Book Review | Bill the Vampire by Rick Gualtieri

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tome_of_billMy next chosen author to read, Rick Gualtieri, also participates in the Authors and Dragons podcast I’ve mentioned in previous reviews.

I picked up Mister Gualtieri’s box set of the first four books in this series over the weekend and smashed my way through the first book in two sittings. I’m now onto the second and am trying to decide if I want to read all four in one go. The first was enjoyable, but I also don’t want to overdose on it which I’ve found I’ve done in the past with other series.

Looking at other reviews of this product it garners a wide range of opinions, which is bound to happen when you have characters such as Mister Gualtieri has created in this series. The main character, Bill Ryder, aka Dr Death, is in equal parts likeable and unlikeable. He’s the reluctant hero of the story, thrust into the world of vampires against his will.

There’s a lot of potential to be offended by this book, and after reading some of the reviews a lot of people were. There’s plenty of juvenile, obnoxious, vulgar, sexist humour, most of which leads Bill into worse situations. If you read the sample first, you’ll work out pretty quick if this book is for you or not. But we’ll come back to that after the blurb:

There Are Reasons We Fear The Night. He’s Not One Of Them.

Bill Ryder was a dateless geek until he met a girl to die for. So he did. Unfortunately for him, that was just the beginning of his troubles. He awoke as a vampire, one of the legendary predators of the night. Sadly, fangs or not, he was still at the bottom of the food chain.

Now he finds himself surrounded by creatures stronger, deadlier, and a lot cooler than he is … and they all want to kick his teeth in.

Bill isn’t exactly average, though. A vampire like him hasn’t been seen in centuries. He’s got a few tricks up his sleeve, unlikely allies, and an attitude that makes him too damn obnoxious to quit.

Join him in this hilarious tale of immortal monsters and the unlikely hero who’s not afraid to tell them off, even if it gets him killed – permanently this time.

Bill Ryder, your everyday geek and non-supermodel meets a very attractive woman, Sally, on the subway and gets invited to a party. Alarm bells should have been ringing there, but he chooses to ignore his instincts and goes there anyway. Once there, he finds a lot of others who look like him, all being fawned over by others that look like supermodels.

It’s not long before the inevitable happens and he, along with the other normals, gets turned into a vampire. (No spoiler there, the book is called Bill the Vampire after all…)

It turns out though he’s not like other vampires. He’s got a special gift, the likes of which hasn’t been seen in over 600 years. Now as I wrote above, Bill is likeable and unlikeable in equal measures. He has no brain-to-mouth filter and says anything he’s thinking, regardless of how offensive or rude or embarrassing it may be. It’s not long before he pisses off the leader of the vampire coven and is marked for death.

From there it’s a tale about coming to grips with his immortality, and his friends testing the limits of it. He’s repeatedly kicked around by other vampires but is also put under the protection of a more senior vampire, who outsources his protection to Sally, the attractive siren responsible for his death.

Sally is probably the most complex character in the book and possibly my favourite. Whereas Bill and his friends can come off as jerks with fairly transparent motives, Sally’s motives run much deeper. She’s obviously cunning and has a long term plan, which I’m guessing / hoping is developed in further books.

The book takes a lot of the common vampire lore and tosses it out the window which makes for a more unique story. The vampires of the world have essentially set themselves up as franchises, each coven looking after their own but also reporting up the ranks all the way to the “Draculas”, a name given to the most senior and elder vampires in the world. They’re only briefly touched on, and again I assume we’ll get more of them in future books.

There are eight books in the series (or there will be shortly, at time of writing the last of the series is getting close to release), plus a couple of bonus ones between. I’m looking forward to reading the others, but will most likely space them out between other books I want to read.

TL;DR Version

A fun easy read where you can take your brain off the hook and enjoy some laughs.

Check out the sample on Amazon.

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