Vampires. The mere mention of the word strikes fear in the hearts of millions… either that, or mockery. Sometimes both. Rising in popularity during the eighteenth century, the Vampire genre has changed and evolved in dramatic ways that its original creators most likely could never have foreseen. One of its newest incarnations is the “Twilight” book series, which for all intents and purposes has radically changed the image of Vampires in the eyes of America. Its success has launched a myriad of Vampire inspired books, television shows and movies.
Though the genre has exploded in popularity, its rise to fame may be on the slow decline. Publishers, citing a lack of original ideas, are beginning to back away from the blood suckers. For many, it appeared that their brief feeding frenzy was coming to an end.
Could someone breathe new life into the genre?
Poised to answer that question, I picked up a copy of one of Japan’s bestselling Vampire book series, recently brought to America in English for the first time.
The story, set over a thousand years after an event dubbed “Armageddon” nearly wiped out all life on Earth, follows the remnants of humanity as they huddle together in Europe to piece back together the civilization that they nearly destroyed. However, when a race of beings calling themselves the “Methuselah” emerge from the ashes of the charred world, a cold war breaks out between the two groups that threatens to repeat the mistakes of the past. Lead by the Vatican, civilization wages a political/militaristic war against the beings they have grown to call “Vampires”. With tensions high and the two nations on edge, the Vatican may hold the secret to securing a victory in the war: a vampire that preys on other vampires. As the world braces for the worst, can the mysterious priest stop the world from destroying each other all over again?
If I could only use one word to summarize my opinion on this book, it would unequivocally be epic. That is exactly what this book is in so many ways and more.
Filled with intriguing characters, numerous gripping plots, emotional character growth, a fast-paced storyline, and political espionage that will delight even the least interested, this is a Vampire book that has no trouble flaunting its ability to put so many others to shame.
Obviously, the idea of mixing the dystopian genre with Vampires is not a particularly unique one. Many books and films have tried to mix the two to varying triumph, but if I do say so myself, I believe “Trinity Blood” could quite possibly be the best example of the hybrid ever created. Its careful balance between the two genres is excellent.
Another praise-worthy aspect of this book is the way in which the author manages to balance the violence and emotions of its characters. Take my word, this book is violent. Vampires do not romance young girls, they fight and they fight ruthlessly with deadly sharp instincts. What this translates into is a series of gruesome murders that the mysterious priest ends up investigating and or becoming involved in. What’s remarkable is the choice that the author makes for the main character.
In so many stories such as these, morality and the value of life are disregarded at a whim for mindless violence. Cheap thrills and fast action replace emotional growth and thought-provoking dialogue. Sunayo Yoshida takes the road less traveled and successfully manages to create characters that readers will gravitate to and feel connected with as well as a world that although frightening is familiar.
If I had anything negative to say in the least, it would be that Tokyopop’s translation is rough at times and could have used a re-write in certain areas. However, even so, the story and talent shine through this book brightly enough that I can forgive what I consider as small oversights.
To conclude, “Trinity Blood” is a book series that is set to become an instant classic for Vampire fans. Choosing to concentrate on plot, character growth and gripping action, it demonstrates what good Vampire fiction should be: not sparkly.
Matthew Reeves is an aspiring novelist living in California. You can usually find him lost in thought on a walk or writing on Twitter as @MattReeves17.