You know when you’re reading a book and it feels like the perfect book you could be reading at that particular time? I think this was the perfect book for this holiday. Maybe it would have been perfect no matter what the time or place, but for some reason I had some resonance with the universe to be utterly tickled by this novel.
Maybe it was being in Venice and having a kindred old city feeling (that wasn’t London because London just feels like home) which made it feel so atmospheric and wonderful. Or maybe it was that I love the characters and since they were so well defined, I could jump right back into the monstrous world of Greta Helsing. Maybe because I could imagine the places because I’ve been to Paris enough times. Whatever it was, I was just taken with the sequel to Strange Practice. So much so, that after starting it, I didn’t want to holiday. I had to drive around when all I really wanted to do was sit down and inhale the last quarter of Dreadful Company.
Oh no, I have to have a nice drive through the lovely Italian countryside, woe is me.
So, what’s it all about I hear you ask. It takes place sometime after the events in the first book, but this time Greta is in Paris to give a conference paper. But, of course, there is more going on. First of all there’s something causing problems with the fabric of reality. Second, there’s a vampire hell-bent on killing Greta’s long-time vampire friend Ruthven. I don’t want to give too much away but it was DELIGHTFUL. Just ridiculously full of delight. I was giggling and smirking and laughing my way through the entire thing. I WAS SMILING AND THINKING ABOUT THE BOOK WHEN I WASN’T ABLE TO READ THE BOOK.
I don’t think it has quite the intricate plotting as the first book, mainly because we were seeing the perspective and intentions of the baddies quite clearly this time around. But that didn’t detract from the overall story, it still had some delightful little surprises throughout the entire novel and especially at the end when the main action ramps up. It had a good pace and nothing felt overdone or rushed.
There’s some really funny bits with the Paris coven of vampires though, I won’t spoil it. But I love a good deconstruction/pop culture references in my books. As well, there’s a whole bit about consent, which was delicately done (in that it was about being turned as a vampire) but so applicable to other non-mythical contexts.
BUT OMG WAS IT SO DELIGHTFUL.
Was it the adorable well monsters going glup. WHY IS A TINY MONSTER GOING GLUP SO DELIGHTFUL. WHY. Omg, I wish I could have a well monster. Glup.
Let me not even start with Greta and Varney, because omg, I want to die. SO ADORKABLE.
I love them all. I love the world building and the wee monsters and not so wee monsters. I love Greta’s diagnostic flow when she’s treating someone or explaining to a new vampire about what it is to be a vampire. I love all the weird melding of myth, religion and magic. It’s just such a wonderful, cheerful and delightful place to spend some time. I do recommend you pick this one up (you know, if you like delightful monsters) and the first one if you haven’t read that either.
I JUST WANT TO READ IT AGAIN. I want to forget that I’ve read it, both of them, and then just read them both in a row and DIE OF BEING SO DELIGHTED.