A People's History of the Vampire Uprising

A People's History of the Vampire Uprising

Book - 2018
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Grand Central Pub
In this ambitious and wildly original debut--part social-political satire, part international mystery--a new virus turns people into something a bit more than human, upending society as we know it.

This panoramic fictional oral history begins with one small mystery: the body of a young woman found in an Arizona border town, presumed to be an illegal immigrant, disappears from the town morgue. To the young CDC investigator called in to consult with the local police, it's an impossibility that threatens her understanding of medicine.

Then, more bodies, dead from an inexplicable disease that solidified their blood, are brought to the morgue, only to also vanish. Soon, the U.S. government--and eventually biomedical researchers, disgruntled lawmakers, and even an insurgent faction of the Catholic Church--must come to terms with what they're too late to stop: an epidemic of vampirism that will sweep first the United States, and then the world.

With heightened strength and beauty and a stead diet of fresh blood, these changed people, or "Gloamings," rapidly rise to prominence in all aspects of modern society. Soon people are beginning to be "re-created," willingly accepting the risk of death if their bodies can't handle the transformation. As new communities of Gloamings arise, society is divided, and popular Gloaming sites come under threat from a secret terrorist organization. But when a charismatic and wealthy businessman, recently turned, runs for political office--well, all hell breaks loose.

Told from the perspective of key players, including a cynical FBI agent, an audacious campaign manager, and a war veteran turned nurse turned secret operative, A People's History of the Vampire Uprising is an exhilarating, genre-bending debut that is as addictive as the power it describes.

Baker & Taylor
A pandemic virus stemming from a bizarre blood-solidifying mystery sweeps through the world, transforming victims into beautiful vampire-like beings who rise to prominence in all aspects of society, before one runs for political office.

& Taylor

A pandemic virus stemming from a bizarre blood-solidifying mystery sweeps through the world, transforming victims into beautiful vampire-like beings who rise to prominence in all aspects of society, before one runs for political office. A first novel. 40,000 first printing.

Publisher: New York : Mulholland Books, Little, Brown & Company, 2018
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780316561686
Branch Call Number: Fiction Villareal
Characteristics: 422 pages ; 25 cm


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Oct 28, 2019

"The Gloaming personality--as far as it could be studied by experts--generally leaned towards narcissistic personality disorder or psychopathic tendencies...it became clear that the Gloamings, both men and women, shared certain tendencies: high IQ, contempt for others, cruelty to others, amoral, secretive, grandiose, and authoritarian. Unlike humans with similar traits, Gloamings did not have significant feelings of inferiority."

Mar 28, 2019

Raymond A. Villarreal’s freshman novel has an enticing look and title. Billing itself as an oral history of the emergence of vampires into modern society, Villarreal’s story gets off to a promising start as a rookie CDC doctor investigates mysterious goings on in Nogales, Arizona. On the surface, this novel possess a winning formula. It has elements of Max Brook’s World War Z, Guillermo del Toro’s The Strain, and Charlaine Harris’ Southern Vampire Mysteries. Unfortunately, it fails to fully execute or expand upon these ideas. Mr. Villarreal can be applauded for pursuing some interesting socio-political questions, yet even these are never fully realized due to the myriad directions his plot-lines attempt to travel.

I wanted this novel to work and I think that is one of the reasons it pains me so that it doesn’t. There are some great concepts which if executed well, could really have shined. Villarreal’s freshman work comes off as just that. His characters lack complete arcs, or fall into painfully poor tropes. The plot is so fractured and frayed that it becomes exhausting to follow. Elements like news articles, footnotes and appendices pull the reader out of the story instead of adding to it.
There is a subplot which follows a Jesuit Priest that could have been cut from the novel entirely. Mr. Villarreal’s writing of Father John Reilly comes off as ignorant of what an actual Jesuit is like, and falls into a tired Dan Brown-esque conspiracy. Late in the novel, when there is a major reveal regarding Father Reilly - I couldn’t bring myself to care. His story started out with promise like many of the others, but the character had been forced through so many poor plot devices - I gave up on him.
Hugo Zumthor is perhaps Mr. Villarreal’s greatest weakness in the novel. As the FBI agent in charge of the vampire (Gloaming as they prefer to be called) task force, Zumthor seems to fail his way to the top. The character’s over the top bravado and 80’s buddy cop one liners would be more at home in a satire piece than a purported oral history. For someone familiar with the manner in which actual law enforcement personnel conduct themselves, this character is mildly infuriating. I found myself rooting for the Gloamings to devour Agent Zumthor, instead he is saved time and again by the cavalry trope.
Exacerbating the flawed character writing is a plot arc which is less of an arc than a doomed EKG track. Mr. Villarreal unsuccessfully tries to juggle half a dozen plot-lines. Leaving questions unanswered and plot-lines unfulfilled can be an effective storytelling method, but ending your first novel without resolving a single one is ineffective storytelling.

This novel wouldn’t have burned me so badly if I didn’t see its potential. Using vampires as an allusion to the rich and powerful is a keen plot tool, and Mr. Villarreal’s knowledge of the legal system would have been fascinating had he not dumped an entire Supreme Court opinion into the middle of the novel. This novel seems destined for a sequel. I hope it sees significantly more time on the editor’s desk.

Jan 29, 2019

Satisfying read. It initially reminded me of "World War Z" by Max Brooks, but with vampires instead of zombies. WWZ is more short-form vignette, whereas "A People's History" feels more like the author has interleaved various fleshed-out notes for a few different short stories set in the same world.

The novel is extensively footnoted. I'm not sure these would translate into digital format very well, and I don't know how well they'd transfer to an audio book. The novel has three appendices; one is a fictitious legal argument for how the Americans with Disabilities Act applies to vampires.

The author is a lawyer. Of particular note are the chapters that deal with the legal rights of vampires: these sections are very interesting world-building. I would recommend this to people running a role-playing game involving high-social-status mythological creatures. The overall plot felt weak in comparison to the world itself.

ChrisLea Oct 06, 2018

Interesting premise for a vampire tale. The setting has appeal. But there's no real sense of story. It comes off as disjointed and feels like, 'here's some stuff that happens.'

Jul 07, 2018

An interesting take on vampire/epidemic fiction. I appreciate the author's attempt at using science to explain how a more realistic "vampire uprising" might occur, it gives the whole work a sense of being grounded in reality. The author spends a good portion of the novel explaining the 'how' and 'why', instead of just dumping the reader into a world where vampires already exist. The characters are well-developed and I feel that the author was successful in accurately portraying both male and female characters, something not all authors can do well.
However, I feel that the story itself is not as fully developed as it could be. There are several predictions/reflections made by characters that do not necessarily come to fruition, leaving you wondering what exactly happened. The ending is also somewhat abrupt and it makes the book seem unfinished. I think it could successfully be interpreted as timely social commentary, but overall it felt somewhat unfinished and I was left wondering what the author was really trying to say with this piece.


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Jan 29, 2019

BeldenLyman thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


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