...and I thought that vampires were passé. The Fell of Dark is a fun take that on vampires and 'the chosen one' trope. Usually, I'm a nitpicking reader but with The Fell of Dark I was happy to suspend my disbelief. Is this novel perfect? Definitely not. Is it entertaining? Hell yes! Our narrator and protagonist, sixteen-year-old August Pfeiffer, lives in Fulton Heights, Illinois. This small town happens to be a nexus for mystical and supernatural energies which is why it attracts so many vampires. August, the only 'out' gay boy in his school, isn't particularly fond of his hometown (mostly due to its vampire populace). In spite of the vampires prowling his town at night, his biggest concern is algebra...until he receives a cryptic and ominous message from a distractingly cute-looking vampire (who happens to have an English accent). Things became increasingly bizarre as August finds himself at the centre of a feud between different vampire sects, an order of mortal knights, and a coven. This is a very plot-driven book and August can't seem to catch a break. For 'reasons' however he's the chosen ones, and the whole world depends on him. August's narration is the strongest aspect of this book. He's a rather awkward and perpetually horny teen who also happens to be an incredibly funny narrator (laugh-out-loud kind of fun). This novel's plotline is kind of basic but Caleb Roehrig makes it work. There is a certain self-awareness that makes up for the derivativeness of some of the storyline's components (for example, the fact that no one seems to be telling August the truth because almost a running gag). Those expecting this to be a love story of sorts will probably be disappointed as this novel has more of a lust/attraction-subplot than a romantic one. With the exception of August, the characters are somewhat one-dimensional (also, it seemed that every single character was connected with one of these cult-ish groups). Still, the role they come to play in August's story did hold my attention. The world in this novel isn't all that detailed. A few characters occasionally give some exposition about vampires and their history, but that's about it. This is an absorbing book. It has a lot of silly moments but I never found these to be ridiculous or unfunny. If you are a fan of Buffy or Carry On you will probably enjoy it as much as I did.
ps: I spent my day off work listening to the audiobook edition (which lasted about 12 hours) which...yeah. That was a new record for me. But once I started listening to it I couldn't stop (Michael Crouch is an amazing narrator).
Y'all, I had SUCH a good time with this paranormal YA about a gay teen who's possessed by a demon trying to incarnate on Earth. Our main character, Auggie, is wonderful and braver than anyone should expect him to be, and funny, and also very real and vulnerable. I loved how he was allowed to cry multiple times out of fear or sheer misery, and that was ok! There were cool vampire fights, a quasi love triangle I didn't hate (miracle!), and I was just about trying to prop my eyelids open at night so I could squeeze in just a bit more reading time. I needed to know what would happen next!
Roehrig wrote one of my fave contemporary YAs, Last Seen Leaving so I was not at all surprised I loved this as much as I did. My new fave paranormal YA rec!
Essa foi minha primeira experiência com uma história de vampiros! Sim: nunca vi/li Crepúsculo, Drácula, Entrevista com o vampiro... E nada melhor que um livro GAY para me iniciar nesse mundo!!
Aqui acompanhamos Auggie, ele é um garoto que é ruim em matemática e vive em uma cidade de vampiros. A regra é clara: não se aproxime dos vampiros, eles são perigosos. Mas quando um vampirão atraente entra em contato dizendo que ele é a chave para impedir um mal de eras, seu mundo muda completamente.
Eu curti MUITO ler essa história! Estruturalmente, me lembrou bastante de "Percy Jackson". O livro segue uma fórmula conhecida por leitores de fantasia e ainda assim consegue divertir e prender a atenção. Não pude deixar de pensar que essa é uma história que eu queria ter lido há uns anos atrás, quando estava no processo de aceitação. Tudo aqui é tão natural que me deixou maravilhado.
A mitologia envolta dos vampiros é muito legal e envolve mais coisas do que eu imaginei. Não sei dizer se todas as histórias são assim ou se essa é completamente inovadora; sei apenas que amei esse primeiro contato. Pra melhorar, os vampiros são pansexuais e extremamente atraente, como Auggie vai fazer questão de destacar, hahaha.
