Welcome to my Blogger page, thank you for visiting. This is where I will share my reviews of books, movies and other things I enjoy. If you would like to see my ramblings, fanfiction and other general posts, please visit my Livejournal: beren_writes. Visit my pages to learn about me and my books.
Top set of links above are external links, second set are pages local to the blog.

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Oh it's just like ...

Y'know what really frustrates me? When a media outlet or reviewer says 'It's just like xxxxxxx...'

Don't get me wrong, I've no problem with reviews that say things like 'and this angle reminded me of xxxxx'; it's when a reviewer compares a film or book to another because of one aspect and doesn't see the rest. I've done the first thing myself on many occasions, for example, if you read my review of Vampyre Nation you'll see that I compare it to Blade II, because there were parts that made me point at the screen at the similarity  but that's not all it it was about. It's definitely not a clone of Blade II, it just uses some of the tropes that Blade II did very well.

I've heard it said there are only seven basic plots, but since the internet can't seem to agree on what they are I suspect there are a few more than that, but it makes sense there are a limited number. What makes every story different is how the plot is implemented.
Not every story with vampires and teenagers is Twilight, in fact a lot of them were around before Twilight, so please don't make me stake you by dismissing everything vampire as a Twilight clone.

I've seen some fiction compared to Twilight before now when there aren't even any teenagers in it, just some of the fanged ones that don't remotely sparkle.

Not every spy is James Bond; not every wizard is Gandalf; not every telepath is Charles Xavier.

The spy might drive an Aston Martin, the wizard might have long white hair and a beard and the telepath might be bald, but that doesn't meant that's all they are.

Okay, so sometimes the association is deliberate *side-eyes The Asylum and their mockbusters*. If you have never heard of the Asylum, what they often do is pick the latest big blockbuster movie and make their own version straight to DVD. But even these have their own story line and characters (otherwise the Asylum would have been sued to hell and back by now :)). Guess which blockbuster the title to the right was taking off.

It's not comparisons that annoy me, it is when the comparison is as far as it goes. It is more than obvious that sometimes a reviewer hasn't even read or watched what they are actually reviewing. What they've done is skimmed and then decided the tiny parts they did consume were exactly like something else.

If the item under review is indeed a clone with the serial numbers rubbed off such comparisons are useful, when it's not, which is the majority of the time, it just misleading and frustrating. Just because one thing in a genre is popular, it does not mean all of that genre can be shoved into the same tiny pigeon-hole.

Not every vampire book is Twilight, not every erotic novel is Fifty Shades of Grey, not every alien is E.T..

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

The Blogging from A to Z Challenge

I'm doing The Blogging From A to Z April Challenge one and a half times this year :). I'm doing it on this blog where I will be doing the whole alphabet and on Fantasy Boys XXX which is an adult rated blog I co-run with my sister where I will be doing half the month. That blog is for erotic male/male fiction as you may have gathered by the name.

I have decided on the topics for this blog which are totally random and will be as follows:

April
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
01
A
Android
02
B
Bard
03
C
Cakes
04
D
Death
05
E
Effect
06
F
Favourite
07
/
08
G
Giggle
09
H
Harry Potter
10
I
Imagination
11
J
James McAvoy
12
K
Krypton
13
L
Love
14
/
15
M
Marvel
16
N
Natasha
17
O
Otherworldly
18
P
Publishing
19
Q
Q
20
R
Romance
21
/
22
S
Sex
23
T
Tom Hiddleston
24
U
Unicorn
25
V
Vampire
26
W
Werewolf
27
X
Xenomorph
28
/
29
Y
Yellow
30
Z
Zeus

I have started writing them, but I do need to get my bottom in gear to finish them. Don't worry when it says sex for S; it's not going to be anything explicit, just a discussion of the topic and the affect it has on fiction.

Over on Fantasy Boys XXX we're doing Drabbleroticby posting a drabble*  every weekday and Saturday in April.


The days marked in pink below are mine. I've already written the drabbles, but not the posts to go with them yet.
April
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
01
A
Aliens
02
B
Bonds
03
C
Cock
04
D
Danger
05
E
Egyptology
06
F
Flowers
07
/
08
G
Gods
09
H
Horn
10
I
Incubus
11
J
Joy Riding
12
K
Kissing
13
L
Lycanthropy
14
/
15
M
Magic
16
N
Necromancer
17
O
Orchestra
18
P
Phantom
19
Q
Quiet
20
R
Robot
21
/
22
S
Sorcerer
23
T
Turning
24
U
Unknown
25
V
Vampire
26
W
Wings
27
X
XXX
28
/
29
Y
Yes
30
Z
Zoo

*'So, what is a drabble anyway?' we hear some of you ask. And the answer is, a drabble is a piece of prose of (exactly) 100 words. 

