Tony Martin reviews your life: Lorelei Bell’s “Vampire Ascending”

By Tony Martin

Inspired people are everywhere in this town, and Lorelei Bell is one of them.

I first met Bell on a Huskie Bus, and she recognized me from the paper and asked me to review her book, Vampire Ascending.

However, Lorelei isn’t a student here. She drives the Route 2 bus, and has been driving for NIU for over a dozen years.

At first, I was hesitant, because the vampire genre is so saturated that having a book succeed is somewhat difficult, to say the least. However, Bell is not only published, but her book is available on Amazon, and she has done in-store signings for Borders and the like. Not a bad gig, if you can get it.

It should go without saying that Bell must be a decent writer for her to have made it as far as she has in the genre.

However, Vampire Ascending is quite the story, genre aside. Bell’s voice is active without being overbearing, intelligent without being condescending and a breath of fresh air in a genre that will, at its apex, be remembered for birthing some sparkly British super model vampires who wants to save it for marriage (yeah, I’ve seen the Twilight movies, deal with it). Her characters are three-dimensional and have the moments of indecision and confusion that most characters lack.

Bell refuses to fall into pre-teen vampire fiction, and instead delves into the gritty, violent, dark and sexual world of Anne Rice’s vampires (before she got all religious and her writing lost focus). As more of a zombie fan myself, I actually found protagonist Sabrina Strong’s tale compelling, which was surprising to me. Bell’s story has vampires existing in our reality, instead of some hypothetical alternate universe, and it works.

I spent my spring break this year reading this book for fun whenever I had a chance, and I feel better for it. Localized art, especially literature, allows the reader to make schematic connections, even if they have never met the writer or been to the places being written about. Lorelei Bell’s Vampire Ascending is a lot of fun, even for those who’s interest in the vampire literature genre ranges from “scarce” to “none.”