Book review: Tandem

December 30, 2010

Book Reviews, Faith

Evil vampires that kill people. Nice vampires that live at peace with normal humans by feeding on the blood of area wildlife. Clueless folks who are oblivious to all the above.

No, it’s not Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. I’m talking about tandem by Tracey Bateman.

Now, if you’re like me, seeing vampire fiction at your local Christian bookstore may raise eyebrows. I’ve been dismayed by hearing girls at church argue whether a friend should join Team Edward or Team Jacob. To me, vampires — no matter how homogenized for popular consumption — are murderers with fancy teeth.

But while the premise for tandem seems borrowed from Twilight, the author does not import the teen angst and rampant sensuality of that book and movie franchise. There is a strong romantic attraction between a widowed missionary and his high school sweetheart who is struggling to care for her ailing father. But there’s not a lot of lust mixed in with the bloodlust of the vampires threatening the small town in which this novel is set.

Much of the story revolves around Amede Dastillion, a centuries-old vampire who is desperately searching for her wayward sister Eden, who is imprisoned and tormented by an unknown madman. Amede is pulled in opposite directions by the two people (vampires) she loves most. Her father found a relationship with God, then endured a slow, agonizing death when came to see drinking blood as an abomination. Eden feels no guilt whatsoever in killing humans and her very proximity awakens a killing instinct that Amede must battle to resist.

Oh yeah, did I mention the voodoo? The Dastillions are served by generations of assistants from one family because of a voodoo curse.

While this mash-up of horror show plot devices seems over the top, Bateman actually is a very talented writer. She builds suspense masterfully throughout her tale, and makes you care for the characters in tandem. I found myself moved by the plight of the incarcerated Eden even though she had inflicted terror for hundreds of years.

Ultimately, there is some justice and redemption portrayed at the end of the story. But biblical truth is not communicated strongly even by the book’s missionary character. When it comes down to it, a vampire doesn’t have anything in common with the Savior. Vampires take the blood of the innocent to serve themselves. Jesus shed his blood for the guilty to serve them.

6 Responses to “Book review: Tandem”

  1. westwood Says:

    I am very, very sick and tired of the vampire craze. I suppose we will soon move onwards in the cycle… whether it be to zombies, robots, aliens, or monsters.

    Reply

  2. David Wilson Says:

    Good point.

    Although the church should be working to shape the world we live in, often it’s the other way around.

    Reply

  3. Chris Says:

    If people think finding a book like this in a Christian bookstore is a scary thing, they should read some of the “Contemplative Spirituality” works that fill the same shelves.

    Don’t get me wrong. I would rather Christians avoid such topics.

    At the same time, the Mystics are upon us in every denomination and discernment about the dangers of mixing Christian and Eastern practices is sorely lacking.

    Thanks for the review, Dave. I didn’t know that books about these immortal beings were being marketed in Christian circles.

    God’s blessings…

    Reply

  4. Chris Says:

    Couldn’t help myself, Dave. I’m a curious guy.

    I wondered who the author and the publisher were.

    A left-click or two found that “Tracey has been a member of American Christian Fiction Writers since it began and served as its president for nearly two years.”

    I discovered it was published by WaterBrook which publishes Christian stuff.

    You probably already knew this, but WaterBrook’s website says:

    “The WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group is the evangelical/Christian division of Random House, Inc. Random House is the largest publisher of trade books in the world.”

    I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that the book was on sale at Christianbook.com.

    That’s where I read several reviews. They were very mixed.

    You can find them here:

    http://www.christianbook.com/tandem-tracey-bateman/9780307457172/pd/457171

    I’m glad there’s someone out there reviewing books like these. My guess is that books that deal with paranormal subjects will continue to increase.

    I think you are the only guy who will read this book, Dave.

    Unless there’s a guy out there trying to impress his girlfriend.

    Reply

  5. Kevin Sorensen Says:

    I did a review of Bateman’s book, “Thirsty” last fall. I was appalled by it – not because it was a vampire novel, but because it had been marketed as a “Christian vampire” novel. I think the only thing that caused it to earn that stamp of “Christian” was: a division of Multnomah published it (shame on them); a professing Christian author wrote it (shame on her); and, if I remember anything about it (shame on me), one of the characters remembered going to church and “having faith.” Ugh!

    It really is sad when so-called Christian publishers, in a desire to sell books and make a profit, bow to the current idols of contemporary – can I call it this? – culture.

    Reply

    • David Wilson Says:

      Kevin,

      From what I remember, “Tandem” was very much in keeping with your description of “Thirsty.” I guess the publisher was trying to get in on the whole Twilight craze that has gripped so many.

      Any good Christian fiction you can recommend? I’m always looking for a good story where the Gospel shines forth in some way.

      Thanks for your comment,
      Dave

      Reply

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