A People's History of the Vampire Uprising isn’t your typical vampire-themed novel — Raymond A. Villareal’s debut novel questions human morality, civil rights, and whether vampires are indeed an evolution of the human race and deserve to be treated as such, or if they are virus-infected mutants who must be stopped.
The novel is presented in the form of a case file, featuring an array of perspectives, including a researcher who is trying to find a way to reverse the virus, a priest, a FBI agent, a political campaign expert who is trying to get a Gloaming (a vampire) into office and a few other interweaving views. Witnessing the uprising from varied viewpoints allows readers to see different angles.
The society Villareal presents is an intriguing one. vampires deem the term ‘vampire’ as offensive so they’re referred to as Gloamings. Their initial entry into humanity sees them attempt to assimilate into everyday life. At first, they argue that becoming a Gloaming (even though it’s self-inflicted) is a disability. They also protest (at night, of course) for businesses to stay open late, universities to run night classes and workplaces to allow workers to continue their jobs at night. Unlike previous vampire-related books I’ve read, a brilliant concept within the book is how Villareal presents vampires outside of their clichéd contexts and showcases how society (for both humans and Gloamings) is impacted on a political level when a new group emerges. The goodwill of humans is put to the test when Gloamings resort to their natural instinct — to kill humans for blood. The Gloamings in the book take their aspirations even higher, with plans of eradicating the sun to testing whether Gloamings can use IVF to have children.
At first, I struggled to find myself invested in the story. But once I was introduced to the Gloamings, as well as the societal challenges their existence presented for the human race, I was completely invested and couldn’t put the book down. I found myself less appealed to the more thrilling parts, and instead invested in the social assimilation of Gloamings in a world dominated by humans. Throughout the book’s entirety, I couldn’t help but contemplate and draw parallels to how the human vs. Gloaming debates connected to other issues relating to marginalised groups in today’s world. I also found myself envisioning the book as a film or TV series, which I think would work perfectly for the story.
If you’re looking for a vampire-themed novel with a twist, then A People's History of the Vampire Uprising might just be what you’re looking for. The novel takes readers outside the boundaries of science-fiction and into a crossover genre that invites introspective discussion and deep questioning on topics relating to morality and ethics.
Release date: May 29th 2018 by Hachette Australia
(I received a review copy of this book from Hachette Australia in exchange for an honest review)