Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Review: Vampire a Go-Go by Victor Gischler
In Vampire a Go-Go, we have the story of a modern man, our intrepid hero, Allen Cabbot, whose greatest ability to date is his uncanny ability to research anything, "Imagine a superhero whose mutant power was prying out library's secrets...Perhaps in his youth he'd been bitten by a radioactive librarian." A self proclaimed geek with a penchant for having his heart broken by the wrong type of girl, he unwillingly gets mixed up in mysteries, folklore and magic . Then again, what do you expect when you attend a school named Gothic State University?
On the other side of things, we hear tell of a couple of alchemists who, long before Harry Potter and his involvement with the Philosopher's Stone, made it their mission to find this notorious item, namely Dr. John Dee and Edward Kelley. The story is generously narrated by none other than Edward Kelley, or at least the author's approximation of him (Dee and Kelley were actual alchemists, back in the day). Having been abandoned by Dee then left behind, spiritually, at Prague Castle since the late 16th/early 17th centuries, Edward is now the man in the know.
Visiting internet cafes and bars, ancient libraries and the former seat of the Roman Empire, this cast of characters are all in search of the "stone" that will finally allow its possessor to turn lead into gold. Well that should help out the world economy, right? In addition, it is thought that perhaps the stone could bring eternal life, and who doesn't want that?
The novel delves into deep issues like can a large Jesuit priest be left in charge of purchasing a bra or if zombies have a shelf life and if so, how best to contain them; hard pressed matters that I'm sure we've all encountered at times in our lives.
With several organizations working towards the same goal, it's unclear who we should be rooting for but, of course, each group has their own agenda. Perhaps a conference call amongst the groups would have alleviated some of their struggles from the beginning, uniting them in the battle against the true bad guys, but where would that have left us with a story?
Lycanthrops to a Freemason based society of witches and wizards, the story is a mixture of National Treasure meets Harry Potter , with a dash of the Southern Vampire Series . We're taken on a fast paced romp around Prague, where no stone is left unturned (pun fully intended!)
Gischler has finally voiced warnings that members of my generation have known all along about dealing with the supernatural, "Split up?...I've seen enough episodes of Scooby Doo to know that's a bad idea."
Vampire a Go-Go is fun, gruesome, smart and well worth the read.