September 13th, 2011
386 pages (hardcover)
Margaret K. McElderry
Source: Author + Purchased (gave away review copy)
"Pearl is a sixteen-year-old vampire...fond of blood, allergic to sunlight, and mostly evil...until the night a sparkly unicorn stabs her through the heart with his horn. Oops.
Her family thinks she was attacked by a vampire hunter (because, obviously, unicorns don't exist), and they're shocked she survived. They're even more shocked when Pearl discovers she can now withstand the sun. But they quickly find a way to make use of her new talent. The Vampire King of New England has chosen Pearl's family to host his feast. If Pearl enrolls in high school, she can make lots of human friends and lure them to the King's feast -- as the entrees.
The only problem? Pearl's starting to feel the twinges of a conscience. How can she serve up her new friends—especially the cute guy who makes her fangs ache—to be slaughtered? Then again, she's definitely dead if she lets down her family. What's a sunlight-loving vamp to do?"
Being stabbed by a mythical unicorn is just the beginning of Pearl's problems. After the unpleasant stabbing incident, she gains the ability to venture out into the sunlight unharmed. So, when it's up to Pearl to please her vampire Family by figuring out a way to serve up the local high school students as entrees at the Fealty Ceremony, things quickly go from easy to catastrophe as Pearl starts having a change of heart. But when it comes to the Family, you don't say "no" and get away without any consequences.
Within the first two chapters, Durst made me a fan of her tough, zero-mercy vampires. Durst's vampires are fierce and only loyal to one another to a certain extent. No matter any kindness they show, they still wear a sharp edge of cruelty wrapped firmly around their shoulders, which made for a very fascinating story as Pearl began to change and veer away from her Family's ways. For Pearl, betrayal is imminent: betraying her family or the humans she starting to relate with. All in all, Drink, Slay, Love is humorous, exciting, and full of surprises. It is so much more than your typical vampire story.
Highlights: The lore is nicely explained. Pearl's slow transformation from a courageous, cruel vampire to a little more caring was believable and engaging. The characters1 made this book spectacular, especially Pearl. Whether it was Pearl's first day of school or her intense interactions with her scary Family, I enjoyed it all. Sharp and witty humor, great fight scenes, fabulous description, a budding romance, excellent characters, unicorns and plenty of bloodthirsty vampires -- what's not to love? Drink, Slay, Love is simply extraordinary.
Lowlights: Jadrien (both him and his name). Evan was almost too nice and too perfect. There were a couple predictable moments, and while the ending wrapped up everything important, it did leave me with one lingering question.
1 Zeke and Matt - love those two! I wish they'd had more page-time