A história não tem uma grande aventura ou uma grande missão, boa parte dela é o pobre garoto sendo usado como uma bola de pingue-pongue tentando decidir em quem confiar. As coisas são um tanto previsíveis para um leitor médio, mas eu não vi nada chegando. Fora isso, o romance não é tanto o foco daqui, o envolvimento não evolui o suficiente para chegar nesse nível.
Uma leitura divertida, leve e que me deu exatamente o que eu buscava! Recomendo <3
e-ARC provided by NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
What a time to be alive! If you had told me a couple of years ago that vampire's would be making a comeback, I don't think I would've believed you, but they're here- and honestly better than ever (with a few exceptions of course).
Once I started The Fell Of Dark, I didn't want to put it down! In fact- had life been a little less demanding, I'm fairly certain I would have finished it in one sitting. This was everything I've been missing about paranormal/urban fantasy, but it exceeded all of my expectations- and I'm looking forward to reading more of Caleb's work in the future.
“‘No matter what happens, you’ve still got a life to live. Don’t waste it by giving in to fear of what might be coming. Don’t let a possible future ruin what you’ve got right now.’”
"It's love and hunger, a temporary truce, a moment where they both relinquish the past and choose bliss. Tonight is about us."
4.5 stars. The Fell of Dark is a delightful paranormal romp featuring my favorite actual love triangle (that was gay!) that I’ve seen in recent memory. There are two primary things I have to say before I get into the actual review: this has the exact vibes of the underrated Gen Z masterpiece that is My Babysitter's a Vampire and this, despite the marketing, is not a paranormal romance. Yes, there are cute boys and even cuter moments but this book is not a paranormal romance nor does it adhere to the specific expectations readers may have going into one. However, if you're looking for a YA vampire book that has the aforementioned vibe with an incredibly well written actual love triangle look no further.
Speaking of the "vibe" of this novel, I really liked how Roehrig embraced the campy and sometimes ridiculous quality of YA paranormal but also made sure to include darker elements that gave the novel unexpected layers of depth. There's a lot of juxtaposition at play in this novel, with moments such as flirting with a cute boy at a local ice cream shop coexisting with international vampire politics. Auggie's narration also contributes to this clever contrast. Lots of the events such as retain their darkness but are colored a bit lighter by his quips and internal monologue. I feel like this book struck the golden ratio between high stakes paranormal and comedic coming-of-age, which is why it worked so well for me.
The worldbuilding of of this novel is also very well done for a story that could have easily been more vague with it. Roehrig creates a convincing world with well-drawn locations, factions, and paranormal creatures: everything is explained succinctly and there is a glossary of characters and factions that helps clears things up. In particular, I really liked how Roehrig created a large-stakes story and set it in a small town: as a result of Auggie's circumstances, there are several factions that either want to protect or kill him. All the while, Auggie is 16 and having to deal with mundane thing such as trying to pass Algebra while being under constant surveillance by these different group.
100%, the best part of this book was the characters. While I'll admit the supporting cast was a bit forgettable, there are three main characters that I would literally die for: Auggie, Jude, and Gunner. What strikes me about Auggie is the way his perspective and character arc is essentially a subversion of the "Chosen One" trope, but not in the way that you'd expect. His entire character arc in this novel is based on his desire for agency in circumstances where it appears he has none. As a result of , his life has become no longer his own to live (both physically and metaphorically). Watching Auggie grapple with this during the novel was fascinating and ultimately, so satisfying when he eventually did exert his own agency.
As for Jude, I'm a sucker for a character that at first appears to be nothing more than a stock cliche and turns out to have layers beyond what you could expect. He's introduced in a very stereotypical way, but Roehrig quickly fleshes him out to be more than just the hot British vampire with "sexy knees" (according to Auggie): his motivations are unclear at first, and watching his layers unravel was a highlight for me. He's also biracial, which yes not all vampires are white! Lastly, Gunner was an unexpectedly interesting character. His backstory of All in all, these three main characters made the book for me in a way I didn't expect.
