Sunday, November 19, 2023

Review: The Great Vampiric Deception by Jolene Gettler

by Jolene Gettler
Release Date: November 16, 2023
2023 Stay Awkward Publishing 
Ebook Edition; 382 Pages
ISBN: 978-1738835638
Genre: Fiction / Romantic Fantasy / Urban Paranormal
Source: Review copy from author

3.75 / 5 Stars

Vampires exist. The use, abuse, and discard.

Victoria suffered unimaginable horrors and trauma from her four-year relationship with her vampire ex-boyfriend.  She was one of the lucky ones.

Years later, she enjoys a life of solitude and just wants to be left alone in her new mundane, uneventful life. Her quiet routine shatters to pieces when an unexpected guest joins her vampire victim support group, while an unknown danger stalks her from the shadows.

Who is stalking her? Are they connected to her past? Or did her newest member bring more than a century's worth of trauma into her life?
My Thoughts
The Great Vampiric Deception is not your typical vampire book, and that is precisely one of the reasons I enjoyed this book so much.  Vampires are not romanticized; in this book they are, for the most part, still relatively hidden from the human population, and those who do come across them are traumatized and abused, often for years, manipulated into doing a variety of things they do not wish to do. Personally, I prefer the dark, sleezier side of the vampire world than the romanticized one you see in Twilight, so this was much more to my liking. 

I really enjoyed the author's writing style and was immediately drawn into Victoria's world. I was honestly horrified at the things she suffered just in the Prologue and was honestly wondering what I was in for, considering the trigger warnings I was given before starting the book. For the most part, the author does not go into graphic detail about any of the abuse so a lot of it is left up to your imagination, and I have a lot of imagination so I don't know how Victoria managed to survive the four years she was with Lucas, her vampire boyfriend.  In order to cope with the trauma she experienced, she started a support group to have a safe environment to be able to discuss the traumas they suffered and to be able to cope with life after leaving the vampiric world. Despite the seriousness of the discussions, there was a lot of levity as well, and there were times I was openly chuckling when the group was trying to explain the difference between Interview With a Vampire or Twilight to one of the members who was somewhat clueless about the reality of vampire life.  These are the kinds of things that made this book really fun to read, and lightened the seriousness of the subjects/themes present in the book.

The characters were well drawn out and I loved, loved, loved Grayson the most. He was a vampire himself, having survived his own abusive relationship within the vampire world, and joined the suppor group for help having no where to turn for help. Victoria was vehemently against the idea as she is prejudiced again the vampire population in general, but is vetoed by the other members. We now have a this yang/yang effect between the two of them where Victoria is trying to figure out the Grayson's motives and she is trying to decide whether she can ever have a relationship again. The results let to some interesting consequences, one of which entirely broke my heart. It also let to some issues I had with the book.
I've been thinking about this for days, but there are some things in this book that bothered me. First of all, while I understood Victoria's trauma and the abuse she suffered, there were some things in here that really send the wrong message when it comes to manipulation and the start of manipulative behaviours in relationships. Questioning your partner over why they do certain things is not manipulative behaviour, especially if the other partner drops the subject and never brings it up again as they were just asking where the behaviour comes from.  Grayson is over 150 years old, did it never occur to Victoria the behaviour he was questioning was something women never did during his time period and he may not be familiar with it? Gosh, my husband and I are always questioning each other. If you are afraid to question you partner, that is emotional abuse. And my biggest beef, which led to the biggest consequence of all, Victoria unable to deal with her own emotions and behaviour, so she does what she does and IT IS JUSTIFIABLE BEHAVIOUR? Never, in my book.  It left such a bad taste in my mouth, it spoiled what was to that point, a 5-star read. Was the author trying to show how twisted thinking can be when a person does not deal with trauma? Hard to say, but I am hoping that is what it was.
The Great Vampiric Deception was  a well-written novel of the effects and consequences trauma can have on relationships and on life in general. I loved how she described Victoria's daily routine and how a new person can impact established safe routines on a person who is dealing with the after-effects of an abusive relationship.  While the author didn't go into graphic detail, there was enough to be able to understand how horrific Victoria's life was when she was with her vampire boyfriend. I thoroughly loved Grayson and the novel did make me think about the themes of abuse, relationships, and consequences.  I chose to take it from the viewpoint of someone who is having difficulty dealing with their trauma, and the consequences of that, although I am not quite sure if that is what the author intended.