Friday, 22 February 2013

Tip: How to ice a cake and not make a mess of the cake board :)


Y'know how drizzle or pouring icing/frosting always seems to make a mess of the lovely shiny cake board? If you're feeling brave you can ice the cake on something else then move it, but with sticky icing or a really large cake this can be a nightmare.

There is a simple way to avoid both problems (I think I picked this up from a TV chef, possibly Barefoot Contessa):

All you do it put pieces of grease proof/parchment paper around and just under the edges of the cake. Then you can make a mess and once you're done, remove the paper and the board still looks lovely.

Word of warning, if your icing has pooled, use a spatula or knife to separate the superfluous icing from the cake before pulling away the paper, or you might pull away some that is attached to your cake.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

Recipe: Mimi's Pound Cake


I made three pound cakes yesterday, well two and a half really, because I'm making my mother-in-law's birthday cake. I need so many because it's going to be shaped :). Today I realised I had shared this recipe on LJ, but not over here.

My friend sarahsan on LJ gave me this recipe and it is truly wonderful. Originally it's from this website: http://www.dotfrank.com/

It is called Mimi's Pound Cake and is suitable for lots of different toppings, the ones below are Caramel and Chocolate Ganache, both of which are wonderful with it.

This is a piccie of the cake the first time I made it back in 2009 with the Caramel icing :)

It has never failed to please how ever many times I make it. I shall post a piccie of the birthday cake once it is done.

The Cake
Ingredients

  • 3 cups plain flour
  • 2 sticks (230g) salted butter
  • 3 cups sugar (I used caster = superfine)
  • 1 cup heavy whipping (double) cream
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 tbl spns vanilla extract
  • a little oil for greasing the tin

Equipment

  • 1 large mixing bowl
  • electric hand whisk or mixer
  • silicon spatula or metal spoon
  • Tube pan (Bundt pan)
  • sieve
  • Two medium size bowls
  • measuring implements


To Make The Cake

  1. Preheat to over to 325F/165C
  2. Measure out the flour into one medium bowl, then sieve into the other medium bowl - repeat this twice so the flour is well aerated.
  3. Cream together the butter and the sugar until they are light and fluffy (i.e. the mixture is a light colour and all the sugar has been mixed in very well). This can be done in the mixer, with a hand whisk or with a wooden spoon.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time. Beat in each egg until it is combined, but do not over whisk it.
  5. Blend in one cup of flour (use the hand whisk or the mixer)
  6. Blend in 1/2 cup of the double cream
  7. Repeat the two previous steps
  8. Add the last of the flour and beat until it is mixed in completely.
  9. Using a metal spoon or the spatula fold in the vanilla (folding is where you use a cutting motion through the mixture and then fold it over on itself to keep in the air)
  10. Put the oil in your tin, rub it around with a piece of kitchen paper to grease the inside.
  11. Put the batter into the greased tin and drop onto a hard surface to make sure the are no air pockets in the cake. You may have to spread the batter using the spatula to make sure it is flat.
  12. Put the cake in the oven and bake for 1h and 15 mins, or until the cake is brown on top and just beginning to come away from the sides of the pan. It is also a good idea to test it with a skewer to make sure it is not still molten inside.
  13. Once the cake is cooked, remove it from the oven and leave it to stand for ten minutes before turning onto a wire rack to cool.
  14. Leave to cool completely before icing it.

For the Caramel Icing
Ingredients

  • One box of light brown sugar (now I have no idea what size a box is in the US, I used approx 500g)
  • 3/4 cup whipping cream (I used some of the double cream I used for the cake)
  • 1 stick (115g) butter (I used salted)

Equipment

  • Large saucepan
  • wooden spoon
  • balloon whisk
  • small bowl of cold water

To Make the Caramel Icing

  1. Place all the ingredients in the saucepan and mix so the cream and the sugar roughly combine
  2. Over a low heat melt them all together and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally with the wooden spoon
  3. Allow to bubble for about five mins (stirring regularly) until the mixture makes soft balls in the bowl of cold water (vaguely putty like).
  4. Take off the heat and beat until the mixture thickens and it has lost its glossy shine and will coat the back of a spoon.
  5. Pour over the cake and allow to run down the sides (keep pouring to fill in the gaps - you can spread it, but it looks better poured). If the icing becomes too thick to pour add a little water to thin it back again.
For the Chocolate Ganache
Ingredients
  • 300g good dark chocolate
  • 300ml double (heavy) cream
  • 1 tblsp dark rum (optional)
Equipment

