I’m a Phipps-Fan. It’s a fact, and anyone reading this blog on any sort of regular basis is well aware of that. With that being said, I was avoiding reading Straight out of Fangton because nothing about it sounded appealing to me. Mostly because it’s labeled as a parody vampire novel, and for some reason I tend to ignore parody books even though I only ever enjoy them. For example, I never crave to read anything by A. Lee Martinez, but then I do and I fall in love with it and don’t know why I didn’t pick it up sooner. To follow that example of my thinking, I’ll then forget how much I love A. Lee Martinez’s work and then do the same damn thing when his next book comes out. They’re great books that never disappoint, but I fall into the same, “But it’s funny, so I won’t like it” kind of thinking every time.
That’s what happened with Straight out of Fangton. I read and loved a bunch of Phipps’ books and then I heard about Fangton, and decided to avoid it. Lucky for me, I ran out of things to read and decided to give it a try.
First of all, allow me to clear something up: Straight out of Fangton is portrayed as a parody, but it’s anything but. When I hear parody, I think of Mel Brooks taking on genre films. This isn’t the case with Fangton. I wouldn’t even label it a comedy, although it has comedic moments. This is an original Vampire story in the vein of Blade or Interview with a Vampire. This is good vampire fiction that doesn’t have a problem questioning the things that are kind of silly in other vampire stories (ie: the phrase “You’ve been Twilighted” is used a few times, and it works wonderfully well).
This story follows Peter Stone in Detroit after Detroit has been converted to New Detroit, a new home for the publicly acknowledged undead. The world is essentially the same, except there are more undead folks everywhere. The story kicks off when a Vampire-Hunter turned vampire is found in a bathroom at the gas station that Peter works. He decides he can’t just leave her there and ends up on a journey to stop an Ancient self-hating vampire from eliminating the Vampire-Nation.
The comedy/parody is kept to minimal levels, nowhere near what’s implied if you read the other reviews. The best part about this entire story is the weight of the world on the characters. I’ve pointed out in previous reviews that most of Phipps’ main characters go through an intense amount of development, but in this story he did something different. Peter Stone’s character is well defined and likable at the beginning and throughout, instead, the Vampire Nation goes through development and growth as Peter stands outside of the nest coaxing them to join him in the open world. It’s very different from the usual Phipps-fare, but very well done.
I give this novel a 5 out of 5 and can’t believe it took me this long to get to it.