Revenance (Feral Rebirth series, #1)

Feral entities awaken.

Blending aspects of vampire myths with other supernatural and psychological archetypes, Revenance depicts a young female punk musician’s awakening from death into a surreal, supernatural realm of horror and passion. Revived from a deadly accident by an alluring vampire, she learns from her Awakener how to survive by feasting upon the ill and hopeless. As she quenches her insatiable thirst for blood, she vicariously experiences the hopes and fears of her despairing victims, reliving through them the joy and anguish of human existence.

Journeying through the nocturnal NYC netherworld of the abandoned and the tormented, she reconnects with her former friend, drug-addicted musician, Spitz Nevus, and explores the self-destructive obsessions plaguing humans as well as vampires. She also recalls her own childhood and adolescent encounters with otherworldly entities, the Tooth Fairy and Morbidy Graham, who, in tainting her innocence, awakened feral instincts that shape her immortal future.

"Art hurts sometimes. Like love. Consider Jean Genet's "Our Lady of the Flowers," David Lynch's "Blue Velvet" or the paintings of Frida Kahlo. In each case, beauty and pain are inextricably linked. Now joining their company is a slender little volume by Alison Armstrong titled "Revenance." The protagonist of this novel lives in a world where pain could well be the only viable alternative to superficiality, stultification and the surrender of one's highest aspirations. Do me a favor. Resist the temptation to stop reading this review after you see the next word. Vampire. There, it's out in the open now. Yes, this book does feature characters who are vampires. Yes. I know. The vampire bit has been overdone in pop culture. Overkill, you might say. But this book is about as far removed from the facile "Twilight" and its ilk as, well, night from day. First, style cuts "Revenance" out from the herd. The word choice is poetic. The images are archetypical. Here's an excerpt: "A snake-entwined caduceus looms above the young woman's head. On its right hovers a crucifix--Christ impaled on a stick, writhing, worm-like on the hook of torment." Second, substance sets the book apart. And above. Far from Twilight's do-gooder morality and the typical mass-media yarn in which vampires and their mortal consorts are drawn to each other chiefly by superficial physical charms, the protagonist of this novel is drawn to her "awakener" more than anything by the repugnance she feels for the shoddy realities of everyday life. Calling out to a vampire may be her only chance of escaping the sordid trap of modern society by experiencing both the intensely animal and the intensely spiritual. Armstrong manages to pack into this little book an impressive amount of social criticism along with her exploration of the human psyche, working in references ranging from the Disney classic movie "Thomasina" to "Sid and Nancy," from St. Theresa to the tooth fairy. It's so dense that it's like the much-referenced teaspoon of black hole that by itself would weigh more than our solar system. In conclusion, if you're one of those people who make a point about how you only read "light" fiction because your mind is already so overworked (as if we really believed that!), this book probably isn't for you. But if you like your literature to pose a few risks, maybe even entail a little suffering, than this might just be right for you."
5 star Amazon review

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