Ninth Grade Slays: The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod

This review is spoiler free except for mentioning some names of new characters.
(Edit: added three video links)

Some time ago I reviewed Eighth Grade Bites: The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod. It was the first book in a new series by Heather Brewer (known as “Auntie Heather” to her loyal minions*). The new book is out and is entitled Ninth Grade Slays: The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod.

The new book, like the first, is a fast read. Ms. Brewer is a great writer, producing an engaging story but my complaints about this book are the same as the first: it’s too damned short, and she’s in a terrible hurry to get everywhere she’s going. A plane flight from Siberia to the USA is dealt with in three sentences. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s a good chance to spend some time letting the character talk and getting to know more about them.

And she writes great characters and I do want to know lots more about them. Besides Vlad and Henry, we meet two new characters of import: Joss and Eddie. Eddie’s last name is Poe and that made me smirk mightily. We also have more Meredith, but she’s still a thin character and we need to learn a lot more about her.

Joss, and this will be hard to do without uttering spoilers, is an amazing character and I wanted a whole book just about him. He’s complex — as complex as Vlad, no mean feat. And Ms. Brewer turns a great trick at the end with Joss, making me feel like someone kicked me in the stomach — that or I’m coming down with the flu. Joss is the sort of character I’d like to spend an hour with over a cup of coffee, just talking.

Eddie, though only a bit player, has potential to be a big character in the next instalment(s). I get this nagging feeling that not only is important, but that one day he’ll be a good friend to Vlad despite what we see in this book.

Otis and Nellie are in the book, but consigned to floating in and out of the story. That’s not a criticism either. I much would prefer hearing about the kids because they’re very interesting. Vlad cries a bit too much, and I think his circumstances have a lot to do with it. He’s very Emo without actually being Emo. It makes sense to me, anyway.

Vlad is a great character. He continues to evolve and get more complex. I wish this book was about a hundred pages longer. Vlad continues to show signs of cuteness when he tries to interact with Meredith. And if he knew anyone thought he was showing such signs, he’d certainly cringe. In my previous reviews, I said a reader would want to be friends with Vlad and that remains even more true in this book.




Download it from the school’s website.

Tonight’s Springsteen concert was cancelled so I was able to stay home and read the book cover to cover in just about two hours. Enjoyable as all hell. Highly recommended. I mean that sincerely. Auntie Heather has a MySpace page, which you should also join because she is very cool — even though I never win one of her hoodies. I may have to just buy an XL one and be done with it. Hope spring eternal 🙂

Oh, and the end is a bit of a cliffhanger. Auntie Heather is evil.

(In worse news, on 3 May I was going to see Billy Crystal in concert in Las Vegas. That’s been cancelled as well. I guess I should tell Austri….)

*I am proud to consider myself one of them.

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