  • Medium saucepan
  • knife or chopper
  • chopping board
  • medium bowl
  • spoon
To Make the Chocolate Ganache
  1. Chop the chocolate and place in the bowl.
  2. Heat the cream and bring to the boil.
  3. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and mix until all the chocolate had melted into the cream to form a smooth ganache.
  4. Stir in the rum if using.
  5. Leave the ganache to cool slightly before pouring over the cake.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Writing conditions etc...

Now I know some writers thrive on stress and emotional turmoil and all sorts of things like that, but I have to say that, categorically, I do not. I don't require everything to be perfect to write, but there are some conditions under which I write incredibly badly.

The reason I started thinking about this is that at the moment I have a cold. It's getting better, but I have been left with a raging cough that is keeping me awake a night. That leaves me tired and lethargic during the day, which is making writing very hard. I'm making myself do it, but every word is a struggle. It is as if my brain just doesn't want to work properly and is refusing to come up with the right words in the right order.

I'm hoping this cough will bugger off soon, so that I can get back to my normal schedule.

I also have trouble writing when my darling husband is away on business. The odd night away I can cope with, but every now and then he goes off to China for a week and I find that really hard. I think it may be sleeping again, because whilst he's away I don't sleep well at all.

When he has one of these trips I always start off thinking I will be majorly productive with no distractions. I can sit and write and have something to concentrate on while he is away, so it should be perfect. It never is. By about day four I am incapable of writing anything decent at all. However, somewhat surprisingly, I can still do cover art, which makes no sense at all; possibly it's just my verbal brain which starts shutting down?

Usually I don't have to be in any particular mood to write a particular genre; I can write the blackest horror when I'm in a fabulous mood, or the lightest humour when all I want to do is throw things. There is only one exception to this; sexually explicit scenes. I have to be in the right mood to write those and not because the words won't come, but because the right words won't happen if I'm not in the right head space.

I think the worse thing there can possibly be about a sex scene, even above being badly written, is being boring. Slot A, tab B kind of stuff. At least if a badly written sex scene has emotion in it, it can add to the overall picture of the story, even if it is painful to read, a boring one does nothing but turn the reader to watching paint dry for entertainment.

So, now you know some of my writing hangups, what are yours? Do you have to be happy to write romance, or sad to write horror, or anything like that?

And readers, do you have to be in a particular mood to read a particular genre, or do you just devour any and all fiction when you find it?

Friday, 15 February 2013

So about these Blog Hop things ...

I really enjoyed the Vampire Bite Blog Hop yesterday, so I signed up for another one, which is a wee big bigger. It's called the A to Z Challenge and it's a little bit crazy. The idea is that for every day in April that is not a Sunday I will make a post and each day is letter themed. Soph's also signed us up with Fantasy Boys XXX because she's mental like that! ;)


The Schedule
April
SunMonTueWedThuFriSat
01
A
02
B
03
C
04
D
05
E
06
F
07
/
08
G
09
H
10
I
11
J
12
K
13
L
14
/
15
M
16
N
17
O
18
P
19
Q
20
R
21
/
22
S
23
T
24
U
25
V
26
W
27
X
28
/
29
Y
30
Z

So yes, time to write some blog posts I suppose and get them all scheduled up in time for April.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Vampires of Myth and Legend (100Things #14)

Hello and welcome. This is my post for the Vampire Bite Blog Hop. BTW - there's free stuff at the bottom of this entry :). Thanks to Jolie du Pre of Precious Monsters for running this blog hop.

I am Tasha and I'm a full time author and something of a vampire fan, just ask my friends :), so when I saw this Blog Hop I just had to sign up. There are quite a few posts about vampires on this blog already, so if you'd like to see them just check out the Vampire tag by clicking here. I'd love to chat if you fancy leaving a comment.

Vampires exist in fiction, myth and folklore in so many different forms that it's hard to keep up. Most westerners when they hear the word vampire think of Dracula thanks to good old Bram Stoker, or, more recently, Edward Cullen. These are your modern vampires, very good for coming of age and sexually charged stories, but there are many more types of vampire, mostly not so pretty.


