Book Review

Review: The Reluctant Vampire Queen by Jo Simmons

Honestly, I picked this one up for a bit of a fun, silly read. Unfortunately, for me, it was a lot more contrived teenage angst and trashy plot than I was prepared for …

Title: The Reluctant Vampire Queen
Author: Jo Simmons
Pages: 352
Publisher: Hot Key, Bonnier Books
Publication Date: 7th July 2022
Ownership: eARC

Rating: 1 star

Meet Mo Merrydrew – independent young woman, Mini Battenberg fan, president of the debating society – and reluctant vampire queen …

Fifteen-year-old Mo Merrydrew isn’t exactly expecting to be asked to be Vampire Queen of Great Britain when she’s cycling home from school one wet Tuesday evening. Apparently, she is ‘the Chosen One’. Aside from being uncomfortable with the idea of unelected power (not very democratic), there’s the blood drinking to consider (Mo is a vegetarian), and frankly it’s just not really the sort of role Mo’s looking for (she wants to aim for a real job in politics). But – if you’re Vampire Queen, you probably don’t have to do PE any more, and when the dreamy Luca, a vampire familiar, turns up, it all suddenly starts to look a bit more appealing …

My Review

I normally think of myself as being pretty generous with reviews If it’s a middling book but I didn’t hate it, it’s 3 stars, 4 stars is enjoyed it, 5 stars is loved it. Things occasionally make it to 2 stars, and rarely 1 star. But I’ll make an exception for this. And that sounds really mean and I hate leaving negative reviews, but this was really not the one for me.

I was expecting light-hearted teenage banter, some funny and fabulous vampires and a smart girl out-witting the undead. Instead, I got uncomfortable and repetitive teenage angst, Eastern European vampire stereotypes and a Vampire King that starts off Bowie and ends up confusing himself. We also have Mo as the ‘Chosen One’ for completely unclear and unanswerable reasons. And a bully whose main tactic seems to be ‘what are you doing on my bus’.

Not to mention the whole vampire monarchy/hierarchy sounded like complete nonsense. The thing I most enjoyed was when Mo started receiving correspondence from isolated vampire groups across the country. But even this grade A student couldn’t write a decent letter back, and definitely didn’t come up with a plan that would pass in any other scenario.

Mo’s sudden and dramatic love interest was a hormone surge that had previously been directed to mini battenbergs and GCSE revision. And a love interest that she would apparently do anything for, including attempting to trick vampires just so she could spend another moment with him.

I made it through, but quite honestly I found it uncomfortable reading. It felt like the way teen fiction used to be written 10 or 15 years ago and it doesn’t stand up in comparison to what else is out there now.

I received an eARC of this book from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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