Even though the premise originally made me roll my eyes, I can’t completely scorn The Vampire Stalker by Allison Van Diepen. After all, the story is something most young girls and women can empathize with, including me. The protagonist of the novel, Amy, has fallen in love with a fictional character, a vampire hunter named Alexander Banks from the popular, fictional Otherworld trilogy. She writes fanfiction for the series and uses “MrsAlexanderBanks8021” as her instant messaging screen name. Even worse, after she buys the second book in the trilogy following hours waiting in line, she rushes home for her “date with Alexander Banks”.
A few days later, Amy is attacked by a thug on her way home from a school dance and a tall man in a trench coat saves her. Of course, this man is none other than Alexander Banks, the vampire stalker himself. According to Ms. P, a public school librarian who moonlights as a physicist, a portal between the dimensions of Otherworld and modern day Chicago has opened, and Alex has fallen through. Unfortunately, his arch enemy – the infamous vampire Vigo Skaar – has entered Amy’s world as well.
Now, I’d be a complete liar if I said I’ve never obsessed over a fictional character, or that I’d never claimed to have fallen in love with one like Amy has, but admitting to these feelings and reading a novel about them are quite different things. This novel felt like a glorification of teenage escapism, and honestly I felt embarrassed for Amy as I was reading. Although the danger of a vampire terrorizing modern Chicago is supposed to add tension and conflict, the attempt falls flat. Even when people are killed, it feels glossed over. In the end, Amy proves that being obsessed with a fictional character has no negative consequences, and even when four people die, everyone (important) lives happily ever after.
Alexander Banks doesn’t make the book much better. This book might’ve caught my attention if Alex were more interesting, but he’s every male character stereotype combined into one person. He’s “tall, dark, and brooding”, speaks with an old English accent, and is distant and single-minded. He even turns to revenge after his whole family is slaughtered by vampires… if Sasuke Uchiha from Naruto and Edward Cullen from Twilight had a baby, Alexander Banks would be it. Alex never evolves; he’s just as two-dimensional at the end as he was at the beginning, and I can’t bring myself to root for him.
If the characters in The Vampire Stalker had actual depth, this would’ve been a very refreshing and entertaining read. Diepen spends a decent amount of time providing explanations for the crossing dimensions plotline that are actually plausible, which I appreciate, but the characters themselves are too ridiculous to make it work. Would I trade places with Amy in a minute and insert my own generic male heartthrob? Heck yes, but a novel that reads like a Mary-Sue fanfiction is never a good thing. I like guilty pleasures as much as the next girl, but The Vampire Stalker can’t overcome its lack of character development.
Sydnee is a freshman at Wayne State University pursuing a degree in Journalism. She is obsessed with hunky heroes, explosions, melodrama, and magic—all things that make a frequent appearance in her stories. Her blog is http://syd-dreams.blogspot.com. Find her on Figment at http://figment.com/users/62-Sydnee-Thompson.