Reviews and Recommendations by Mel Odom, Professional Writer

CARPATHIA by Matt Forbeck

The plot is so good for this one that I wish I’d thought of it first. Imagine the Titanic sinking only to have part of the doomed passengers rescued by a ship filled with bloodthirsty vampires.

Cool, huh? Real movie potential.

Matt Forbeck is a good writer and world builder, and he’s learned how take a singular event in history and salt the mine with the stuff of great fiction. He’s contributed to a ton of role playing game franchises and sharpened his skills.

The book, Carpathia, is named for the ship filled with vampires. I really enjoyed Forbeck’s main three protagonists and the romance triangle going on between them. Usually I don’t like such things because there’s way too much angst going on, and I’m not in favor of people who can’t make up their minds about such things. However, this particular triangle is presented more in the way of how the friendships will be affected, which I thought was legitimate.

Forbeck delivers some good villains who have their own triangles and tiffs as well. I particularly liked the vampiress Elisabetta Ecsed and Brody, the blue-collar vampire, because they were every bit as violent and bloodthirsty as I like my vampires.

Overall, I really enjoyed the book and the sense of adventure, along with the homage to Bram Stoker’s original cast of characters. However, the overall mix of the story threw me off. The buildup to the wreck took quite a bit of time, and we all knew what was coming. Then, when the vampires arrived, things seemed to accelerate almost like a speeding bullet. I blazed through the pages at the end, but I caught myself having to go back to make certain of what I’d just read.

Forbeck does a good job of mixing in the Victorian world to readers. I got a good feel for the life and times of those people, but – again – that seemed to be lost in the final movements of the novel. This is a solid horror novel wedded to a tragic event that was pretty horrific all on its own.

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