The Fallen Vampire by Beata Blitz

The Fallen Vampire (Flux & Firmament: The Cloud Lords, Prequel Part #1)The Fallen Vampire by Beata Blitz
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Approached by the author with an offer to read this prequel for free in exchange for an honest review, I agreed because I was intrigued by the summary and cover art, and why not? The summary is well written, draws the potential reader in with the promise of an alluring story about a girl harrowed for her paranormal abilities, chased out of town and bore witness to a sky-bound battle between mysterious, inhuman creatures. Additionally, it’s apparent the author spent a decent sum to procure quality cover art.
Unfortunately, these two positive points were the only positives at all. I genuinely wanted this prequel to be a story of as much substance as the summary promised. Instead, what I discovered was an author who has a story in mind, but is weak in the practice of her craft. A short read, The Fallen Vampire opened and unfolded with an inordinate amount of exposition – so much so that perhaps three-quarters of the book is narrative explanation instead of painting a vivid picture through the eyes of the main character, Chloe. Blitz delivers passages like “Although birthday celebrations had been outlawed, the Commission considered them a minor transgression, so participants were generally spared the harsher punishments such as permanent mutilation. All the same, a caning was nothing to scoff at since the Office of Public Corrections tended to dispense justice with such a firm hand that offenders weren’t able to sit on their backsides for weeks,” in between sparse dialog and character interaction. There is never any clarification of people are not allowed to celebrate their birthdays, or why caning is a punishment for doing so.
Blitz does attempt a romantic motivation for Chloe’s fall from grace, but as with the rest of Chloe’s observable relationships, it’s shallow and underdeveloped at best, dragging on repetitively as the cliched impetus for Chloe’s increasing questionable choices. Nor does she bother to explain why Chloe’s use of her paranormal abilities merits such primitive superstitious, lethal consequences except to, again, have the narrator step in to give knowledge dumps about a New Faith brought about by the arrival of these mysterious Cloud Lords.
There does come the point in the text where Blitz finally allows the characters to carry out the plot, the narrative info dumps coming in shorter and shorter intervals. However, this leads to a plethora of ill-executed plot points that make little to no sense. When Chloe escapes and witnesses a battle between the mysterious Cloud Lords and an equally mysterious group called the Night Flyers, she somehow understands battle tactics and surmises the outcome without ever having studied such things (or, at least, Blitz never makes any mention of such studies in any of the numerous info dumps). When one of the Night Flyers falls out of the sky (presumably the eponymous Fallen Vampire), she inexplicably decides she’s going to run to where she saw him fall. I simply could not fathom why, if these people have so oppressed her mortal folks as to reduce them to near-primitive beliefs and subsistence, she gave a damn about the fate of one fallen warrior.
Once she finds him apparently dead, a duo of shapeshifting Cloud Lords discovers her in the forest. They question her to see if she knows anything, and all she can think about is how hunky and gorgeous they are. No fear, no malice, no awe – just poorly written teenage hormonal reaction. This reaction just doesn’t seem to be a very believable for someone in the presence of otherworldly beings who otherwise have no interaction with humans except for some dreaded yearly ritual known as Ascension where the humans become slaves to the Cloud Lords. These Cloud Lords also somehow manage to believe the weak lies she offers and take off into the night sky in search of their fallen foe. Once they’ve gone, Chloe leads Wayne back to the fallen Night Flyer and convinces him they need to drag this dead body to the nearby farmhouse where they’re taking refuge.
Later, during a shoot-out between Chloe, Wayne, and the sheriff’s men, Blitz indicates that Wayne has nailed all of the windows of the farmhouse shut with horseshoe nails, yet somehow Chloe shoots at the sheriff’s men through an open window. The gun fight is then interrupted by the mysterious and all too convenient appearance of the Governor’s troops who have superiority over the sheriff’s men. Strangely, these men agree to rescue Chloe and Wayne and take the fallen Night Flyer into their custody. The Captain of this troop is all too amiable up-front, telling Chloe to call him by his first name when they aren’t around the others although this is the first time they’ve met, and there’s no reason whatsoever to explain why this stranger should be so informal with her so soon. He then escorts her and Wayne to the General’s Jeep in which he’s taking them to the general. Once they start driving, the general mysteriously appears in the Jeep without any official introduction or even mention of his existence in the scene and makes a deal with her that is, like the interaction with the Captain, entirely too familiar and informal to be believable.
They eventually arrive, stopping for what Blitz notes as possibly the third time, explaining that they’ve had to stop at least twice before to remove obstacles from the road. What I couldn’t understand was why, if they had driven to the farmhouse on this road, why on the return they would still need to clear debris. During the drive, Chloe ruminates (something she frequently does as a way for Blitz to info dump) on her strange connection to the fallen Night Flyer. She suspects he is alive without any real proof to show for it. Blitz instead writes: “His stare had created a connection that made her feel like his life was in her hands,” yet nowhere in the earlier passage when Chloe originally finds this downed warrior does it say that the two locked eyes before his purported death.
I was also confused on why Blitz released this as a prequel before a later work that would establish these characters as someone whose earlier story needed to telling. I can only guess it was to deliver an unnecessarily over-generous knowledge dump that would entice people to buy the next book hoping it might be better with all that background “junk” out of the way.
Despite having said all this, I reiterate an earlier comment: there is a story here, it’s just lost under a mountain of weak writing. As a recommendation from one author to another, Blitz would do well to purchase a copy of Joyce Hardy’s Understanding Show, Don’t Tell: (And Really Getting It). In just the first few chapters of this handy resource, Blitz will hopefully understand where her writing is lacking and gain some knowledge on how to better hone her writing. As it is, readers wanting a story as well-written and engaging as her summary will not get what they expect. Too much tell, not enough show, unfortunately. Until Blitz can work all of those knowledge dumps into actionable sequences that consistently keep the reader fully engaged not with the history of why the main character is suffering travails, but with the character experiencing and overcoming the travails as they happen, I’m afraid discerning readers will take a pass on future endeavors.

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