It probably comes as no surprise to you, then, that these three characters also were the three sides of the iconic gay vampire actual love triangle. Honestly, my desire to read this book doubled upon finding it out it had a true love triangle. This might be a tired/lukewarm take, but what people usually label as a love triangle are not actual love triangles but rather, is just one person picking between two people (a "Love V" if you will). A true love triangle connects all three people involved by having all three of the sides of the triangle love each other, romantically or otherwise. This book's love triangle is one of the perfect (but rare) examples of this wherein while August has to sort out his feelings for both Jude and Gunner, both of them also have to sort out their feelings for one another as My two favorite scenes in this book are moments between all three of them: Roehrig made use of this "true" love triangle and created a compelling, multifaceted dynamic that became the center of this novel and honestly? Iconic behavior.
Conclusively: I could not have picked a better book to read on my birthday. Please pick this up. I, for one, am now super interested in picking up Caleb Roehrig's backlog of releases and this is a beautiful, sharp-fanged addition to ownvoices M|M YA.
What a disappointment this book turned out to be..
I cannot say this enough.. I HATE love triangles, I hate when there is a sort of “love connection” between multiple people and that is what I got from this book, of course there were other elements that do not go unnoticed but after the first few chapters I really couldn’t move on with this book.. I found myself more than once skimming through the pages to see when August and Jude would interact because the rest of this was a total snooze-fest..
Now Jude Marlowe was one thing that Caleb got right, he was so funny and interesting and he pulled me in the story and August is a very likable character, he is also very funny and reminded me of TJ Klune’s characters (Sam Haversford from Tales from Verania to be more specific) he was likable, and funny and sarcastic and very smart.
I like that he was very well aware of the ridiculousness of being “a chosen one” and poked fun at it many times.. But all of that was not able to save this book.
rep; auggie (mc) is gay. gunnar (sc) is gay. jude (sc) is pansexual. adrianna (sc) is a latinx lesbian. hope (sc) is a lesbian.
not gonna lie, when i heard "pansexual vampire", i was in.
when i thought it would be a funny queer vampire ya, i was in.
and holy shit i'm disappointed.
- my biggest issue: the entire book is an info dump...i'm not exaggerating...the entire thing - it's written like it's a set up for a series but there isn't a confirmed sequel,,,make it make sense - the mc is honestly the most whiny, useless "chosen one" i have ever seen...buffy would be embarrassed - he isn't even an active part of what's going on until the literal end - where he plays a key role in creating The Plan, which feels extremely forced because of how passive and uninformed about everything he was for the entire book - do you like tropes? because this book sure does - the characters and relationships suffered from all the time being spent on world building/backstory - the buffy inspiration is blatant, including a version of buffy's "it's going to swallow me whole. and it'll choke on me" line ("hurl myself straight into the lion's jaws and make him choke on me") - the mc never stops talking about the boner he always has - there's what the author calls a "true love triangle" between the mc and two vampires (were there any actual romantic feelings between anyone but the two vampires who were ancient exes??), but it reads more like a tease of a polyam relationship. tease as in, they're all horny for each other, but none of them are ever actually in a romantic relationship at any point in the book, including the end. which is why i don't have them marked as love interests in my rep list.
i read this for the newts readathon for the "humorous book" prompt (i thought it was going to be funny,,,my bad)
I'm as excited about the comeback of vampire YA books as anyone, and a gay YA vampire book seemed right up my alley. Unfortunately, this one kind of missed the mark for me.
Let's start out with the things I did like! I liked how realistic everything was--considering all the paranormal elements. The teenage characters acted like teenagers, and their friendships/relationships were incredibly true to life. I think Caleb Roehrig does a really good job of writing messy, flawed, realistic teenage characters, and I absolutely loved that. I also enjoyed the rep in this; I cannot speak to its accuracy, since I am not a gay guy, but as a lesbian, I'm happy whenever I see ownvoices queer rep.
Unfortunately, the realistic portrayal of the teenage characters, particularly the main character, was also a shortcoming of the book. Auggie is a sort of "chosen one" who is slowly being taken over by a sinister force that could lead to the destruction of humanity and a new age of vampire superiority. Sounds badass, right? The problem is, all these secret societies come out of the woodwork to try to take advantage of the rising evil. Virtually all important information is given to Auggie in paragraphs-long info dumps from characters that are part of aforementioned secret societies and are way cooler than Auggie. He just doesn't really do anything until pretty late in the game, which as I mentioned, seems accurate to a real teenager, but doesn't make for a very interesting reading experience. I can't help but feel like this book would be more compelling if it were told from the perspective of literally any other character. Normally I love and respect the Chosen One trope because it's so prolific for a reason, but in this instance, it was a swing and miss for me.
