Ofelia (The Book of Davoth)
Independently Published (2020)
Reviewed by Amy Lignor for Reader Views (01/2022)
A great many events have happened recently that have focused my mind on the vampire. (No, I’m not impaired… just keep reading.) I was told that one of my absolute idols, Anne Rice – the amazing author who brought “Interview with the Vampire” on the scene and set off an explosion in fiction where writers were all of a sudden “all about the fangs” – had died. As I mourned her loss, I was sent this particular book that, once again, brings the blood-sucking creatures into the light. And, I have to say, this particular writer should be proud that they have added their tale to the ranks of the ones who came before. In other words…Ofelia would have been a solid character to have shown up for dinner at the estate of Anne Rice’s infamous Lestat.
In this story, Ofelia is the name of the character who takes center stage. She is the ripe old age of eleven, yet she has been upright and walking on the Earth for the past 500 years. In the 15th century, against her will, Ofelia became part of the “fanged gang” but was never a girl who wanted to remain in the group. In fact, she wanted to take them down. Readers join Ofelia on her way to another famous local, Stonehenge, where she plans to perform a ritual that will, hopefully, transform her back into a human. (And…hopefully, those 500 years won’t come back at her, right?) But as she heads to this ‘wonder of the world,’ Ofelia’s path once again changes and she ends up, instead of becoming a human, becoming an orphan living in a home and going to a classroom every day.
It’s here that Ofelia meets up with all kinds of humans and, even though she’s just pretending to a be a normal little girl, she starts to make friends and take kindly to some of the people crossing her path. Worse still is that the page showing the ritual disappears, so she has no idea now how to get it done. Worse STILL, even though she’s used her time to be a vampire slayer (shout out to Buffy here, just ‘cuz), one of the fanged ones is still out there and he happens to have a goal of his own. Find Ofelia, get her blood, and rebuild the fallen dynasty of vamps so that he can lead them from here on out.
So…does Ofelia stand by her new friends even though she knows they’ll leave the Earth one day and she’ll still be stuck wandering it? Find out what happened to the ritual and find a way to get it done, no matter what the consequences may turn out to be? Or…could she take a seat beside the next most-powerful-vampire and work with him to bring about an uprising of monumental proportions? That’s a whole heck of a lot to think about when you’re only eleven…figuratively speaking, of course.
The author not only did a very good job presenting Ofelia and all the important decisions and frustrations she has to go through, but they also did their research and talked about some of the cool times in history that Ofelia lived through with her eyes wide open, bringing the readers along for a glorious ride. As with most vampire novels, the core issue is good versus evil—which is ultimately stronger and which one will win out in the end. But by adding the banter of the kids in the home, snippets of Ofelia’s past seen through her own dreams, and having the one who watches her while she remains ignorant about the power he wants to wield one day soon by utilizing her blood to do it, makes for a truly entertaining story where I never once didn’t want to see how the end would all play out.
I’ve been a huge fan of YA novels for the past two decades, at the very least. And this author just proves to me, again, why that is: The fantasy, the fun, the innocence mixed with pure emotion, everything is creative and a whole lot of fun to see play out on the page. Anne Rice would’ve been proud.