The Kensei: A Lawson Vampire Novel [Book Review]

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There is one rule that no vampire may break or it’s dead to me. Alright, for the most part they’re already dead, so let’s say I will not acknowledge it’s undead existence if it breaks this rule. What’s the rule? Vampires. Do. Not. Sparkle. That’s the only thing I absolutely demand in my vampire fiction. I can go along with all sorts of alterations to traditional vampire lore like having them walk in the sun, or eat food, or enjoy a bit of garlic on their pasta, but no sparkling. I’m happy to say that Lawson does not sparkle and, in fact, is now on my list of favorite vampires.

Although there is a huge amount of vampire fiction available, thanks in large part to the success of Twilight and their damned sparkly vampires, much of it is just the same story with the names and places changed. Take one-part angst ridden vampire, add one human drawn into the world of the supernatural, a dash of danger and a hint of sexual tension, voila, vampire novel. What I really liked about Lawson is that from the beginning he’s just this guy trying to take a vacation and get away from the pressures of the real world. Sure, he’s a vampire, but the story begins with him on a train in Japan after a very long, tiring flight just trying to get to his hotel. He’s looking to relax, but that would be a boring story so poor Lawson is immediately thrown into a situation that lets him do what he does best, kick-butt and try to save the human race.

In the world that Jon F. Merz has created, vampires are an off-shoot of humans and it is Lawson’s job to keep his fellow vampires in check. While on a much needed vacation in Japan to study Ninjutsu, he is pulled into a plot involving organ-trafficking and a sword-wielding baddie called the Kensei. Of course, he has to stop the Kensei’s evil plans and this involves much supernatural excitement and no small number of ninjas. Ninjas and vampires. And swords. Yeah, this one was pretty much guaranteed to be a fun ride. The story is part supernatural fiction and part spy-thriller as Lawson, with the help of a former KGB assassin, makes his way through the seedy underworld of Japanese society to find the Kensei.

Although The Kensei is the fifth in this series, it was written to be a stand-alone book and as a first-time reader I had no problem following the back story. The first four books are available as e-book downloads and a sixth book in the series is slated for next year. If you’re a fan of vampires, especially the wise-cracking, narrowly saving his own skin variety, I recommend you go get yourself a copy of The Kensei: A Lawson Vampire Novel.

This article was reprinted from Total Fan Girl, a blog written by Nicole Wakelin.

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