Dead. You're a fly in my way. Dead. Sure it can leave a slightly messy trail but it's realistic, isn't it? Well, as realistic as a vampire book can be.

What I loved most about this was the history. There were flashback chapters that showed the beginning of vampires in this world and how it centered around an ancient people and their religion. It was fascinating and written in such a way that it could have happened. Why not, right? Also in that history is shows Alisa's vulnerabilities that even after 5,000 years are still soft spots. Enter Ray and you'll see why.

Now this is the original THE LAST VAMPIRE, not the repackaged and updated THIRST omnibus so I still had to read things like Alisa communicating with Slim via fax like two people would talk over IM. Kind of strange. I don't know this for sure but I have a feeling it's probably been updated to cell phones and emails in THIRST. What teen knows what a fax machine is, what it does and how it works let alone is going to believe that people actually had conversations over such slow mediums? Considering they're pretty much obsolete now, there's no sense in keeping them in the book, right?

This is truly what I remember of YA horror from my kiddy days. There's a hint of something sinister in this book, terrifying. Alisa functions with such a cold demeanor that there's pretty much no getting around that you wouldn't be anything special and couldn't win her over if you tried. She's far too clever for something like that. Her character hits home the way older vampires do. There's an authenticity and a true horror about it that actually makes you think instead of making you swoon. She's mesmerizing because she is a beast; Alisa is something evil that should be feared. She's a freakin' vampire!

And yeah, there is some type of love interest in this book but I think it'll take the reader by surprise. It surprised the hell out of Alisa so why not you? It very much stands apart from what's available today. I only wish there were more books out there now like THE LAST VAMPIRE. YA horror would be all the better for it.

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