I love looking up vampire lore, because it makes creating characters so much fun. As a writer I can take a bit from here, a bit from there and basically do just about anything I want. So let me share with you some of the interesting vampires from around the world (they have some great names as well). By the way this is in no way an exhaustive list, just some of my favourites.

Let's start close to home in Europe. There is the fearsome Nachzehrer, a German vampire who devours its own shroud and feasts on its own flesh in the grave while it draws the life force out of its relatives causing them to waste away. The nachzehrer leaves its coffin to visit its family in the shape of a pig and drinks their blood. Its name means "afterwards (nach) devourer/sapper of energy (zehrer)". Myths say that to kill a nachzehrer you have to place a coin in its mouth and chop off its head. The strangest thing about a nachzehrer, however, is that it has the habit of lying in its grave holding one thumb in the opposite hand, always keeping its left eye open.

Poland now, and they have the Upier, a vampire which will steal your heart. It can consume vast amounts of blood using its barbed tongue and will only come out during the hours of noon until midnight. It is supposed to sleep bathed in blood and has an unquenchable thirst. It can be killed in the traditional way of a stake through the heart and beheading. What is interesting about this legend is to become immune a human can mix vampire blood with flour and then eat the blood bread made from this mixture.

The Russian vampire, Strigoii has the same open left eye as the nachzehrer while it is transforming into a vampire after death. Strigoii can shapeshift into cats, dogs and sheep and even handsome young men to prey on young women. The female version is strigoica and these are dead vampires, living vampires are moroii. A stake through the heart is the traditional way of killing one of these monsters.

Then you have the most dangerous vampire of all, the Slovakian Nelapsi who can destroy whole villages at a time. They have two hearts, one for their own soul, one for the soul of the demon that gives them their powers. They are strongest when in a holy place, so no cowering in churches, and if one is climbing the bell tower they can kill with a single glance. They are incredibly strong and fast, their skin is white and tough and their clothes are indestructible. The only way to prevent them rising is to nail their hair, limbs and clothing to their coffin with blackthorn nails while they sleep by day, and then set them and it on fire with holy oil. Even that's not guaranteed.

Moving away from Europe there is the Khang-Shi, a demon vampire from China. They are tall and covered in white or green hair from head to toe. They have huge fangs, long sharp claws and terrible red eyes, all the better to hunt you with. Some of them can even fly. Destruction for these demons comes from lightning, so ask the local thunder god for help, and they can be trapped in their graves by sprinkling rice or red peas, which they must count.

How about the Asanbosam, an African vampire from The Ivory Ghost, Togo and Ghana? This vampire hangs from trees using the hooks it has for feet and grabs you as you walk underneath it. It has iron teeth with which to eat you. Being an equal opportunities vampire, it can be male or female.

Then there's one of my favourites from Japan: the Nukekubi, which means detachable neck. I remember reading about this in a book when I was only a youngster and it stuck with me. During the day these vampires look perfectly normal, but at night their heads detach from their bodies and fly off in search of human prey. They scream at their victims, terrifying them, and then swoop in and bite. Their one weakness is, if the head cannot find the body to reattach by sunrise, they die and the only way to tell one from a normal human during the day is the line of red symbols around the neck where it detaches. Definitely not as easy to spot as the Khang-shi.

To the Philippines next and the dreadful manananggal. By day she is a beautiful woman, by night a flying fiend who preys mostly on sleeping children and pregnant women. She can separate the top of her body from the bottom and sprouts bat-like wings. She drinks her victims' blood using her long, thin tongue which she pushes through the roofs of houses, but she can be repelled by a sting ray tail fashioned into a whip (Buntot pagi). By smearing salt, crushed garlic or ash on top of the standing torso left behind when the manananggal hunts, she can be prevented from reattaching and will then die.

There are many, many more, all just as fascinating and if you wander round the legends of Europe you can find just about every trait of Dracula. The best thing about vampire legends is their diversity; you couldn't ask for better inspiration for fiction.

I often stick with Dracula-type vampires when I'm writing, because often my characters are romantic leads and most of those above are not overly attractive, but I do love to pick up bits from here and there. I write original fiction and fanfic and I have to admit I've explored much more in fanfic. It is my goal to slide vampires into every fandom I have ever written for.

Thank you so much for reading and to thank you for taking the time to visit my blog I have a free story for you. It is adult rated, male/male, post apocalyptic with vampires and demons and quite a bit of sex. Yes I went with the traditional, handsome young man type of vampire because, frankly, I can't see an asanbosam making a very engaging lead character. I will leave the other types of vampire for when I'm writing horror fiction.

