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Review: Drink, Slay, Love by Sarah Beth Durst

Drink, Slay, Love
by Sarah Beth Durst

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Release Date: September 13, 2011

Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry
Source: Simon & Schuster e-galley Grab
Purchase: Book Depo. | Amazon | Kindle
About the Book:

Pearl is a sixteen-year-old vampire... fond of blood, allergic to sunlight, and mostly evil... until the night a sparkly unicorn stabs her through the heart with his horn. Oops.

Her family thinks she was attacked by a vampire hunter (because, obviously, unicorns don't exist), and they're shocked she survived. They're even more shocked when Pearl discovers she can now withstand the sun. But they quickly find a way to make use of her new talent. The Vampire King of New England has chosen Pearl's family to host his feast. If Pearl enrolls in high school, she can make lots of human friends and lure them to the King's feast -- as the entrees.

The only problem? Pearl's starting to feel the twinges of a conscience. How can she serve up her new friends—especially the cute guy who makes her fangs ache—to be slaughtered? Then again, she's definitely dead if she lets down her family. What's a sunlight-loving vamp to do?
It seems it's just one amazing vampire novel after another after another! Drink, Slay, Love is like every other vampire book out there, but retains some elements that sets it totally apart, makes it absolutely unique! It's drenched in the paranormal, full of angst, but what makes me like it so much is the fact that it contains so much humor and NEGATIVE instaluv. It's entertaining, the MC is just... awesome and great to read about, and the issue logical and nerve-wracking. I couldn't have asked for better with this book!

Pearl has got to be one of my favorite FMCs (Female Main Characters), as she's bold, daring, with a confidence that shoots through the roof. She's arrogant, and rightly so, considering that she is an evil, bloodsucking fiend with no conscience. In other words, she thinks she's the sh** and it makes sense. Something I noticed other vampire books fail to do is give bad vampires more depth and explain their profound arrogance. I mean, if you knew you could snap a human's neck like a twig and take on just about any vampire in one-to-one combat, what's there for you to be afraid of? Very, very little, as Pearl clearly demonstrates. That's why the book gets to be so funny--when Pearl goes to human school for the first time, they're all beneath her, she knows she's superior, and it makes her look like such a bad-ass. She's the embodiment of what I wish I had the courage to be sometimes. Her attitude and wit make for a super entertaining telling and I could not stop turning the *digital* pages. There's no whining on her part, no Too Stupid to Live moments, because Pearl is upfront, blunt, and, eventually, good-hearted. She's what I expect heroines from paranormal books to be like.

But Pearl isn't the only character that manages to steal the show, at least for me. Her romantic interest, Evan, is dangerously close to making his way onto my Top Ten Amazing Men list! Another wonderful thing about Drink, Slay, Love is that Durst says ixnay to love triangles. YES, finally! Even though Pearl has a boyfriend, Jadrien, who I did find to be hilariously cocky, she's in no way in love with him. Mostly because he's also a bloodsucking fiend with no heartbeat and no soul. But, Evan comes along, with his heroic complex, which he entirely admits to harboring, and easy-going demeanor and Pearl DOES NOT FALL AT HIS FEET. It was incredible, watching their tentative friendship grow and grow and grow with a promise for more. I also loved Bethany, Pearl's newfound bff--nerdy, cute, and endearing, Bethany makes for a fantastic friend and a fun side-character to read about. Better, there's a wide-ranging cast of awesomeness that extends beyond just Pearl, Bethany, and Evan, to my utter delight.

Now, any vampire book would NOT be complete without a dangerous plot, and Pearl's Family and the vampire King of New England instill just the right amount of fear and anxiety to edge the book with an addictiveness that fueled my incessant and hasty reading of it. Because Pearl's Family are all bad vampires, they don't care for each other the way a typical, functional family would. There's no love, and they would turn on Pearl in a heartbeat. It was scary and I found myself perilously close to biting my nails when Pearl started to near discovery. The anxiety thickened as the book progressed and, with Evan and Pearl falling for each other, I began rooting for the vampires' defeat more and more. Trust me when I say, you won't be bored. And the unicorn twist! Oh, wow!

And what a perfect, magnificent ending that I hope will lead to future books! I actually want this to become a series (so long as Evan and Pearl do not split up). I want the protags to accomplish their overall goal for the existence of vampires, I want to see Evan and Pearl really admit their feelings to one another, and bond some more with the other characters. And, I want to see Pearl start whooping some more ass. Did I forget to mention that there's a decent dosage of action-y fight scenes?

Drink, Slay, Love knocked my socks off and makes me want to put on another pair so that it can do it again. It's fun, unique, and incorporates everything a PR book should have. I hope Durst has plans to dish out more of Pearl's story, and soon!


"...We aren't the sorts to normally kidnap innocent girls." 
"Just tell the police not to tell my dad, okay?" Chubby said.
"'Kidnap' is a harsh word," Tall said. "I prefer 'protective custody.' Really, when you think about it, we were protecting you. Or protecting someone from you, which is almost the same. Except for how it's totally not."
"He's had a rough time at work," Chubby said. Bracing himself, he dragged the cage door open. It shrieked and whined. "Recession. He can't take this right now. Last Tuesday he flipped about late garbage pickup. Tears, screaming, snot flying out of his nose all over the wall until it looked like a Jackson Pollock painting. Not a pretty sight."
Pearl felt the sun on her face. It felt like a warm breath.

"Finally, an insight. Welcome to my class, Ms. Sange. I pray that you leave here smarter than you enter and that your classmates do not leach intelligence out of you by their proximity."
She glanced around the class. That was a distinct worry. Still... "They'd be smarter if you hadn't terrified them into silence." She couldn't comprehend how he had done it. His flabby arms couldn't throw a punch. She could evade him with her eyes squeezed shut and one leg tied back so she had to hop like a flamenco, which she had tried once in training. Results had not been pretty.
He arched his bushy eyebrows. "Here for less than a class, and you have analyzed the full dynamics already."
"Pretty much."
"Yet you don't seem to be terrified into silence."
Pearl shrugged. "That's because I know I'm superior to you."

"Little brother said you were pretty. You'd better not mess with his head. He's too nice for his own good."
Pearl picked her words carefully. "I'm not planning to hurt him." It was disturbing how true that was. She didn't want to pierce that lovely skin or see the light fade from his luminous eyes.
"Good," Lizzie said. "Don't. He always looks for the good in everyone. It's a strength and a weakness. If I hear you're taking advantage of him..."
Bethany yelped. "Lizzie! She just left home. She needs our help, not threats."
Lizzie snorted again.
"So... he thinks I'm pretty," Pearl said.
"Beautiful, actually."
That cheered her up a little. "Good to know he has taste."