Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Children’s Books: Solace & Grief by Foz Meadows

Out now in Australia, Foz Meadows’ Solace & Grief won’t be available in other parts of the world until later this year.

The newest entry from Paul Collins’ Ford Street Publishing is a debut. Hearing the author speak at her launch and seeing her sign books, I think she’s going to do nicely as a professional. She’s also lucky enough to have a surname that puts her novel on the bookshop shelves right next to Stephenie Meyer’s books -- and it has a snazzy black cover that will draw the eye of any teenager browsing for Twilight stuff.

The storyline is likely to appeal to young vampire fans, too. Solace Morgan was a born vampire. Her parents gave up their lives to produce her to act as a sort of saviour in a war with a nasty female vampire who has been “making” followers by addicting the new vampires to human blood. Most of the children of the night in this universe don’t like drinking human blood because it acts as a sort of heroin -- once you drink it, you always need another fix. Solace has been living in a group foster home, uncomfortable out in the sun and limited in what she can eat. She is extremely strong and has other gifts that appear over time.

After some terrifying dreams, she runs away from home, into the streets of Sydney, where she meets a group of other gifted teens. Will her troubles cost the lives of her new friends? And what is her own role? Who is the faceless man? The small grey cat? Why are so many people after her?

This novel has come along at just the right time in the teen vampire fiction revolution. But it’s not quite a vampire novel, despite all the vampire politics. And so far, it’s not a romance, though there could be some in the next two novels planned for this series, depending on whether or not a certain character returns to the group. However, the vampire isn’t the brooding Byronic male, but the girl. To my mind, the fact that this isn’t quite a vampire novel or a romance is a positive feature. When kids get tired of more of the same, they will have something different to read.

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