Review: V Wars by Jonathan Maberry, John Everson, Keith R.A. DeCandido, Scott Nicholson, Nancy Holder, Yvonne Navarro, James A. Moore, Gregory Frost

Published by IDW Publishing
Released June 12, 2012
384 pages
Where I got it: E-galley received from publisher via NetGalley
Rating: ★★★★☆

Description (from publisher):

A sweeping threaded narrative of the global phenomenon known as the Vampire Wars.

Mankind has been silently infected by millennia-old bacteria unknowingly exhumed by a scientific expedition in Antarctica. Now, in some rare cases, a person’s so-called “junk DNA” becomes activated, and depending on their racial and ethnic heritage they begin to manifest one of the many diverse forms of the “others” that are the true basis for the legends of supernatural creatures. These aren’t your usual vampires and werewolves-it goes much deeper than that.

Conceived by Jonathan Maberry, V WARS features stories from various “frontlines” as reported by such contributors as Nancy Holder, Yvonne Navarro, James A. Moore, Gregory Frost, John Everson, Keith R.A. DeCandido, and Scott Nicholson (as well as Maberry himself, of course).

The result is a compelling series of tales that create a unique chronicle of mankind’s response to this sudden, hidden threat to humanity.

I’ve stated before that I love me some vampires. Especially scary vampires. Jonathan Maberry is also one of my favorite horror authors currently writing, so when I saw this book by Maberry, with contributions by other writers I enjoy, like Nancy Holder and John Everson, I knew it was a must-read. I’m glad to report that my instincts were dead-on. This book is great, and so much fun.

The structure of the anthology is one of the best I’ve seen in a multi-author book. Each writer is allowed to have his or her own style and story, but all of the stories relate back to the larger work by Maberry and weave in elements and characters of his tale. Maberry writes in his signature style: the events leading up to a supernatural crisis, with medical and military storylines playing a large role in his plot. He breaks the events into chunks, giving us the countdown to, and time elapsed after, the V event. The other stories are sandwiched between Maberry’s overarching narrative, so we know that we’ll always come back to  that central plot.

None of the stories here are weak. Each author has a strength and unique voice, and those add up to a rich experience. Readers see the Vampire Wars as they play out across the country, and even around the world: on the talk show circuit, along the Mexican-American border, on an Indian reservation, in the Bronx, in Chinese gangs, in the backwoods, and in Europe. I think what I appreciated best about the world building is the way that a multiplicity of vampire archetypes are at play here.  This is really a vampire aficionado’s dream. Vampires run the gamut of classic western vamps, to flesh-eaters, to psychic vampires, and everything in between. They’re called by their cultural names, and are even sometimes pitted against one another. Anyone who enjoys vampire horror from Carmilla through Anne Rice (maybe not Twilight fans so much) is sure to have a great time with this book.

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