The main theme of fiction, of writing in general, is that nothing is original. That everything is exploitation, and all ideas are available from the corner whore. I’ve never subscribed to the idea, though one cannot help but notice trends at times. If I had to boil it down, the current trends include Young Adult fiction, zombies, dystopian worlds, and fairytale retellings. Vampires have also been a particular trend that has rode the wave of Twilight furry, and still remains steady today. In the case of Julie Hutching’s vampires, though, you’re in for a treat, as the reader becomes exposed to the most original concept in vampire fiction in some time.
The stand outs in vampire literature are so because they are clearly defined by originality, using and manipulating established standards to make the reader feel like they’re experiencing something completely new. For example, in I Am Legend, the late-great Richard Mattheson presented us with the “plague vampire,” as did Justin Cronin. John Ajvide Lindqvist created the young, frightening vampire, while Stephen King just, plain, scared the fuck out of us in Salem’s Lot. Julie presents the vampire of destiny, the vampire marked by time as needing to exist to bring balance to the world’s evil. When the reveal comes in the book, you’ll literally shit your pants. Okay, maybe not literally, but the metaphorical shit in your pants will be metaphorically real and you will metaphorically need to take a shower.
At the center of the story is Eliza Morgan, a girl that doesn’t seem to fit in anywhere, and for a good reason as you find out through the course of the book. At a black-tie party, she meets Nicholas French, owner of a local book store, and Eliza’s new obsession. Together, they lead the reader through a vampiric order that works for the good of mankind instead of against it. Their love story is tied to their fate within this world, situated in the snow-swept town of Ossipee, New Hampshire.
The vampires have unique abilities as well, including shields, and force-fields to hide themselves from human view. Nicholas’ methods of discerning his intended victims can kill him alone.
Aside from the wonderful plot devices, these vampires never forget the importance of the human element. In most vampire fiction, humanity is the bystander to forces beyond their control and understanding, but Julie gives the vital needed human element new blood.
Running Home will have you entranced from the first word to the last sentence. Its deep mythology, fateful characters and unique interpretation on a long standing tradition is the new benchmark in vampire fiction, among the defining greats like Stoker, King, and Cronin. With a sequel on the way, one can only wonder where the story goes from here, until then we can “run home.” The place where we all belong, and the place where Julie makes us feel comfortable.