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Review: Fat Vampire by Adam Rex

I so much wanted to like in Fat Vampire – a tale about typical teen outcast Doug Lee who is attacked by a desperate vampire, and soon finds himself cursed with being fat and fifteen forever. Afraid to actually kill anyone, he hopes to find some goth chick with a vampire fetish to feed on. But when that fails, he resorts to sucking the blood of cows under cover of the night.

But sadly, after the set-up, the book becomes dull and rather pointless. Author Adam Rex had a great chance to create a humorous and maybe thought-provoking tale that takes on teen angst, sexuality, identity, love, and the undead, but the premise sinks under what turns out to be some very unlikable characters, including its lead, Doug.

And it could have been a great parody on the whole vampire genre that has gone through the young adult section since Twilight, and given its great cover, you sort of expect it was. But it’s really a mess, and the cover and premise thus become misleading.

And what’s with the gay villain? While I’m glad that a gay character is present in the novel, it none the less is an “older” vampire who attacked Doug (and another teen named Victor). The subtle pedophile aspect is not lost on me, even though I don’t know if that was the author’s intention. Still, after Victor realizes it was a male vampire that attacked him, he concocts a story to convince Doug that a female vampire sired him.

As I said, there is not one redeeming good thing about Doug, and you can’t help but think he is one big douchebag. This would not be bad, if it were not for the underdeveloped supporting characters being just as dumb and selfish as Doug. By far, the only interesting character is Jay, Doug’s best friend and confident. There is some believability with the geek who loves Star Wars and other pop cultural things.

I don’t know, maybe that was the point of Rex’s novel, to say all teenagers are that way. I missed the boat on that one then. Clearly there was a wasted opportunity here to create a fairly decent parody on the trendy vampire genre of late, but the book misses the target. I mean, even his publishers must’ve saw the flaw of the novel, so they created a fairly unique cover.

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