The following is a review of unpublished author Emma Cooper’s novel entitled, ‘Constance’. Emma has asked me to read her book critically and post my thoughts on this blog to aid her bid to get an agent. Please see her website http://cooper.aegauthorblogs.com/ or follow her on twitter @Constancebooks for more info and updates!
‘Constance’ is a novel that harks back to vampire fiction before the days of Twilight. It is not a romantic novel, but a lust for dominance and revenge. It is a dark tale, suited to both a YA and adult audience, and follows the story of Constance, a dark and vengeful vampire, in her bid to rule.
The most striking thing about this novel is its voice. It is narrated by Constance, the protagonist, and her language is a fusion of modern and ninetieth century speech and phrase. At first, the voice is so unusual that it throws the reader slightly. It reminded me of reading Peter Ackroyd’s ‘Hawksmoor’, told in both a modern voice in present day, and one during the black plague. It takes a few pages to settle into the unusual style, but Emma Cooper certainly makes it worth the reader’s while. If language of this kind was used for any other character than Constance, I’m not sure it would work.
When I was trying to explain the novel to my partner in a line, I said: ‘it’s like reading Harry Potter from Voldemort’s point of view’. Ok, so this book is more vampire than wizard, but the concept of absolute power is still the same in both instances. The reader is escorted into the twisted mind of Constance, and is allowed to identify with her in a way that I found most enjoyable. I found myself both feeling sorry for Constance and willing her evil plans to succeed, whilst also being fully aware that she is, in traditional terms, the bad guy. It is a balance that the author gets just right.
The most important thing to say about reading this novel however, is that I didn’t get bored. No sooner had one dramatic incident finished, that an inner turmoil started. ‘Constance’ is a book that I would classify as worth a read perhaps not on its literary descriptions, but on its interesting voice, character and storytelling.
It’s nice to see that the vampire novel has not gone totally soft. I always do enjoy a dark read, and ‘Constance’ gets it just about right.
Good luck in your bid to be published, Emma! I hope someone out there sees its potential.