How Not to Vampire – Rodney V. Smith

As a first-timer on Reedsy, the sensible thing I should have done was spending some time trying to figure out the platform. A book caught my attention instead, and I had to take it. The title promised a lot of irony and fun, and I was sold even before reading the blurb. The book in question is How Not to Vampire, by Rodney V. Smith, an Urban Fantasy that is so much more than your average vampire story! The first thing that comes to mind was that it gives the same vibes of some ’90s movies I love, those irreverent and crude dark comedies so iconic that stuck with me till today.

Things Bob has on his checklist when he accidentally becomes a vampire: a) forget everything he knows about vampires; b) don’t get brutally murdered by vampires.

Apparently there are vampire LAWS, and Bob, a young, romantically-challenged black man living in Toronto, never got the guidebook. Even though it’s not his fault that he’s broken every rule, a secret vampire society is hellbent on giving him a more permanent death. With the help of his best pal, Claude, Bob tries to stay alive and hopefully turn around his screwed-up existence in the process.

This book is fun and entertaining. As the author explains at the end, it is written as if it were a season of a TV show, and I could easily see it as one: the plot is amazing, and what makes it even more interesting is that it’s so character driven it hurts, in a very good way. It works: write amazing characters, and you’ll have me hooked forever. The only thing I need to warn you about though is that, as it’s customary with TV shows, this story ends with a huge cliffhanger (and by huge, I mean really huge).

Did I already mention how much I love this book? And every character is amazing, from the main one to his best friend Claude —side note, I want a Claude in my life—, from Beatrice to Harry, to the whole set of vampires. And while we’re talking about vamps, I also liked the spin on the lore. In this verse, they’re not your average undead; they’re very much alive, and even if not much is revealed about them so far, except that you can spot them by their peculiar blue eyes, I’m looking forward to learn more.

Wait, I have one more cool info: coffee is a drug to them. I mean, they can literally overdose on coffee. How fun is that?

Our main character, Bob, has a pretty great voice. The author has an outstanding writing style, that’s a given, but I like the way Bob thinks. He’s not heroic at all, and he loves getting wasted. And he made a mess of his life and lost his girlfriend because of a very dumb choice, but… he’s funny, obsessed with movies, and makes a lot of music references. Guys, I’m dying! I love it so much when characters are not perfect. Give me flawed humans —or vamps— struggling at life. Give me people who don’t have everything under control, because these are the characters I can relate to: the ones who mess up and try to fix their mistakes.

Let’s take a step back and talk about music, please, because finding all the songs I listen to all the time mentioned in this novel was just perfect. It felt so relatable, something I could connect to. And they make sense, there is a fun story behind those, one that shows an important side Bob! Just know I’m beyond ecstatic I found this novel, and if you like books with badass characters, brilliant situations and profanity, you’re in for a great ride!

The only thing that bugged me a bit is that punctuation and formatting were not exactly perfect all the time, which is a pity especially given how everything else is so much on point. For this reason, I don’t feel like giving the book 5 stars, but my 4.5 will be rounded to 5 anyway. Congratulations, mr. Smith, I can’t wait for Season 2!

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