FREE STUFF

Please remember this short story contains adult content and is NSFW. The link goes to my Livejournal because I don't put any explicit content directly on this blog, but there's lots of it over there.

Link to The Trade - when a vampire and a sex demon come together to trade what each needs the sparks are bound to fly.   This story is no longer available for download. I hope everyone who read it for free enjoyed it.

Once the blog hop is over, this story will be edited into an eBook for sale from Wittegen Press as part of our new blog Fantasy Boys XXX which is also launching today. If you sign up for the blog newsletter there is another free story for you. Visit the blog to find out more.

I've also written a short fanfic for you all with more vampires also on my Livejournal:
To Forgive, Divine - R, Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter, Abe/Henry
BTW, if you haven't seen this film you should, it's surprisingly good. You can find my review of it here: Review: ALVH

More of my original titles that contain vampires
The Soul Reader Series (two of this series are free from some retailers).
   
Vampires: The New Age
 
Other
       
References:
The Compendium of Vampyres and Other Perilous Creatures, HaperCollins Children's Books, Philip Chidlow, Mary-Jane Knight

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

50 Minutes of Voluptuous Vehicles - A Parody

Now some of you may know that my darling husband Rob is something of a petrol head and hence a big fan of Top Gear. He has a subscription to the magazine and buys the books and the DVDs and watches the show whenever it is on, the whole nine yards. During the first episode of the season Jeremy started extracting the michael from 50 Shades and produced a book called Tremendous Tractors, which Richard then proceeded to read in the style of anything but a children's book.

Well, being a writer, my darling gave me a challenge on that first week, other things came up so it had to be placed on a back burner, but after Sunday's ep with 50 Shades again, this was born. I'm not even sorry ;).



Ricky lived in a nice house on a nice farm and drove a four by four that no muddy puddle could stop. However, his pride and joy was his tremendous tractor. 

It was large and red, had huge headlights and could pull anything. He was so proud of it he had a special number plate made: bravo, zero, zero, bravo, one, three, five. 

It made him very happy to trundle around his farm on his tremendous tractor and he loved to spread his seed in deep furrows, but it made him sad that his best friends could not come and play.

Ricky had two best friends who both had voluptuous vehicles of their own.


Jim was a praiseworthy pilot (as long as it was not cloudy or dark). He had an amazing aeroplane which could fly anywhere with its titanic thrust.

It was long, with a rounded nose and was called a Probe Three, a P3 for short. It too had a special number that Jim said went with the name: November, one, five.


Ricky's other best friend was Jez who had an incredibly cool car. Jez would slip through the narrow lanes with the hard grip of rubber and a low throaty growl. 

It was all very exciting, but Ricky didn't quite understand Jez's number plate: Charlie, zero, Charlie, kilo, five.

One day Ricky was driving his tremendous tractor in one of his fields when he had an ingenious idea. He called Jim and Jez straight away: "Come over, I've had a brilliant brainstorm."

Jim and Jez drove round straight away, Jez picking up Jim in his cool car.

"We should make a television program and call it fifty minutes of voluptuous vehicles," said Ricky.

"That's an incredible idea," Jez said.

"But we don't have anywhere to make it," Jim pointed out (he was a very practical pilot).

"I have the long field," Ricky said, "that has the Dutch barn with the cap surrounded by bushes at the end."

"We could really get up some super speed," Jez agreed.

"It's too wet," Jim said, "and I can't land my amazing aeroplane; it would slip and miss the Dutch barn with the cap. That would be embarrassing."

"We can fix that," Ricky said and smiled a huge smile.

So they did.


First of all they built a roomy runway right down the middle where Jim could land his amazing aeroplane. He had to be very careful about the P3's titanic thrust when he taxied it into the Dutch barn.



Next they built a long, thin track all the way around the runway, going from one end of the long field to the other and back again. 

Jez could career his cool car around it very fast. The slide of rubber on the lubricated track when it was wet was very exciting.

"What primal power," Jez exclaimed as he leapt out of his cool car; "let's put in a stupendous skid pan at the bottom so we can slip the back out all the time."

"Okay," Ricky agreed.

"But..," said Jim, but nobody took any notice.

"And we can add a car park to match on the other side at the same time," Ricky decided and went to work with his tremendous tractor.


When they surveyed their wondrous work they decided it was good and called the television people. Men in suits came and said that it was indeed good and brought a man in white with them. Jez allowed the man in white to drive his cool car around the terrific track very fast and was most impressed.

"Brilliant," said Ricky.

"Superb!" said Jez.

