Unnatural

Michael Griffo, Author
Michael Griffo. Kensington, $9.95 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-0-7582-5338-5
Reviewed on: 04/18/2011
Release date: 03/01/2011
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-306-68289-3
Prebound-Sewn - 498 pages - 978-0-606-23539-6
Open Ebook - 352 pages - 978-0-7582-6793-1
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In this opener to the Archangel Academy series, playwright Griffo borrows many hallmarks of the vampire genre, but with a notable difference. Gay American teenager Michael escapes a life of bullying and abuse when his emotionally disintegrating mother commits suicide and his estranged father enrolls him at Archangel Academy, an all-boys English boarding school. There, he meets the enigmatic, sexy Ronan, and the two boys discover an immediate, mutual attraction. But their newfound relationship is threatened by Michael's disapproving father; Ronan's malevolent ex-boyfriend, Nakamo; and the inscrutable machinations of the vampires who use Archangel Academy for their own ends. As Michael becomes a pawn between two different vampire clans, as represented by Ronan and Nakamo, he has to choose his destiny, if it's not chosen for him first. Unfortunately, this brooding romantic epic is strained by jarring shifts in point-of-view, implausible melodrama, and heavy-handed messages. What could have been a much-needed shot of diversity in the field comes off instead as overwrought and derivative. Ages 14–up (Mar.)
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