March Book Review: Amish. Vampires. In Space?
Amish Vampires in Space
Author: Kerry Nietz
Amish. Vampires. In Space?
If the title alone doesn’t make you curious to pick this book up, then hopefully the following review will.
What’s worse than all hell breaking loose? All hell breaking loose in the close quarters of space travel.
Honestly, I grabbed this book for one reason alone. The title and cover. Ok, maybe that’s two reasons. I have never read a vampire book before, and I was terrified that I was about to subject myself to a campy genre mashup meant to sell itself on its ridiculousness alone.
I was so wrong.
What ensued was some of the most entertaining hours I’ve had reading in a long time.
Because of the subject matter, let me dispel a few notions first:
This book does NOT make fun of the Amish. In fact, from what I can tell (I’m not Amish), Nietz has done his research. He is respectful of the Amish and their traditions. He simply seeks to fit the Amish culture into a futuristic scenario to see how it will play out
This is not a horror novel. Yes, there are vampires, so there’s that. But—many of the things that unfortunately grace the pages of some horror novels (gore, sex, etc.) are simply not present. Nietz handles the subject tastefully.
This IS a sci-fi novel. Straight up. It’s my favorite thing about it. In everything, Nietz has attempted to keep everything in the sci-fi realm rather than slipping into the fantasy or magical realm. The story offers scientific (albeit future science) explanations for everything, keeping this a grounded story.
Jebediah carries the burden of knowledge. He knows his planet’s days are numbered, and the Amish community that has relocated there to preserve its way of life is doomed. That is, unless he unveils his secret—he can call for help. Help comes in the form of Captain Sealius Drake and his ship Raven. The only problem is the Raven has previously picked up cargo, among which is something—alive.
See it now?
Jebediah is my favorite character. While it’s easy to select the main protagonist, it’s hard not to cheer for him as he sacrifices much on the way to save his people. Honest, loyal, and strongly appreciative to his Amish heritage, we see much of the story unfolding through his eyes. His emotions over the treatment of his people and the effect of vampires drew my compassion very quickly.
Captain Drake is exactly what I’d imagine a bored space transport captain to be like. Smart and confident, he has an ability to read his crew well. He longs for more than the mundane life he lives, and he gets far more than he bargained.
Congi is a man who can find things—things among the cargo for people to buy. There have been few times when I’ve wanted to punch a character in the face, and this is one of them. You will love to hate Congi.
Greels, Crewmember Singer, Darly, Ezekiel, Mark—the list goes on. Many characters, each with their own story and personality. All of them—smashed together on a spaceship.
I love that Nietz took on this story that began as a joke among writers (see introduction to book) and handled it with care. What resulted was a fun, sci-fi novel that took itself seriously. The reader will be rewarded with tense scenes and action. Characters are handled with respect as cultures and faiths clash.
I do wish the book had included a little more of the terror of creatures such as vampires. The sense that something could be lurking in the shadows and jump at any moment was missing at times from the story, but I believe this may have been intentional on the part of the author not to delve too deeply into the horror genre. Still, I would have liked more.
I cannot emphasize enough that Nietz handles the Amish culture with respect. Though far different from the experience of most, he demonstrates the value and advantage of such a culture. Despite being contextually thrust into space, a realm the Amish would not go today, the reader is left feeling that this is exactly what could happen to the Amish people in the future.
I believe that is a mark of good sci-fiction. If I’m left believe it could happen, then I believe the author has a handle on sci-fi as a genre.
I would recommend this book to any lover of sci-fi, but I would also recommend it anyone wanting to try out sci-fi for the first time. Fun and entertaining, Nietz has done a good job balancing the genres he’s mashed together, making the book approachable to readers. The book is clean with no language or sex. Romance is clean and mostly among married couples. Faith is present in the Amish culture and in the testimony of one character without being preachy. The violence avoids gore.
I will confidently recommend this to friends. And yes, I’ll let my teenagers read it.
Available on Amazon.
No disclaimer. I did not receive anything from the author, nor was I requested to write this review.