Stargazer – review (magical fiction)

If you like vampire novels which actually question preconceptions and push the boundaries rather than simply regurgitate the standard formula, then you will love Stargazer. As I read through the story, it brought a number of other works to mind, but in a comparative manner as I noticed similarities in richness of language or challenging the genre. Thus on one level Stargazer made me think of Colin Wilson’s Space Vampires and A.E. Van Vogt’s Supermind as all being works which bring innovation and then twist it on its head in places to spin the plot into dark and unexpected complexities. On another level Connor has captured the atmospheric detail found in classic vampire masterpieces like Freda Warrington’s Taste of Blood Wine series, and the hero-antihero angst of the lead characters found in Brian Lumley’s Necroscope series.

However, to the details of the book itself – it is a book which moves at a good speed throughout, with no lapses in pace or excitement, and yet still manages to reach a breakneck climax. Miguel Connor has created a new vampire antihero in Byron who goes beyond the ‘vampire with a soul’ characters found in contemporary television series. Instead Byron is the best of antiheroes – with a huge capacity for selfless action and a dark past which lurks like an iceberg through the book, slowly surfacing until his collision with the powers that be in the climax.

The idea of a post-apocalyptic world created by vampires, now calling themselves stargazers, is indicative of the intelligent use of the genre the author has demonstrated, with layers of symbolism throughout the work awaiting discovery by those interested in spirituality and Gnostic symbolism. This is definitely a must-read book which stands out as one of the best vampire novels I have yet read, and I am eagerly awaiting the sequel, Heretic.

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