As I said, the characters are really good and I think if they had been placed in a traditional YA contemporary, I would have liked this book much more.
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing a copy free for review. All opinions are my own.
Oh my god, who knew that all it would take was for vampires to turn gay for me to become absolutely obsessed with them again?
Quite honestly, this was the perfect execution of the premise. On the author's twitter, I read that he essentially pitched The Fell of Dark as "Simon Spier the Vampire Slayer" and it was about as fun, ridiculous, action-packed as you would expect. Caleb Roehrig created the perfect blend of drama that doesn't take itself too seriously, while also capturing the essence of what it means to grow up gay in a small town. Just, you know, plus vampires.
The writing captivated me right away. This is my first book by the author, but oh wow, it won't be the last. Auggie's narration was so clear and sharp, there were multiple moments where I felt catapulted back into my 16-year-old brain, and even more where I was actually laughing out loud because he finds himself in so many stange, unusual situations and acknowledges their awkwardness. However, I absolutely loved the more serious undertones. My favourite aspect was probably how Auggie's character was shaped by having to navigate his identity as a gay teen in a place completely devoid of queerness. Having had to come to terms and then live in a small town as a gay guy myself, I appreciated this nuance so, so much, and many of Auggie's thoughts definitely resonated with me.
But then, of course, this was the perfect book for me to vicariously live through a fictional nerdy gay teenager as he gets to experience what so many of us were dreaming about at that age - the type of story that for so long, only white girls were allowed to experience in YA books. And so suddenly, he finds himself in this kind of hilarious, kind of very hot love triangle/polyamorous relationship with two vampires. This simultaneously felt familiar, since it's a trope that has been done many times over with heterosexual pairings, but both the gay factor as well as the polyamorous approach made it feel so fresh and new, it was amazing. Also, it was by far not as dramatic as it might sound, there were no confessions of undying love or anything like it. Rather, the relationships served as a vehicle to show Auggie as a character that he is allowed to believe in himself, which worked really well in combination with the rest of the plot.
As for the actual plot, I really don't want to give anything away, because the synopsis doesn't actually tell you too much, and oh boy, there are many secrets and twists to be found in this novel. It caught me off guard all the time and constantly flipped the story on its head. Also, it was a lot more complex than I had expected. There's many different factions with different beliefs and motivations interacting here, and they were each established super thoroughly, almost to a point where I would think to myself, "Damn, this could have made for a neat trilogy." Then, maybe, we could have also had more romance, which, honestly? I wouldn't have minded if he had gotten even more of. The three characters involved had so much chemistry, I would have eagerly read 300 more pages of them just interacting. Maybe... maybe we can get a sequel... or something... maybe? I can hope.
Ultimately, this book made a younger version of me very, very happy, but present-me also fell head over heels for it. I can't recommend this highly enough if you like an expertly executed mixture of coming of age and fantasy. I hate seeing this being as underrated as it is, while other gay vampire books by problematic authors (Carry On) get all the attention. xx
"The stars don’t take sides, but Death will take you, gladly."
Vampires are kind of my thing. I love how mysterious they are and that they only come out at night to play. What's not to love? But (heavy sigh) Authors usually write Vampires the same way as everyone else. They are usually drab and ultra-pale and they only want you for your blood. I need my Vampires a little wacky, a little different with a little razzle-dazzle, who aren't afraid to show who they really are. And this one certainly delivers!
This book instantly brings you to Fulton Heights, IL, and into the world of Vampires, Witches, and all things magical. An ancient entity coming back to Earth to bring forth the apocalypse and the main character is in the center of it all. Don't forget about the swoony love triangle between a mortal and two vampires.
The Fell of Dark was so damn fantastic and I can't stop thinking about this. My fingers are crossed for a second book. Every damn page in this book is worth the time. Never a dull moment, lots of action (wink), and hilarious and witty jokes. I couldn't ask for more! This unique take on the Vampire genre will make you fall in love with it all over again.
