I didn't look a day over sixteen, yet - if someone had calculated - on that particular day I'd officially turned 592.....
Straightaway Rebecca Maizel's 'Infinite Days' seductively grabs the reader pulling them into a story where obviously the main feature is vampires. However what I really enjoyed about this novel is that Maizel never tries to portray the main character Lenah as a good vampire. She's not. And that's the whole point. Lenah was one of the most bloodthirsty, one of the eldest, vampires in vampire history. However she changed. Back into a human. I really liked Maizel's subtle suggestion that humans are better than vampires. Or at least have the potential to be. Basically it was so nice to read a novel where being a vampire isn't romanticised and the whole plot doesn't revolve around how these particular vampires are better than others (Ahem Twilight). Although the main story does follow Lenah's 'transformation' it was more about Lenah getting back to her human roots and really 'rehabilitating' herself as a human girl. However Maizel never lets Lenah forget her past, things don't magically change, Lenah doesn't magically forget the thousands of people she's killed. She can't shed that just because she's become a human.
However just so I don't shoot myself in the foot if you do come to read the novel. Maizel does have vampires that are nicer, well nicer is the wrong word - more humane springs to mind, than the average vampire. But these characteristics only tend to show when these vampires are interacting with Lenah as a human. Other humans are still definitely on the menu.
Ever the typical female heroine, main character Lenah is strong, confident and determined. However this is because she has kept hold of her characteristics from when she was vampire Queen Lenah. She's used to kicking ass and she'll keep doing so, even as a human. However Maizel slowly strips back Lenah's character exposing the unsure, shy, guilty girl underneath. Lenah's past haunts her and for me, this was a major theme throughout the novel, as Lenah attempted to override all her fading vampire instincts and try to fall back into her human roots. There were times the reader could feel a little exasperated with her incompetency and ignorance in certain normal social American high school occasions. But Maizel keeps emphasising Lenah's nervousness and confusion in these situations and really makes you empathise with her through some powerful well scripted personal narrative. Although Lenah's transformation back into a human results in her losing the one person she cared about, Rhodes, she vows to make the most of his final gift to her and truly experience and regain her humanity.
'You were Rhode's brightest day'.
He created the monster that Lenah became by being the one responsible for turning her. He now regrets it having borne witness to her spiralling descent into madness and depravity and cruelty. He watches her change from the innocent country farm girl into a seasoned killing machine, and decides to fix his mess. He performs an ancient ritual which results in him sacrificing himself in order to give Lenah a chance to be human. Rhodes doesn't feature a great amount in this novel but in the flashbacks Maziel creates to give Lenah's character depth the reader grows fond of this one person they only see in the past, who wasn't afraid to tell Lenah that she was going insane, going crazy through her acts of cruelty. They recognise Rhodes as both her salvation but also her doom.
Justin (& Vicken)
The new love interest of Lenah, Justin's the typical popular rich American teenager who falls for the new cute girl. Maizel does manage, however, to develop his character and give him some depth creating a sensitive lad scared of rejection, and very worried as, for the first time in his slightly spoilt life, he's experiencing falling in love. What I found quite interesting with the love aspect of this novel was that Maizel didn't allow Lenah to fall completely and utterly for one person, Maizel developed three separate love tangents, Rhode, Justin and Vicken (who doesn't feature much till the end but is present in various flashbacks - he's basically a sexy dangerous vampire replacement to Rhode for Lenah). Lenah loves them all on different levels and Maizel really exploits this and creates an intricate love net, which I loved following!
To Conclude: Infinite Days was a very enjoyable read which brought a bit of fresh breath to the omnipresent vampire genre that constitutes a huge percentage of YA novels today. The plot follows Lenah as she tries to shed her life as a vampire and become a human girl again and I really liked it! Maizel has a lyrical way of writing and she painted amazing images and was very vocal with her details and descriptions which made the novel very beautiful even when it dealt with blood and death.
I will give Infinite Days a deserved 4 stars and it can be purchased, recommended!, from Amazon.co.uk for £4.99 and is worth it, especially as it has a very juicy yummy second half! It is published by MacMillan Children's Books.
En Bon Lu!