Release Date: Already out, buy a copy!
Publisher: Simo & Schuster US / Allen & Unwin AU
Add it: Goodreads
Pearl is a sixteen-year-old vampire... fond of blood, allergic to sunlight, and mostly evil... until the night a sparkly unicorn stabs her through the heart with his horn. Oops.Your 21st century mind, infected with fancy ideas of vampires that sparkle in the pretty sunlight, vampires that are friendly 'vegetarians' who om nom nom on animals or else fight their mean old brother for the beautiful human girl, may be unfamiliar with the old school version of vampire. The kind that revel in the taste of fresh human blood. Who stalk the night and burn in the sun and see humans as just a notch below them on the food chain. That's Pearl and her family. Albeit, they're a dysfunctional family, but they fill the 'ruthless creature of the night role' with heartless grace. Until one fateful day when Pearl is stabbed by... a unicorn? And suddenly she can walk in the sun. A daywalker, a dangerous anomaly with the Vampire King of New England soon coming to visit. But her parents seize this rare opportunity to send their only daughter to high school... and lure the tasty student body right into the heart of the upcoming vampire Fealty Ceremony. A task that should be relatively easy for a dispassionate vampire, right? Except that Pearl is beginning to care for her food.
Her family thinks she was attacked by a vampire hunter (because, obviously, unicorns don't exist), and they're shocked she survived. They're even more shocked when Pearl discovers she can now withstand the sun. But they quickly find a way to make use of her new talent. The Vampire King of New England has chosen Pearl's family to host his feast. If Pearl enrolls in high school, she can make lots of human friends and lure them to the King's feast -- as the entrees.
The only problem? Pearl's starting to feel the twinges of a conscience. How can she serve up her new friends—especially the cute guy who makes her fangs ache—to be slaughtered? Then again, she's definitely dead if she lets down her family. What's a sunlight-loving vamp to do?
Pearl is not your average, humble, down-to-earth gal who gets thrust into a scary world of blood and fangs. No, she is that scary world of blood and fangs... who gets thrust into a world of hormonal teenagers and prom. She's confident, cynical and sarcastic. And while those traits still cling to her throughout the novel, they're accompanied by a healthy dose of heart and sympathy. I loved watching as she slowly began to change. Those pitiful humans crawled their way into her heart before she even knew what was happening. And even when she did notice, she sure as hell wasn't going to admit it. She fed herself excuses for the odd things she did, things that suspiciously resembled compassion, because the very idea that she could feel guilt or even affection for these humans was preposterous! A vampire does not feel mercy for its prey.
While she's promised to fellow vampire, Jadrien, it's a high school boy who begins to chip away at Pearl's heart. But I liked that the potential romance was subtle and for the most part, grew as a friendship. Evan is a sweet, boy-next-door kind of guy whose heart is fueled with a heroic need. Often, it's annoying when there's a love interest with a hero complex who won't let the protagonist even duck into the toilet without an escort. But thankfully, Evan isn't like that. He sees something in Pearl and acknowledges that she can look after herself, but that doesn't mean he's not still watching her back.
I absolutely loved Pearl's family! Not that I'd actually want to spend an afternoon in their house, though. I don't fancy decorating the dinner table come feast time. But they are such a wildly amusing bunch of vampires. Although they don't set out to be intentionally amusing, they all have a few shades of varying psycho, but what creature of the night with a penchant for draining human life doesn't? And it was really interesting to see the the dynamics between all the vampires, the mind games and power plays that are constantly in motion. Something that becomes much more tiring to Pearl as her humanity begins to show.
Drink Slay Love is a thoroughly engaging story of a vampire finding her soul, filled with plenty of laugh-out-loud moments, quirky characters, a unique protagonist and some dangerous schemes. Sarah's mythology was so fantastically unique. Unicorns! Vampires and Werewolves, I understand. Vampires and Unicorns? Not a combination you see often, if ever. Whether you're new to vampire reads (what rock have you been hiding under?!) or worn out by the influx of 'sparkly, broody and tortured', I think you'll find Drink Slay Love a refreshingly entertaining novel.
4.5/5 Golden Apples!