Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod: Twelfth Grade Kills by Heather Brewer

Title: Twelfth Grade Kills
Author: Heather Brewer
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile (September 21, 2010)
Genre: paranormal, action, vampires, romance
Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary:  from product description
As a teenage vampire, Vlad has spent the last four years trying to handle the pressures of school while sidestepping a slayer out for his blood. Now he's a senior, and in this final, action-packed book in the series, Vlad must confront the secrets of the past, unravel the mystery of who he really is, make decisions about his future, and face his greatest enemy. It's a senior year that totally bites. 

My thoughts:  **Spoiler Alert for Book 4**
      After being totally sucked in to book four Eleventh Grade Bleeds where Brewer ends with the sudden resurrection of Tomas Tod, Vlad's father,  this book will seem anticlimactic, but it's inevitable. This is the end of a series that I've invested several years reading. I initially picked up book 1, Eighth Grade Bites  because Vlad was the same age as my students, going through the same middle school angst of school crushes, dealing with bullies and spending time with a best friend who accepts him for what he is (a half vampire/half human). Vlad was an alternative to moody Bella, and Brewer's books, at half the size were more appealing to reluctant readers who wanted vampire adventures without the bulk of the Twilight series.  Each book has Vlad literally fighting for his life from someone or something determined to stake him in the heart. It made for exciting reading, not because he might die, (of course he's not going to die, the series carries his name), but the excitement came from watching Vlad try to hold onto his strong ethics and morals despite the various enemies that come into his life.

As Vlad gets older, though, the books get darker. He's faced with larger issues, and his innocence and strong morals inevitably corrode as his enemies get more powerful and more people that he loves are threatened. This last book is the darkest yet and Vlad, through the five years of this story has not only grown stronger, but a bit more cynical and jaded. In the end, anger and sorrow replace innocence. In the end, Vlad grows up, and as readers, the end is never as good as the beginning, but it's an  end. I'm not really happy with what happens, but I wouldn't change it either. It's like watching your kids grow up -- you can't protect or shelter them from evil, even if you know it will change them.  You just have to watch them go.

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