Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Tear Collector

Written by Patrick Jones
Publication date: September 1, 2009
Released in Hardcover

4 stars

ALSO: Lookout for The Tear Collector #2 (no release info yet)

Synopsis: Between hookups, makeups and breakups, there isn't a day at Lapeer High School without drama turning to trauma turning to tears.

And tears are just as essential as air for Cassandra Gray. She and her family are vampires who thirst for human sorrow, and the energy that they soak in from a good crying jag can keep them fueled up for days.

Anytime a friend needs a shoulder to cry on, Cass is there. Anytime a boyfriend gets too secure, she breaks his heart. Cass's work as a school peer counselor and hospital volunteer also provides the perfect cover and access to her family's energy source. But she is getting tired of all the lies and manipulation - especially now that she's actually fallen in love with a human. Can she bear to betray her family for a chance at happiness and a life lived with joy?

How I Came to Read This: I was in Borders one day, saw the title and picked it up. I just had to find out what kind of vampire sustains itself on tears, and how. My curiosity always gets the best of me, but with books, I don't usually regret it!

My Review: The story starts off very mysteriously, only giving you hints as to what kind of person Cassandra Gray is and what kind of family she hails from. Just reading the first chapter, I knew I wasn't going to put it down until the end. The reason wasn't because Cassandra was the warm and fuzzy kind; but because I needed to find out how the author was going to take this cold and heartless person and turn her into a character that discovers her own human emotions in her very inhuman life. Cassandra has a spectator view on life and people. She just goes through the motions because "caring" is just a means to an end.

There is some language in this book, which I'm starting to notice, bothers some people. I'm not some people.

Lapeer High School where this story pretty much takes place, sounds like the worst place on earth to grow up! There isn't one true friendship among any of the students. Everyone is 'friends' with everyone else only because they're getting something out of the deal. Lies, rumors and more lies seem to be what the kids of Lapeer High wake up everyday for.

I enjoyed Cassandra's narration. I've been trying to find the words to describe her cadence, her mentality, her attitude, but I haven't been able to. Realistic is the best I can come up with. Hopefully if you've read this book or plan to, you might better understand what I mean. Maybe one of you can help me?!

In other vampire stories, we're supposed to believe that they are incapable of feeling human emotions; that they don't view human life the same way we do. Yet, we know that vampires usually turn out to be these tortured souls that deprive themselves of emotions in order to keep people away from them, to keep them safe. Cassandra, however, seems to really be devoid of human emotions. She doesn't even know what they feel like. When she does start to experience them, she can't even put a name to what she's feeling.

I thought the random mentioning of the crimes that were occurring alongside the story would have fit in better with the overall scheme of things, if Cassandra had talked about it to some degree during her day to day. Still halfway through the book there were only the newspaper articles and no sign of who was responsible. I guess that added to the suspense but it felt more like a different story. Trying to guess whodunnit is half the fun! There weren't any characters that raised enough suspicion.

The only surprise at the end was the room for a sequel. I'll read the follow-up, just because I need to know the true ending.

Who Should Read This: It was a different kind of vampire story, the most unique actually, as it didn't involve a single drop of blood. Maybe for a younger audience, the tone of the book wasn't quite mature enough for my taste.

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