Pros: Entertaining witticisms
Cons: The bad guy is his own worst enemy; please tell me this is meant to be satire
Rating: 2 out of 5
Since Matt Kincade’s The Devil’s Mouth (Alex Rains, Vampire Hunter Book 1) is not listed under any kind of satire category on Amazon, and the author describes the book as “An action-horror thriller … an adrenaline-fueled ride through the dark underbelly of America”, I’m going to have to assume that this wasn’t, in fact, meant as satire. However, I’m getting ahead of myself.
A girl named Mia is smuggled into the US, only to get sold to vampires along with the rest of her fellows. Her sister, Carmen, is out to find her at any cost. Alex is a vampire hunter who likes to think he’s a cowboy. He and Carmen join forces to go after her sister, but it turns out she was taken by the worst of the vampires–a 500-year-old Don who rules from inside a hidden winery. Carmen gets inducted into the harrowing and bizarre world of vampire hunters, while racing against time to save her sister and falling in love with Alex.
Half of my problems with this book could be fixed by making the bad guy secretly suicidal, but too egotistical to let himself die at the hands of anything but a kick-ass rival. The book contains the line, “The Don doesn’t make a lot of mistakes.” That’s because he makes ALL OF THEM. Evil monologues (plural!), leaving your enemy alive, letting your enemy pick up a weapon and go after you just because you want to prove you’re better, insisting on killing people yourself when that should be what your people do for you, and doing most of these things multiple times. Much of this book is one giant facepalm revolving around the inexcusably dumb choices made by a vampire who’s old enough and powerful enough to know better.
The current hyperbolic, over-the-top style in some of the genre fiction I read these days can be very difficult to tell from satire. I occasionally have to check categories a book is listed under at Amazon just to be sure, and even then I’m not always certain. As far as I can tell, this was not meant as satire by the author. Unfortunately, even if it was satire it wouldn’t make up for the piled up cliches and stupidity.
I feel a little sorry for bad guy Jacob, just because he’s made to deliver a lot of the Don’s ridiculous pronouncements: “There’s only one reason you’re still alive right now. When somebody pisses off the Don, he insists on finishing them himself.” Really? Seriously? The 500-year-old vampire who has retained control of a huge estate and a bunch of vampires is going to be that stupid?! (Even Jacob seems to occasionally realize how stupid the Don is being. However, noting a plot hole doesn’t fix it.) There are a bunch of events, pronouncements, arguments and such which just don’t make sense. Also there are some spiffy senses and other abilities vampires get which must go on the fritz or something because there are scenes that should have gone very differently due to what the vamps should have seen or heard.
After addressing the Don, I should really get back to Alex. He styles himself as a cowboy. He does tai chi, he’s a swordsman, he has an old car collection in his bat cave. Oh, and “a scrawny old Asian man” beat his ass and then taught him and made him a better person. He has an entire armory. I don’t even know where to go with this. It’s a question of how many cliches you can fit into one man. He’s quite the Mary Sue. For a lot of things he doesn’t even have an excuse–it’s just oh, I picked it up somewhere. I was starting to giggle every time he came up with some new hobby, collection, or ability.
I could add in a lot of examples, but I’m pretty sure you have the picture by now.