Disclaimer: I wrote this review for an older blog that I am in the process of deleting.
Last night I finished Heather Graham’s latest novel Dust to Dust. It is part of a series called The Prophecy, which deals with the Mayan prophecy that the world was going to end on December 21, 2012. Ms. Graham supposes that the world isn’t going to end in one big cataclysm, but rather by a series of minor events leading up until 12/21/12. In this first book, we are reintroduced to a group that calls themselves “The Alliance”. They have appeared in a few other of Ms. Graham’s (as well as her pseudonym Sharon Sala) books. If you have read any of these other books, then you know the big secret about The Alliance: most of them are vampires. Despite the fact that this group has been used in some of her other groups, the book is more than a third over before “the big reveal,” even though there are some rather pathetic hints dropped throughout the book. For example, “He frowned. There was a tiny trail of red at the corner of her lips (p121).” Melanie, the female protagonist, keeps “cherry soda” stocked in her refrigerator. One of the other characters supplied everyone with rosaries to wear around their necks. But yet, the male protagonist, Scott, has trouble believing what was right in front of him from the very beginning. However, he quickly gets over his disbelief and confesses his love for Melanie.
I did enjoy this book, but I have to say it is not one of my favorites by Heather Graham or even one of my favorite vampire books. Ms. Graham takes the vampire myth and turns it on its head. According to legend, vampires cannot touch a cross or be splashed by Holy Water, but according to Ms. Graham those things only work against evil vampires. I’ve got to say that this is something that they could have used on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and True Blood. Its a really good way to tell a good vampire from a bad one, but my question is what happens when a vampire starts out evil and becomes good? Does it suddenly become unaffected by sacred objects? Or what happens when a good vampire turns evil? Another problem that I had with this book is that she claims that crosses and Holy Water are only effective when a vampire believes that they will be; they need to have faith. Wouldn’t a smart vampire realize that as long as they believe that they won’t be hurt by these things that they can’t be? It just isn’t logical to believe that in all of history no evil vampires would have figured this out.
There were also times when it felt like I was reading a fanfiction written by a 13-year-old girl. For instance, our heroes have found out that the demon Bael is releasing evil mist from fissures caused by earthquakes all over the world, so members of the Alliance have set out to “exorcise” the fissures. They soon realize that they need to keep people away from the fissures because the mist will infect them with evil and they will immediately begin attacking other people, so they go to the San Francisco police department to talk to a cop about getting word to the governor (I wonder if it would be the Governator because he would probably try to save the world himself), the president, and every world leader across the globe. At this point, I began to wonder whether Ms. Graham has seen Is There a Woogy in the House episode of Charmed one too many times. I mean an evil, black mist that makes people turn against their friends and neighbors? Doesn’t that sound like the Woogyman? Why didn’t someone just start chanting:
“I am light, I am one too strong to fight. Return to dark where shadows dwell. You cannot take this Halliwell. Go away and leave my sight, and take with you this endless night.”
I’ll admit that this was always my favorite spell, but you can’t take everything from television. Plus, the description of Bael sounds awfully like Moloch from the Buffy episode I Robot, You Jane. There is just so far that I will suspend my belief in coincidence.
The final problem that I had was the love story between Melanie and Scott. They both seem to have instantly fallen in love with each other despite everything that is going on around them. True, this happens a lot in romance novels, but here it seems rather forced, as if someone told her that she needed to have a little romance in her book. Honestly, the background romance between Judy and Blake was much more believable than Scott and Melanie’s insta-love.
I do have one final question. Why is it that Ms. Graham believes that all Catholic School students (or former Catholic school students) know Latin? I went to Catholic school from 1st through 9th grades, and I was taught very little Latin, and the Latin that I was taught would not allow me to translate a block of text carved in stone, unless the text is the lyrics to Adeste Fidelis.
In my opinion this was a rather mediocre book, and it was not worth the money that I spent on it. If you want to read a good book about a vampire check out the last book in Nora Roberts’s Circle Trilogy.