Once Bitten, Twice Shy
OK. I totally admit it. I’m a sucker (bloodsucker?) for vampire novels. I admit that I’m a Twilight fan. Not the crazy stay-up-all-night for the premier fangirl, but I liked the books a lot, especially when I first read them. I read them more for Edward and the Cullen family than for Bella. But my issue with heroines is for a different post.
But it’s not just the sparkly undead. I’m a fan of the original too. No, not “The Originals” although I have been known to watch “The Vampire Diaries”. I’m referring to Bram Stoker’s dark tale.
Last year I was introduced to the Amish variety and more recently a redeemed one. One of my favorite books of 2014 is a title that’s been getting both good and dubious press including a nod from Jimmy Fallon. Kerry Nietz’s very good take on a genre mashup never seen before Amish Vampires in Space. Or AViS if you sit at the cool table. The cool table being the one where we wear ironic t-shirts and Converse All-Stars (see last week’s post for that reference). In AViS, the vampires are the evil creatures of myth where the only good vampire is a dead vampire.
I just finished another fantastic vampire novel. It too is a Christian title, and another excellent read. But it takes a different tack. Vampires are evil but are they any more sinful than your garden variety mortal human? That’s the premise of Ben Wolf’s Blood for Blood. What I loved about it was the double layer Raven’s story told. On the surface, it’s part-horror, part-western suspense with bandits, marshals, and a vampire. Why would a revival preacher put his family at risk by taking in someone who has to kill to survive?
But it goes so much deeper. Substitute the word “vampire” for anything from “homosexual” or “prostitute” to “murderer” or “thief”, and you see why this man is so generous to Raven who he sees as redeemable even if Raven believes he’s souless and damned for all eternity. Ben spells out the difference between the “immortal” life of a vampire with that of the “eternal” life of the saved. He makes a case that will forever cement the idea that there can be such a thing as a Christian vampire. And I’m quite thankful for that.
But I’m even more thankful with how Ben handles Raven’s struggles between his redeemed self and his vampire nature. He still fights bloodlust. Garlic, daylight, flowing water, and holy objects are still off limits. Raven retains his strength and resistance to death, but is he still “immortal” as well as “eternal”? The transformation of Raven after his conversion is a beautiful reminder that we may have been baptized into a new life but that is only the beginning. Like Bunyan’s Christian and our own lives, belief is only passing through the wicket gate. We still have a long road of following Christ. And it’s not easy.