It's hard to make vampires boring, but Susan Hubbard manages to do exactly that.The Society of S
follows Ariella Montero, a thirteen-year-old girl who discovers she's a vampire. Her father is a vampire. Her mother is a vampire. It seems everyone she knows either is or wants to be a vampire. Not much of a plot yet, huh? Don't worry, it gets worse.
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For the first third of the book, Ariella tells us about her life, homeschooling with her father, her only companion a housekeeper who can't cook. It's all very mundane and slow moving. For the second third of the book, Ariella discovers that she is a vampire. (She gets her period and her fangs at about the same time.) For the final third, Ariella runs away to search for her long-gone mother and then turns around and searches for her father, who faked his death while she's away. Oh yeah, along the way she kills a man. And her best friend is killed. And some monkeys are rescued. And she learns how to be invisible (a special tailor in England makes clothes that become invisible with you - ooohh, that's how they do it!) And she sees a shark. And she finds a society of vampire environmentalists. W-h-a-t-e-v-e-r.
It all moves impossibly slowly - muddled in the mind of teenager who does quite a bit of navel gazing.
Hubbard never develops the idea of the Society of S, which readers might think would be the focus, given that's the title of the book and all. Throughout the book she often refers to Edgar Allen Poe and one can only assume that she is, however purposefully or not, attempting to mirror his writing style. While Poe packs an emotional punch into the most minor of actions, Hubbard fails to do the same, even with huge events such as life, death and un-death. - Olivia Flores Alvarez
The Society of S, Simon & Schuster, $25.