REVIEW: I’m Dreaming of an Undead Christmas by Molly Harper
It’s Christmas in Half-Moon Hollow and newly turned vampire Iris Scanlon-Calix wants to make Gigi’s first visit home from college as normal and special as possible. It’s taken months for Iris to work up the nerve to spend time around her baby sister after her vampire transition, so she enlists help from Jane Jameson and Company to keep her blood-thirst under control and assure Gigi’s safety.Gigi, on the other hand, has problems of her own, including the demise of her relationship with high school sweetheart, Ben, and a looming job interview with Ophelia Lambert, the scariest potential employer in the Hollow. And then there’s the small matter of the handsome, frustrating vampire who keeps appearing in Gigi’s peripheral vision, then disappearing before she can talk to him.Can the Scanlon sisters negotiate romantic problems, vampire politics, and Christmas cookie disasters and enjoy a relatively normal holiday?
Dear Ms. Harper,
I’ve enjoyed your contemporary novels, especially the Kentucky Bluegrass series, and have wondered how the paranormal books would work for me. I saw this novella and thought, “Hey, a jumpstart on holiday themed stories and a chance to sample the vampire world. Win.” At some point I might still go back and read a full length novel but I decided this novella isn’t the best way to enter this world.
The first half of the novella is packed with lots of introductions to past characters with quick and dirty downlows on their stories. I was expecting this given how many books there are in the series already. “Just keep reading, just keep reading, keep on reading…to get to this story” is what I told myself. There’s a whole lot of cutesy but finally the trademark Harper humor seeps in and gets me smiling.
And yet …and yet … there are so many past characters and relationships and interactions that get touched on. If this were spread out over the length of a novel that’s a lot anyway but when it’s a novella, I felt that for every increment Gigi’s story moved forward, there was a ton of “who are all these people and do I really need to know about them now” moments.
Geeg, or Gigi, makes me think of Winona Ryder in Beetlejuice. She’s got a wry, slightly sarcastic humor delivered in a deadpan style that I enjoy. She’s enough to make me contemplate reading on in this world to see how her new IT job developing a vampire version of ancestry dot com works out.
Iris outlines the good and bad aspects of her new life instead of going all “vamp glitter, OMG, I wuv it!” She also still enjoys putting on an OTT tacky Christmas. Sweet sisterly love is – aaaawww.
The chapter headings from the (fictional, I assume) -” Not So Silent Night: Creating Happy and Stress-Free Holidays with Newly Undead Family Members” are fun. Should I ever need to know how to handle the Christmas season with the undead, I’ll be sure to reference it often.
This will probably give new readers an in-depth background for this series, for this world, for these characters but honestly I’m not sure this is the best way for newbies to this universe to start with it. It’s like being at a party and listening to fellow guests talk about people you don’t know and reminisce about events you weren’t at and speculate about things that might happen in which you have no vested interest. After a while, as someone has to explain all the in-jokes, it gets to be boring and I found my attention wandering. Perhaps I’ll read Gigi’s book next year but I’m not raring to tear into backlists of this series. C