Are you ready for a Vampire frenzy? Because this book is about to start one! Holy s**t was this good!!
It feels like this book was written specifically for me, and I ate. it. up! It’s basically Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but for queer boys. As much as I loved this book, I would have loved it even more as a teenager. Overall, Auggie is a great narrator, the lore is interesting, and the romantic tension is killer! It’s smart YA fiction, and if this doesn’t create another vampire craze in literature, I don’t know what will. Roehrig is stellar when it comes to dialogue, campiness, and suspense, and all of his strengths are on display here. Fell of Dark is easily his most ambitious novel, and while the exposition gets a tad tiresome and Auggie’s boner references should have been trimmed down (maybe they will be in the finished copy; I read an ARC), I’d say it’s a success. I feel like room for a sequel was left intentionally, and as the meme goes— I would like to see it. 4.5/5 stars!
This book would've been 5 stars if it had not been for the ending and the misrepresented idea I had going into this book (this was kinda sold as a paranormal romance and the only way I can see that being true is if this had been a series (meaning there was more potential romance to come) or had there been more space given to it here).
This story is very much a hardcore vampire book, it's got lore, politics, cult, history, etc. It's got so much more depth than some other vampires I've read, and it's in general really well done here. There're explanations for every aspect of vampire existence and co-existence with humans. By the end, we know how they appeared, the politics and hierarchies that govern them, how they generally interact with humans (with some exceptions), the motivations of different factions of vampires, etc. etc. etc. This world had so much depth and I genuinely enjoyed how well built this world was. I can see more stories taking place in this world easily. I also generally liked the plot itself, the mystery behind it, and I don't have any issues there at all!
I also really liked the characters for the entirety of the book. August/Auggie was a great MC, if a bit too horny at times, and I loved the love interests, August's friends, and the other side characters that they meet along the story. I also loved how queer this story was, and we got some really great m/m AND f/f rep in this book. This lead to a story that was overall fun to read, and I loved the jokes August made, his view of the world, and how he accepted/used/etc. his fate as chosen one.
There's literally no reason for this book to be 4 stars except for how frustrated the ending to the romance storylines left me. Honestly, if I were rating this book based on that alone, I'd give it a 2 or a 3. There was so much constant build-up, slow burn, etc., and it just never really went anywhere? The entire book was also so horny, so it was even weirder then that the romance ended with It's all I can seem to remember when I think back on the book now, my frustration and disappointment.
All in all, I did enjoy this, even if that enjoyment was severely impacted by the ending of the romance. I loved (loved!!) everything else, which honestly makes it even more frustrating to be fair. I'll still be giving other books of Roehrig's a chance, but I'm still always going to think of what this could've been.
I'm predisposed to like vampire books anyway, doubly so for a book that's so incredibly gay, but this blew away my already high expectations.
First of all, it's funny. SO FUNNY. I had to stop several times because I was laughing so hard I couldn't read past a particular joke. As a writer, Caleb's sense of humor and timing is spot on, and it keeps the book from getting too dark even as situations get dire.
I loved being in Auggie's head, and I really appreciated how thoroughly his queer identity permeates the book. He gets to flirt and be nervous around cute boys and want to make out with broody vampires even as he's like "hmm, this probably isn't the best idea." The writing felt like a celebration of his identity at every step, which resonates so strongly with me as a reader.
We get a glimpse into how being queer in generations past affected the vampires Auggie comes in contact with. As a community, I think a lot of LGBTQ history gets lost (in part because we're never taught it--we have to actively search for it) and with that, I think it can be easy to lose touch with the struggles of our queer elders/those who came before us. I love that we get some of that alongside a fun vampire story. There's so much nuance in all the relationships, but especially between a pair of vampire exes. I thought this was a really interesting take on the "please make me a vampire so we can be in love forever" trope, seeing it played out decades later, after the couple has broken up. Amid all the humor with the bickering exes, there was also so much emotional truth. There's one bit in particular, where a character talks about how he mistook falling in love with himself for the first time for falling in love with his (now) ex, that really resonated.
Anyway, there's a lot to love about this book, and I can't wait for it to release this summer so I can scream about it with everyone I know.
Are vampires back? I’m not sure, but at least The Fell of Dark is bringing something a bit different to the table.
