For the most part, this is a fun and entertaining vampire action-comedy, which crosses Blade with What We Do in the Shadows, and I enjoyed reading it, gliding through the book with enormous ease. Phipps has created some great characters, including villains, to get your teeth into (excuse the pun), and a pretty novel storyline, in which the elder vampires are some sort of all-powerful Illuminati – the one-percenters – who, like the rest are happy to commit genocide to further their corporate position. To tell the truth, though, with its humorous banter all round, Straight Outta Fangton is perhaps a touch too tongue in cheek, its relentless wisecracking diluting the menace a great deal. There is the potential for some genuine darkness in this book, alongside the comedy – some real ha-ha/oh shit! moments – but they aren’t really given the room to express themselves, because of the continuous banter between the characters. The author has also created some superb set-pieces, but if I’m being honest the action is a little light for long periods, and again the comedic dialogue is very top-heavy – this book is undoubtedly comedy first, action-thriller second, and the wisecracking does wear a tiny bit thin on occasion.
Much of the comedy revolves around the shamelessly flaunted movie references in the book. Phipps is a self-confessed fantasy-horror geek, and he knows his genre, for sure. I do look forward to reading more from him, if perhaps not entirely my type of humour; there are, though, some great moments in this book and some real imagination from a hugely creative author. All in all, this is a light, inoffensive read, which doesn’t demand being taken seriously, but is rather simply the author having fun writing what he enjoys – there is certainly nothing wrong with that.
It does, unfortunately, have a social commentary message – what doesn’t these days – though clearly delivered somewhat ironically, so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt in this respect. There are countless charges of racism and remarks about class inequality, though in fairness they are in context, so it doesn’t feel like you’re being educated or preached to – I read fiction to escape, and there is enough of that in real-life (or any Netflix-made movie). The vampires suffer the usual emotions associated with them – regret, guilt, self-disgust – but, refreshingly, for the most part they relish their condition and the powers which come with it – not so much because they love to wield unlimited power; more so because it is all just a lot of fun.
Luckily for me, I have a couple more books from this author pencilled in, and I look forward to reading them. If you like vampire comedy, with unapologetic geeky references, this will be right up your street, and I recommend taking a look.
In : Book Reviews
Tags: c-t-phipps comedy action thriller vampire horror