Title: Vlad: A Novel
Plot Type: Darkly Humorous Horror
Ratings: V4; S4; H3
Publisher: Dalkey Archive Press (2012)
> Anna sees trout lilies blooming and thinks about eating them, but the story takes place in August, and trout lilies bloom only in early spring. This is a common wildflower, so I didn't even have to google it for a fact check. Problem: Harper failed to do her research.
> Anna rubs her wasp stings with jewelweed blossoms to soothe them and then smells so good that Finn comments on it. But you don't use the jewelweed blossoms to treat stings and rashes; you use the leaves and stems—so no sweet smell. Problem: Harper failed to do her research.
> For years, Anna has been on a complicated regimen of heavy-duty anxiety drugs, but her pills are left behind when the plane crashes. Somehow, she manages to quit her medication cold-turkey with absolutely no withdrawal symptoms, which is an impossibility. Problem: Harper failed to do her research.
> In one scene, a group of shifters passes very near Finn and Anna and comment that they have been "wandering in the damn woods, up to our asses in deer ticks," but Finn and Anna never encounter a single tick. Problem: Harper ignores reality, but then calls attention to her error in the text.
> Anna has an encyclopedic knowledge about the poisonous snakes, spiders, and plant life in the Kentucky wilderness, but she and Finn never encounter any insects at all—except for one wasp nest that Anna uses as a weapon. And no poison ivy. Problem: It is highly unlikely that Anna never gets bitten by a mosquito, a tick, a snake, or a spider, or that she never came in contact with poison ivy.
> In the aftermath of the inevitable showdown scene at the end of the story, Anna watches Finn escape from being tied up ("I could see Finn wriggling out of his restraints."), but then a few pages later, she is shocked to see him unbound ("How did you get loose?"). Short memory, Anna? Also, Finn is gagged with "a bandanna knotted around his mouth," but even with his mouthed stuffed full of cloth, he manages to toss off some sarcastic remarks. Problem: Harper (and/or her editor) did not do a proper continuity read-through
> Because Finn is a vampire, he and Anna do most of their traveling through the woods during the nighttime hours, but Anna always seems to be able to see where she is going. Have you ever been in the woods at night, Molly Harper? Even when the moon is full, the trees block the light. It is so dark that you can't see your hand in front of your face, and certainly not the ground under your feet. Problem: Harper ignored the reality of the lack of light in a forest at night.If you have enjoyed previous books in this series, you'll probably like this one, but be prepared to suspend disbelief even more than usual.
1. To get some insights into Ophelia's character, which until now has been portrayed in a rather one-dimensional manner.
2. To find out what's going on in a mysterious subplot in which someone pretending to be Jane commands Ophelia to turn over a list of all of her local vampire contacts—all of whom are on the shady side of vampire/human law—to Tina, the human residence hall director.
3. To read the introduction to the next novel. At the end of "Big Vamp on Campus," the publisher includes a long excerpt from The Accidental Sire so you will be able to see exactly how that novel expands forward from the final events of the novella.