Uprising: Vampire Federation by Scott G Mariani

For millennia, the vampires walked the earth undetected, feasting on humans in keeping with ancient tradition. In the Information Age, vampires realised they must be more careful to avoid detection. In the late 20th century they created the global Vampire Federation to police vampire activity, with special agents like Alex Bishop authorised to hunt down her own kind who break the laws. The old traditions are history. But not all vampires bow down to Federation rule. When rebel vampire Gabriel Stone declares war against them, Alex and her team are plunged into danger. Police inspector Joel Solomon, haunted by a secret terror of vampires, discovers a series of corpses left behind by Stone’s bloodthirsty gang. As he and Alex are drawn together in an unlikely alliance between human and vampire, the race begins to destroy the evil Stone before his uprising tears their world apart.

I am a bit of a fan of Scott Mariani’s work.  I’ve been with him since he wrote the first Ben Hope novel and was constantly emailing his poor publicist to find out when the next one was due.  So when I heard he was writing a novel about vampires I was a bit taken aback but to be honest, I figured that as it’s Scott writing it, I’ll give it a whirl and see how it goes. Like most everyone in the world, I’ve had my fill of vampires, be they sparkly or not, but I was understandably anxious.

I need not have been.  Uprising: Vampire Federation by Scott Mariani is a doddle to read.  Incredibly fast paced, this urban fantasy thriller sharply and smartly gives us the back story and then keeps us running to keep up with Alex and Joel’s adventures as they unravel the story behind the rogue vampire Gabriel’s machinations.

I always find myself pondering an author’s style of writing whilst I’m reading and after finishing a book.  I know how Mr. Mariani’s voice sounds for his Ben Hope books, I know the tone and style so well.  In Uprising, he’s showing off a newly acquired skill, or one he has been developing sneakily without me being aware, and it is that of budding screenwriter.  Uprising reads like a movie.  The scenes are vivid, with a lot of show not tell going on.  The author forces you to push yourself, to make deductions for yourself.  He knows his audience, he knows that those who will pick it up to read will be on the same page as him.  There is nothing out of the ordinary in this, but it makes a lovely change as the editors clearly let him have his way.  As readers we aren’t mollycoddled and teased along.  We are treated as being clued in and it makes for a strangely intimate read.

As I said, the pace is swift but the writing is intense and deep.  Joel is likeable as the detective and I’m still a bit ambivalent about Alex.  I liked her but…she did not appeal to me very much.  But then, I’m not meant to like her because she is a completely alien creature to me and so we aren’t meant to see eye to eye.  Besides, I somehow always find myself preferring Mariani’s leading men who are very much can-d0 characters and unapologetic about their prowess.

Strong writing and clever plotting lifts Uprising from the mundane.  There are however a few niggles and shortcuts he employs to get his world the way he wants it to be and to make things happen and move the story forward.

To be fair, these niggles are personal and should not detract from the reading of Uprising.  In fact, I’ve read it through from cover to cover and then partly again, re-reading favourite sections I’ve marked up in the manuscript.  And oh, don’t forget the tooling up.  I am a big old fan of tooling up and weaponry and Uprising has a lot of that.  A lot.  It made me happy.

Another thing about Uprising is the fact that it is set in and around London, using locations many of us would know.  It makes such a refreshing change reading an urban fantasy set in the city I live and work in.  Yes, it may be mundane for those of us who live here, but there is a sense of differentness about London that he uses so well when writing that it makes you want to double check those shadows you pass by on the way to the underground.

I’m not fond of comparing novels, it’s not something I like doing but if you are an urban fantasy fan and like things like the Sookie Stackhouse books, the Blade graphic novels and Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden books, give Uprising a try.  You may be pleasantly surprised. 

Also, again: no sparkles here.

Find Scott Mariani’s website here.

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