33. Darkest Heart – Nancy A. Collins
It’s recently come to my attention that I still know every single sound in the movie Interview with the Vampire by heart. It was on HBO the other night, presumably in anticipation of that Vampire Chronicles TV series I’ve heard minimal amounts of things about and so I watched it for the first time in ages with Finny, and Peregrine, when Finny got tired of me telling him when a noise I didn’t like was about to come on – like when Louis first dies and when that one prostitute is making that snapping noise at Lestat, and there’s more…there’s always more. I believe the main reason I know it by heart is that I used to listen to it when it was on Pay per View and I couldn’t see it (scrambled), but the sound was perfect. Apparently that’s not what other people were “watching” on scrambled Pay per View but that’s fine.
Anyway, vampires have been of interest to me for a long time, and my mom found Darkest Heart at a library sale and got it for me. It turns out it’s the last in the Sonja Blue series, and I read it first. It did make a little bit of a difference. I wasn’t entirely invested in the character as a vampire who also happened to be a “badass vampire hunter,” perhaps I’ve been tainted by Blade. But I did see a certain familiar conflict between vampiricism and humanity (“Oh, Louis, Louis, still WHINING, Louis!” – best part of the whole movie, unexpectedly) and the plot and action were fast paced (Sonja is not as mopey as Louis, even though I’ve always loved Louis, [named one of my own characters after him – a broody, angry poet werewolf] Sonja is like the Slayer to Louis’ Neutral Milk Hotel) and made it clear that there’s a toothsome quality to the series. I’ve since read more Sonja Blue books and enjoyed them, but I haven’t stumbled across the first one just yet.
“Yes, please, tell me more about all those noises I don’t even understand in this movie.” – Peregrine
30. Ruined – Paula Morris
I definitely count Ruined as one of my favorite young adult books. It’s a New Orleans ghost story that provides some history and very helpful information about what the deal with the Krewes is instead of well-worn New Orleans tropes. Morris did not rely on the enchanting nature of the city or some of its people to propel her story and does not talk down to her audience or expect them to just go along with anything due to the inherent enchantment possibilities. Like I’ve said before, I love New Orleans, but it has some very, very well-worn tropes about how magical it is and a city cannot get by on those alone; especially not when some of the coolest places in the city have disappeared, been replaced by a suit store, and then there’s the card reader who constantly checks his phone – he is not projecting an air of mystery, my future cannot be found on the internet. And sometimes it seems like people under the influence of those tropes decide they don’t have to pay attention to traffic signals because they are going to Café Du Monde. Um, there’s a walk signal. Look for it. It’s where it is everywhere else in the US and yes, you do have to pay attention to it because I will not feel bad about running you over on my way to the street I park on. I don’t care if you’re different there.
Anyway, Ruined also helped me out with my goal of wandering through one of the cemeteries (the walking tours don’t usually comply with my schedule or goals while I’m there) in a manageable fashion. The Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 is right next to Commander’s Palace (a restaurant I will probably never eat at for a variety of reasons like poorness and an abhorrence of seafood) and the Garden District Book Shop. I’m really surprised that I didn’t notice the walled cemetery across the street the first time I went to New Orleans as a kid looking for signed Anne Rice novels. It’s a fine example of cemetery architecture and has a nice tomb for destitute orphan boys where people have offered action figures and I think that’s nice.
Duncan, as a ghost, does not have to obey traffic signals. She’s different everywhere.
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