This is not a romance like the cover tagline and the blurb hints at. There is some suggestion of romance, which actually could have been really intriguing and (kind of) new for YA, if Roehrig had followed through like I thought he was going to. There are STRONG hints that the romance is heading a certain way, but nothing is stated explicitly on the paper. I’m fine with making the assumption but I think it would have been really interesting to see this relationship dynamic explored more in depth for a YA audience.
This is (somewhat) a refreshing of ‘the vampire trope with an LGBTQ-themed mystery’ because it does attempt to explore queerness through the supernatural. However, the mystery element was a little on the bland side. This book suffered slightly from ALL THE IDEAS and only 300ish pages to fit them in. If you have a word count limit because of your target marketing demographic, you need to give more room for your core characters to exist within the story. There were four or five warring factions with multiple characters introduced in order to flesh out those factions, which meant we spent the majority of the book just learning about those factions rather than really getting to dive deep with the main characters. This resulted in a lot of the key relationships with friends/family/love interests feeling quite under-developed. As well as a whole lot of info-dump leading up to the main battle set piece.
I did really enjoy that this was another queer story that wasn’t necessarily about a queer struggle as the main point of focus; I’ve been enjoying quite a few books like this recently and it’s something I’d love to read more of. The more authors can centre queer characters, with queer experience in stories where their queerness is not only celebrated but normalised, the better!
Maybe I can get back into the vampire trope that seems to be making a resurgence if they're going to be gay like this book promises! That, plus a protagonist who loves art and sucks at math that may be the key to saving humanity?
A história de vampiros LGBT que eu precisava e não sabia. O Auggie é um dos melhores protagonistas teen que li em muito tempo e sinceramente eu entendo perfeitamente a decisão impossível entre Jude e Gunnar. Sdds já ❤️
Este es un libro que desde el año pasado le había echado el ojo pero nada mas no se me hacía leerlo, y al fin tuve la oportunidad, y fue bastante diferente a lo que pensaba pero de la buena manera, me gustó bastante y creo que es un libro que debió tener más reconocimiento.
Este libro me parece que es a la literatura juvenil que estábamos acostumbrados por allá del 2010 pero el autor lo hizo lgbt y eso me encantó, esta historia tiene todo el potencial que tuvo City of Bones de Cassandra Clare en donde se nos introduce a un mundo lleno de seres sobrenaturales y de relaciones personales que se van tejiendo y formar una historia solida y que atrapa.
Al principio al leer la sinopsis pensé que sería un libro bastante simple sobre vampiros y ya, pero en cuanto empiezan a salir aquelarres, ángeles, demonios y sociedades secretas me enganché y leí hasta que lo terminé, me hubiera gustado que el autor se arriesgará a convertir esta historia en una saga de libros, porque aunque el final, es bueno, creo que queda mucho de este mundo al que le puede sacar mucho jugo.
Los personajes son buenos, el protagonista destaca por tener una mente ágil y divertida por lo que es muy sencillo simpatizar con él, ahora tiene dos intereses amorosos, un clásico triangulo amoroso que me gustó mucho como se desenvolvió porque se me hizo muy real, no cae en lo cursi, pero si en lo steamy y eso estuvo padre. Otros personajes aparecen como sus amigas pero hay fue el punto que no fue tanto de mi agrado, porque solo son mencionadas cuando es conveniente y no se siente muy orgánica su presencia en la historia.
Espero que el autor se anime a escribir más acerca de esta historia porque si me dejó picado.
"Never show your enemy a mercy they wouldn’t show you."
The Fell of Dark had a really good thing going on for it, it started off as a very promising story, written in a quite humorous and charming writing style, alongside a good enough cast of characters whom I didn't feel the need to choke to death with my bare hands -which is always a great sign if you know what I mean, lol- but sadly, it all went downhill pretty quickly. This book SUFFERS from "all tell and no show" syndrome. The pacing is off, the action is very low, and the whole thing drags on for too long pointlessly. Perhaps it Could have been salvaged with some romantic subplot, but there isn't much of that either. Such wasted potential, tragic.
"While everyone else was living their lives, I was hanging onto the promise that one day mine would finally start."