REVIEW: Vesper by Jeff Sampson

1 Feb


by: Jeff Sampson

Publisher: Belzer + Bray

Emily Webb is a geek. And she’s happy that way. Content hiding under hoodies and curling up to watch old horror flicks, she’s never been the kind of girl who sneaks out for midnight parties. And she’s definitely not the kind of girl who starts fights or flirts with other girls’ boyfriends. Until one night Emily finds herself doing exactly that . . . the same night one of her classmates—also named Emily—is found mysteriously murdered.

The thing is, Emily doesn’t know why she’s doing any of this. By day, she’s the same old boring Emily, but by night, she turns into a thrill seeker. With every nightfall, Emily gets wilder until it’s no longer just her personality that changes. Her body can do things it never could before: Emily is now strong, fast, and utterly fearless. And soon Emily realizes that she’s not just coming out of her shell . . . there’s something much bigger going on. Is she bewitched by the soul of the other, murdered Emily? Or is Emily Webb becoming something else entirely— something not human?

As Emily hunts for answers, she finds out that she’s not the only one this is happening to—some of her classmates are changing as well. Who is turning these teens into monsters—and how many people will they kill to get what they want?

How I Came Across This Book…

A few months ago, I read about Vesper on a blog. It was toted as being a breakout novel for 2011. This piqued my curiousity. I contacted HarperCollins Canada and asked for an ARC. They graciously sent me a copy. (My very first ARC!)

I Hate It When Authors Do This…

The story takes place over the span of about a week. The main character, Emily, begins to experience some odd, unexplainable changes each night. As the days go on, the changes get stronger. Turns out she’s a girl who can transform into a warewolf.

Just when these changes begin, another Emily is murdered. Days after, there’s an attempted murder of a classmate of the two Emily’s. Emily (the one who is alive) tries figure out if the changes she is going through have a possible connection to the murder and attempted murder.

So, here’s the problem I have: Essentially, this novel is an obvious set up to a series. We’re introduced to the main character, get her backstory, and also get a brief introduction to other characters who will presumably play a role in future books. We’re given the “who” of the story and a bit of the “what”, but none of the “why”.

As a reader, I felt cheated. I’m all for an author creating a series, but the story within each book should be strong enough to stand on its own. This book left a lot of unanswered questions that should have been addressed.

Really Thin Plot

Besides setting the story for future books, there was a very weak plot throughout the story.

Typically, when a character is trying to solve a murder mystery, there’s an intricate game of cat and mouse involved. In this story, Emily and the murderer kept bumping into each other. There’s wasn’t a whole lot of suspense when these two came face-to-face. In fact, the final showdown between the two was incredibly anti-climatic.

If Anyone Should Have Been Murdered, It Should Have Been Megan

After reading this book, I came to realize how much I appreciate it when a novelist gives the main character someone who is on his/her side—someone the main character can confide in and trust. In this book, Emily’s best friend was, honestly, a total bitch. This girl was bitter and the meanest best friend a warewolf could have. Throughout the book, I was hoping Megan would be the next one killed or Emily would accidently claw her to shreds when she changed into a warewolf. No such luck.

The presence of a best friend who seemed more like an antagonist made the book that much less enjoyable to read.

Some relief did come when Megan seemed to disappear from the story for awhile when Emily was preocciped with other things. However, she appeared in the final chapter to throw one last tantrum.

Overall, I Have To Say…

I can understand an author having an expansive vision for a story that couldn’t possibly fit into one book. The thing is, there are better ways to begin the series—to introduce the main character and her situation while still offering a complete story. I think of a series like Vampire Academy. Not only did each novel have it’s own strong plot, but there was enough of a foundation built from book to book that you were left really wanting to follow the characters into their next experience. I don’t feel the same way with Vesper. I’m left feeling like I will have to read another book to get answers to questions left over from the first. That doesn’t work for me.

Buy the book on Amazon.

Check out Jeff Sampson’s Web site.

Have You Read This Book?

Let me know what you thought of it.

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  • Redhead Heroines

    Just found your blog through a Twitter link!
    Thanks so much for posting this review. I also read this and felt exactly like you did. The novel was just sloppy overall and it felt like a 300 page prologue to another book where the REAL action happens.