(Release Date: February 22, 2011)
From the Cover:
HE'S THE GOOD KIND OF VAMPIRE. SORT OF.
Buried in the Heartland is a town that no one enters or leaves. Graf McDonald somehow becomes its first visitor in more than five years…and he was only looking for a good party. Unfortunately, Penance, Ohio, is not that place. And after having been isolated for so long, they do not like strangers at all.
Jessa's the only one to even remotely trust him, and she's desperate for the kind of protection that only a vampire like Graf can provide. Supplies are low, the locals are ornery for a sacrifice and there's a monster more powerful than Graf lurking in the woods. New men are hard to come by in this lonesome town, and this handsome stranger might be Jessa's only hope for salvation.
Even if she has to die first…
Jessa Gallagher was stuck, and sick of being stuck. No one in the small town of Penance, Ohio has moved in the last five years. No, I mean, no one has move at all, unable to escape the boundaries of the town in five long lonely years.
There's a monster in the town, a real honest-to-Gawd monster, and it's hunting something. It'll do whatever it needs to fulfill it's own crude needs. It's like time has passed the town by, and the outside world no longer knows of their existence, and certainly, no one knows about the monster terrorizing Penance. Until a wayward vampire stumbles into the mist of the battle, who knew vampires could get lost?
Graf MacDonald is the vampire lost in the middle of no where, who stumbles into a fight not his own. It becomes his battle when he discovers he's as stuck as everyone else is in the small town. But, he needs to find a place to sleep away from the sun, and someone to eat because he's starving too.
When Graf finds Jessa hiding from the beast, he doesn't know if he should eat her or lose her.... She seems slightly crazy and snotty to boot. But she has lost her entire family, maybe there's a reason for her short temper.
American Vampire by Jennifer Armintrout is an urban fantasy that ends up being a vampire romance, one of my favorite genres. I have to admit, at first I didn't like either of the main characters, Jessa or Graf. Jessa because she was whiny, sleeping with her loser ex-boyfriend who married her best friend rather than support her after her entire family is wiped out. Graf, because he was a heartless bastard who wants help but it unwilling to give it, in a hurry to leave Penance and their monster with no intention of helping them. In fact, he throws Jessa out of his car when he thinks she's gone around the bend, granted, he also doesn't know Jessa either, and vampires are not indestructible. But, as I got further into the story, Jessa learned to be less dependent of her loser ex-boyfriend, who is worse than anything she can imagine, including the monster terrorizing the town. Graf, by being stranded with no escape from Penance, finally learns what it means to need another person for something besides a meal or a place to hide from the blistering sun. Though, he still cares little for the humans surrounding him in the town, and with good reason... they aren't any more likable at the beginning of the story than by the end, but then again, I didn't get to glimpse the town before the monster started terrorizing it, and they've all been trapped for five years, they've got plenty of reason to be pissed, but they've lost part of their humanity in the process, becoming monsters themselves. I did like the ending where Graf saves Jessa in the only way he can.
American Vampire is an interesting story, and from my above comments, you may think I didn't enjoy the story. You'd be wrong, it was an intense page turner that grabbed my interest from the start, I read this book in a single day. After getting to know Jessa, and watching her grow up at long last, accepting her family's death, she turned out to be a self-sacrificing character, and Graf turned out to be the strong vampire hero everyone needed him to be. As the townspeople have lost part of their humanity, Graf gains a little of his back. At first, I thought Graf was going to be a vampire savior, but he really is just an ordinary guy who happens to be a vampire. He's not super human strong, very much susceptible to sunlight, his emotions have become lost with the change to vampire, but he is super quick and learns to mock human behavior pretending so well to be human, he almost fools Jessa, almost. Even though he is relatively new to vampirism, only being turned in 1967, he understands the lost of humanity. It seems with Ms. Armintrout's version of vampirism, as soon as one becomes a vampire, humanity is lost; no breathing, no blinking, an imitation of human existence. This is another new twist to the vampire genre, which only helps keep the genre fresh and interesting. Urban fantasy lovers may want to give this one a try, and paranormal romance lovers, there's some lovin in here for you too. At the heart of this story is a monster, the question is who let the monster out to play and how can it be killed?
I received this ebook for review from Net Galley and Harlequin. All opinions expressed are my own.