Justine Larbalestier & Sarah Rees Brennan
(Allen & Unwin)
Guest reporter Alex says this isn't just another vampire romance book - it might even cure you of your vampire aversion.
When I first saw the blurb of Team Human I immediately thought, "Twilight-inspired". Assuming you’ve all heard at least one friend squeal at the name Edward Cullen or Jacob Black, then you should know enough about Twilight to know that Bella loves Edward the vampire.
Twilight and I aren’t great friends, except when I want to laugh at Edward or Bella’s lack of character. I generally bemoan lack of character that’s overcompensated by an unnecessary amount of romance.
Although Team Human does have some similarities to Twilight (vampire romance is one), it is not all about undying (yes, that was meant to be ironic) love.
Team Human is about Mel Duan and her best friends Anna and Cathy as they battle the highs and lows of teenage life. Oh, and they live in "The City of Vampires", so it’s no surprise that Cathy, the dreamer of the trio, falls in love with dashing vampire Francis when he comes to their high school to continue his studies.
Mel’s a gutsy, funny character who always takes care of her friends, even if that means going against their wishes if she thinks it’s best for them. With a personal aversion to vampires, she instigates an all-out war to save her best friend from the evil clutches of the undead.
Mel’s other best friend, Anna, seems to be suffering from vampire paranoia after her dad took off with a lady vampire, so Mel puts on her detective cap, accompanied by the human-adopted-by-vampires Kit, to solve that mystery too. Drama and a few good laughs ensue.
Each supporting character forms part of a wonderful spectrum with regard to their characterisation. Francis is a stoic figure who secretly holds emotions buried deep in his heart. Cathy has a surprisingly focused attitude that lets her hold her ground despite Mel’s constant barraging. Anna seems frightened throughout the book, but shows shades of strength. Finally, Kit is a wonderfully diverse character, being both human and raised by vampires.
That said, the characters' characterisation seems a little rushed, probably due to the book's brevity, the number of characters and the number of subplots in the book.
Team Human gives the well-worn "human vs vampire" concept a re-vamp that I found very creative. If you like Twilight, this is a good book for you. There’s a ton of romance. If you hated Twilight with a passion, this is still a good book for you. It’s a lot more than a vampire-human romance and you might just lose a little bit of your disgust for vampires.
4 out of 5.
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