“Samantha Watkins: Chronicles of an Extraordinary Ordinary Life (Samantha Watkins #1)” by Aurélie Venem, translated by S.E. Battis

samantha-watkinsThis is a strange little book. In theory, I ought not to have enjoyed it, yet in practice, it made me smile, kept me listening and made me want to seek out the next book in the series.

“Samantha Watkins” is a cute, wish fulfilment, ordinary-human-meets-vampire-and-becomes-extraordinary book with a surprisingly large amount of down-played violence and sexual tension of the “Oh my! He’s holding my hand and I’m blushing” type. Think Nancy Drew as a vampire’s assistant, then ask yourself why a woman in her late twenties is acting like an inexperienced teenager.

The book was originally written in French. I listened to the English translation which is peppered with of small but annoying errors in tense, endings and idioms.

The book does nothing new with the vampire trope. The “good” vampires are pompous and seem not to have mastered modern English. The “bad” vampires threaten evil things but their actions would never put a PG rating at risk. In fact, it’s the “good” vampires who do all the torturing and ripping off of body parts.

The heroine, Samantha, is the cliché of the twenty-something virgin librarian who blushes easily and often but goes on to become a badass warrior who takes on biker gangs and shoots and stabs vampires. Samantha seems to be willfully innocent and so naive I was left wondering what Convent she’d spent her first two decades in.

So why did I enjoy this book?

Because it carried me along with the strength of its own enthusiasm, energy and irrepressible quirkiness and because Amy McFadden injected such a sense of fun into her narration.

Samantha is odd, outside the context of a Scooby Doo cartoon, but she is likeable and completely without malice. Once I switched off my critical brain and allowed myself to be entertained by this tall tale, it turned out to be a lot of fun.

It has a semi-cliff-hanger ending that made me want to reach for the next book in the series (there are four so far) but, sadly, it has not yet been translated into English.

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3 thoughts on ““Samantha Watkins: Chronicles of an Extraordinary Ordinary Life (Samantha Watkins #1)” by Aurélie Venem, translated by S.E. Battis

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