Monday, January 24, 2011

Young Adult: Out for Blood: Drake Chronicles by Alyxandra harvey

Out for Blood (Walker Books, Bloomsbury) is the third novel in the series about the peaceful vampire family, the Drakes, and the humans in their lives (or should that be their undeaths?).

In this universe, you can be turned, but you can also be born to the vampire state, although you don’t change states until you’re sixteen. The Drake family has a born-vampire father, a mother who turned by choice and is now queen of the local vampire tribe, a single daughter, Solange, and seven gorgeous sons, two of whom are dating human girls. Solange’s boyfriend, Kieran, is not only human but a hereditary vampire-hunter. Fortunately, the Drakes have made a treaty with the vampire-hunting society, the Helios-Ra. Not everyone on either side agrees with this treaty, which is probably a good thing for the purposes of the storylines or there would be no more novels in the series.

The entire series, so far, has been set over a fairly short time, only a few weeks. Each one takes up shortly after the last. Each novel is seen from the viewpoints of different characters.

This one is seen alternately from the viewpoint of Quinn Drake, the fourth son, and Hunter Wild, a Helios-Ra girl who appeared briefly in the previous novel and is teasingly called Buffy by Quinn. For the first time, we see inside the school where the young hereditary vampire-slayers are trained.

Hunter has been at the school for four years and is just finishing up, but just when she’s falling in love with the annoyingly attractive Quinn, who has a huge number of groupies, she finds that something strange is going on at the Heios-Ra Academy. There are unexpected attacks by the truly horrible Hel-Blar vampires (they’re blue and insane). Students are coming down with mysterious illnesses. Someone is handing out “vitamin” tablets that may be more than vitamins.

Can Hunter and her friends stop it in time? Can she get Quinn’s attention away from all those other girls -- and will it matter if she and the others don’t stop whatever is happening at the school?

What do you think?

This series is a lot of fun, unlike many other vampire romances. There’s certainly enough romance to keep girls reading, but the heroines of these stories are not the standard maiden-in-distress. They kick ass. Even Hunter’s girly roommate, Chloe, is a computer hacker genius. The gorgeous Drake brothers are turned on by strong women.

The girls will enjoy this one as much as the others. I can’t wait to put it in my library, where the first two books are almost always out on loan. ◊

Sue Bursztynski lives in Australia, where she works as a teacher-librarian. She has written several books for children and young adults, including Crime Time: Australians Behaving Badly and, most recently, the YA novel Wolfborn. Her blog, The Great Raven, can be found at

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