"He's ruining the tyres," said Jim, but no one was paying attention again.

All was good.

"But," said the men in suits, "you must also show vehicles that are not so voluptuous."

"Of course," Ricky, Jim and Jez promised, but they all had their fingers crossed.

So it was that a libidinous legend was born.

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Music: Too Pretty not to post - Yohio


Picked this up from reddwarf75 (thank you so much for posting those vids).
This is Yohio - a very pretty jrocker from Sweden. He's through to the final of the Swedish Eurovision Song Contest competition.
(Here's one bio for him http://www.jpopasia.com/celebrity/yohio/)


He also has other songs out there (wow does he sound like Gackt some times and can he play the guitar):

Our Story (English)


Sky * Limit (Japanese)
it won't embed so here is the URL http://youtu.be/INKCPOQL98c


And he's part of a band called Seremedy (http://seremedy.com/)
This song is called No Escape and it a little harder than his solo stuff. He's also the backing singer and guitarist not the lead vocal. Warning, the video might be triggery for some; it has blood and suffocation in it.




Review: Vampyre Nation aka True Bloodthirst (100Things #13)

Title: Vampyre Nation aka True Bloodthirst
Year: 2012
Cast:

Andrew Lee Potts - Johnny Harker
Heida Reed - Celeste
Claudia Bassols - Katya
Ben Lambert - Nikolai
Neil Jackson - Derricks
Roark Critchlow - Kovacks

Summary: Vampires have come out of the shadows in Romania where a synthetic blood substitute allows humans and vampires to co-exist. However, it's not really working too well. The are blood dealers and vampires willing to buy the blood they sell, only not all vampires can be bothered to pay. The thing is there is something else on the streets now, something far more dangerous than the average pissed off vampire. Hence a cop with a crew of (ex)vampire hunters he pulls out of prison for the job go in to vampire territory to find out what is going on. Everything is not sweetness and light.

First of all, let me point out that I am a huge vampire movie fan and a fan of Andrew Lee Potts as well, so this film had a lot going for it as far as I was concerned before I even watched it. Then it managed to push several of my buttons without even trying, so, yes, I enjoyed it a lot.

However, let's be honest, it's not Shakespeare.

What's good: most of the acting, the main characters, the general plot, the vampires, most of the special effects.

What's bad: some of the plot details, some of the special effects, some of the acting, some of the background characters.

So, yes, very wide groupings there.

The Effects
This is not a high budget blockbuster, it doesn't have the magnificent sets and amazing CGI of Underworld or Twilight, however, it does really well with what it has. The main giant bat like vampire is well done, some of his giant bat like friends are somewhat generic, but it's a damn sight better than more of the SyFy/Asylum movies I have seen in recent years :). The normal vampire special effects, however, are cool.

The Plot
It mostly holds together, in fact it's well thought out, but there are little bits that just don't make sense. I never did quite figure out about the whole vampires being corralled into one area thing they had going on. It didn't really gel, as if it had been tagged on, so the background history of the whole thing was a little dicey. However, the main plot held up rather well.

The one thing I did think though, it drew heavily on Blade II. Very similar plot line in places. There was different background and eventual outcome, but the beginning definitely had me thinking of Blade II, even so far as they had a Blood Pack of three.

The Acting
All of the main cast held their own. There weren't any of those moments when a plank of wood would have been more interesting to watch than the actors on screen. I have a big soft spot for Andrew Lee Potts, but there was just one thing - I never did figure out what his accent was supposed to be :). What was not so great were some of the background characters; they were less than dynamic. However, usually they didn't actually have to do much except die, so there wasn't a huge problem.

The Characters
Well written, rounded characters for all the main ones. There were some clich├ęs thrown in, but not too badly. I liked the people I was supposed to like, engaged with them, spotted the bad guy the moment he stepped onto the screen (but that happens most of the time anyway) and simply enjoyed their interactions. ALP was good as Johnny Harker because he's a bit of a dickhead, but also on to something. Neil Jackson as Derricks was the sympathetic character, tragic background story and all, but he pulled it off really well. At first I thought the girls might just be window dressing, but both Heida Reed and Claudia Bassols had decent parts to play which was great. Then there was Ben Lambert as the main vampire character and can I just say, yum, and on a less shallow note, he turned out to have some depth.

By the end I very much wanted to see more of these characters and their world, which is what says it all for me. No matter what it may have fallen down on during the film, I wanted to write fanfic about these characters when it was finished. That tells me it got into my head. Hence I class this as a good film.