Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The Last Vampire/Thirst Series by Christopher Pike

The original Last Vampire books were published from 1994 through 1996.

1.  The Last Vampire, 1994
2.  The Last Vampire 2: Black Blood, 1994
3.  The Last Vampire 3: Red Dice, 1995
4.  The Last Vampire 4: Phantom, 1996
5.  The Last Vampire 5: Evil Thirst, 1996
6.  The Last Vampire 6: Creatures of Forever, 1996

After this, it gets confusing.  The Last Vampire series was renamed Thirst by the publisher.  Last Vampire #1, 2, and 3 were reprinted in the omnibus edition, Thirst #1.  Last Vampire #4, 5, and 6 were reprinted in the omnibus edition, Thirst #2.

Pike then wrote more Last Vampire stories under the Thirst name.
Thirst #3: The Eternal Dawn, 2010
Thirst #4: The Shadow of Death, 2011
Thirst #5: The Sacred Veil, 2013

I cannot write up reviews of the individual books in the set.  I did not take good notes while reading the books, due to a lack of motivation. The stories are too convoluted, contradictory, and confusing for me to make sense of much of it.  The best I can do is give my overall thoughts of the books as well as I can remember.

The Last Vampire/Thirst books tell the story of Sita, who is a 5,000-year-old vampire.  Sita goes by the name Alisa Perne and is extremely wealthy.  Since she has been around for thousands of years, she has amassed a large amount of wealth.  As the first book opens, Sita believes that she is the Last Vampire, but she soon learns that she is mistaken.  There are others, and they want to kill her.

Sita learns that Yaksha is still alive.  Yaksha was the first vampire, and he is the one who turned Sita into a vampire.

I enjoyed the first book, The Last Vampire, just fine.  The second book, The Last Vampire 2: Black Blood, is a bit boring.

I don't recall specifically what I thought of Last Vampire #3, 4, and 5, except that all three books have some really good parts and really boring parts.  They are all mixed.

I really like Sita, and I overall like her story. However, the books contain lengthy passages with mysticism and also contain what I consider to be very boring flashbacks to Sita's early life.  It should be noted that some readers love the flashbacks.

I did make note of one funny quote from The Last Vampire 3: Red Dice.  A security guard witnesses Sita's supernatural abilities.  He remarks, "I watched you jumping from building to building. How do you do that?"  Sita gives a simple answer: "Steroids."  He believes her.

The Last Vampire 6: Creatures of Forever is not a good book.  I had to skim most of it.  Sita goes back in time to the Middle Ages.  A really big deal is made about how Sita went through a terribly traumatic experience during that time, and she must revisit it to fix history.  It didn't seem like anything that traumatic to me, but then, I did skim most all of it.

I am now going to spoil the ending of the sixth and what was originally the final book.  Spoiling the end does not matter since Pike completely negated it for the continuation of the series as Thirst.

At the very end of the sixth book, Sita decides to go back in time to the birth of Yaksha.  Sita knew before Yaksha was born that he was going to be evil, but she opted not to kill his mother.  When Sita goes back in time, she does kill Yaksha's mother.  This means that Sita prevents Yaksha's birth, so Yaksha never would turn Sita into a vampire.  As a result, none of Sita's adventures of the six books ever happened.  I hate endings like that.

But never fear, Pike decided to write more books about Sita.  In order for that to happen, he turned the ending of the sixth book into a dream of Seymour's.  What, I didn't mention Seymour?

Seymour is a good friend of Sita's.  She confided in him during the original six books.  They even traveled together.  In Thirst, we learn that Sita and Seymour never met.  Seymour didn't know that Sita was real, but he dreamed about her all the time, because she connected with him telepathically.  Seymour published Sita's adventures in a series of books, not knowing that Sita was real.  Seymour got some of the details wrong, like the ending of the sixth book, which turned out to be his own dream.

Whew!  This means that Sita never went back in time to kill Yaksha's mother.  So Sita still exists and is 5,000-years-old, and we get to read even more adventures as people try to kill Sita.

In Thirst #3: The Eternal Dawn, Sita is obsessed with a college student named Teri, who is a descendant of Sita's.  Sita befriends Teri and Teri's boyfriend, Matt.  People try to kill Sita, and Teri and Matt get sucked into it. This book is good but nothing spectacular.

On page 394 of Thirst #3, Sita has recently learned that a certain person is a descendant of Yaksha's.  She had no idea, and she is a bit chagrined, as well she should be since she is supposed to have supernatural powers and be very intuitive.  Anyway, Sita tells this person, "Actually, I think the main reason I'm taunting you is because you faked me out for so long. I feel embarrassed.  I'm not used to having someone put something so big over on me."

Um... Sita, dear, this exact situation happened to you three different times during the original six Last Vampire books.  Three different people were around you for quite some time before you figured out that they were each from your distant past.  You are quite used to it.  Do you have a memory problem or something?

Thirst #4: The Shadow of Death
is an outstanding book and is easily the best book in the series.  In fact, I would go so far as to say that Thirst #4: The Shadow of Death is one of the very best books Pike has ever written.  The book is suspenseful all the way through.  The story has more than one plot twist with some very unexpected surprises. This story has the same tone and quality of the very best vintage Pike books of the late 1980s and early 1990s.  It is excellent.

And then comes Thirst #5: The Sacred Veil, which is very similar to The Last Vampire 6: Creatures of Forever, which means that I found it as uninteresting as Last Vampire 6. Sita has an extended flashback yet again, and it makes me want to scream.  Once again, Sita acts like the most horrible thing happened to her in that time, and I don't see the big deal.  As with Last Vampire 6, maybe my problem is that I skimmed too much of the story.  I couldn't help it, since that part of the story was not interesting to me!

Thirst #5 is okay during the first half of the story.  By the second half, Sita has her extended flashback, and the reader has to read (in my case, skim) lengthy scenes with the Master and with Krishna.

Some people have hypothesized that Pike has a ghostwriter, and they think someone else wrote some of the Thirst books.  No, I'm quite sure that every bit of this is Pike himself. Thirst #3 has quite a different style, but I have read Pike's adult novels.  The book matches Pike's adult novels.

Regarding Thirst #5, all the scenes with the Master and Krishna are enough to convince me that the person who wrote them is the same person who wrote the Remember Me trilogy, and that would be Pike himself.

The Thirst series will contain at least three more books.  Pike gave an update in May, stating that he finally wrote the conclusion to the story and now has to rewrite Thirst 6 and 7 to match the ending.

While parts of the Last Vampire/Thirst series were hard for me get through, I did overall greatly enjoy Sita's story.  I will be reading the additional volumes once they are published.


Unknown said...

I've read the first five books at least 20 times since around 2004, the 6th this past week, and I just happened on a sample of Thirst 3 at the end of the book.

The writing style looks entirely different, just from a sample.

I don't know how to explain it, but there's significantly less ego in the sample of the first chapter I read than I've come to expect from Sita as a narrator.

This maybe a couple years after the fact, and god knows if you remember it, but I was just wondering if you noticed this and know if it improved further in the series, because I don't want to buy a book I'm really not going to enjoy, and from the sample I read, I'm not going to enjoy the new writing style, as I loved Sita's ego.

Jennifer White said...

I did notice that the writing style is different and that it is like Pike's adult books. I don't recall if the style changes again in the later books.

Amazon has what appears to be a pretty lengthy preview of Thirst #3 on its site. If you go to the listing for Thirst #3, you can click on the image of the book to see the text.