Beautiful Monster: The Exchange
by Jeanne Bannon
There's something you should know about me, if you don't already know it. I'm kind of sucker for angsty pretty boys. Maybe it's all the anime I watched as a kid. Maybe it's all the fanfiction based on that anime that I spent hours reading. For whatever reason, I often find myself seeking it out and gravitating towards stories of troubled, broken-hearted eye candy.
Which is basically exactly what this book is.
It's about Lev and Alexei, two very hot vampire brothers. One is, of course, made in the Lestat mold. Lev, on the other hand, is sensitive and in love with Carly. But, of course, love can't last for a soulless monster. So, Lev must find a way to be reunited with her, no matter the risk.
Thus begins their path to ruin.
So, this isn't, like, a great book. The vampire's dialogue is fittingly anachronistic, but that doesn't explain why Carly, a modern era human, sounds awkward. And, speaking of Carly, she's basically a non-character. She spends most of the story hiding, cowering, or screaming. She could have just as easy been replaced with peanut butter cups. Or a girl in a fridge, because, spoiler alert for page one, she dies.
But the story isn't really about her. She's just the trigger event.
I am not entirely certain that this story didn't start its life as a True Blood fanfic. I haven't read the Southern Vampire Mysteries, I watched the show and almost all of the vampire lexicon came straight from it. Which is fine, I guess. I mean, Bannon does a good job of using the words so the reader understands them. In fact, as long as you have even just passing knowledge of vampires, I think the story is pretty easy to follow. And the mythology is pretty cool.
I had a really hard time coming up with my rating for this one. I read it all in one sitting, partly because it's pretty short (78 pages), and partly because I really wanted to see what was going to happen. I honestly had fun reading it in the same way I have fun watching, well, True Blood. It's a guilty pleasure. It isn't really good, but it's fun. For me. Fun for me. So. 3 out of 5. If you're into this kind of thing, you'll like it, but you might not want to admit to it.