book review, fantasy, horror

The Van Helsing Paradox by Evelyn Chartres

Ahoy hoy, chaps and gals. Time for a trip to the roaring twenties for some fun hunting monsters. It’s going to be ducky!

Clara learns at a young age that there are monsters that prey on the living. After encountering a vampire, she gets sent to The Tower, a secret organization run by the Catholic Church, which trains men and women to hunt vampires and other creatures of the night.

Each chapter covers a different year in Clara’s life, as she grows from feisty young girl into an accomplished monster killer. Magic and old gods mix in a tale that includes real historical events, such as World War I, and takes place in various locales.

There is a lot to like about this book. The Terminus, which houses The Tower’s headquarters, is extremely imaginative. Details about the creatures that are hunted are interesting. I liked the depictions of the nuns and priests. Clara is a strong minded, determined individual who uses her intelligence and sense of mischief to survive.

Unfortunately, I found the method by which this tale was told to be lacking. There is too much telling in the narrative, and I found it distanced me from the characters. Some of the turns of phrase were decidedly odd, and there were passages throughout the book that seemed to refer to parts that had been cut out.

For a supposedly religious run organization, the narrative was surprisingly lacking in a spiritual dimension. I was also put off by Clara repeatedly using sex to lure vampires, as these scenes struck me more as attempts to titivate rather than explore the link between vampires and sex.

The author has a great imagination and has created an intriguing world that I would love to know better. Unfortunately, I found this book ultimately unsatisfying as it didn’t provide the depth of insight into the characters and scenes that I longed for.

I award The Van Helsing Paradox

The Van Helsing Paradox is available for free as an ebook and $6.28 print book on Amazon.

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