ARC Review: Stake Sauce – RoAnna Sylver

Book cover: a greyish hand with black-painted finger nails emerges from a black box.ARC 1, IN WHICH: A cute punk-rock vampire and a disabled firefighter-turned-mall-cop with a dark past join forces to battle the forces of evil.

Jude used to leap out of helicopters to rescue/protect people from terrifying infernos. Now, by day, he protects the local mall from rowdy teenagers who ride their skateboards inside. By night, he protects the the parking lot, and the rest of Portland, from undead, bloodsucking creatures of the darkness. Or would if he could find them.

But he’s just about ready to give it up (living with PTSD and pain from the traumatic event that cost him a leg, a friend, and a lot more is hard enough), when something crashes into his life. And his window.

It’s one of these creatures of the darkness – and he’s a lot less scary than expected. More cuddly, with dark fuzzy wings, and neon-bright hair.

His name is Pixie, and he refuses to bite anyone. Assault/murder/draining fluids isn’t punk, even if being a vampire really kind of is. He’s very hungry by now, and the much bigger, meaner, deadlier vamps kick him around on the nightly. Jude would love to find and fight some actual undead bullies. And Pixie could use some help staying… ‘alive.’ Time to make a deal.

Together they fight crime. And maybe even heal.

Of course, life still sucks when you’re a vampire who refuses to suck blood. Fortunately, there’s a really interesting new barbecue restaurant in the mall, with an intriguing new recipe. (We hear that the secret ingredient is… love. No, really.)

I received an ARC of Stake Sauce from the author. I enjoyed RoAnna Sylver’s previous writing, and was intrigued to read a story that had a very different premise (i.e. vampires) than her other work.

This book is #ownvoices for asexual, transgender and poly relationship representation.

The worldbuilding isn’t very detailed, which fits to the narrative style of the text. The story is told in first-person by a character who is not part of the vampire world. Thus, the reader only finds out what the character finds out about the world. This led to a relatively slow pacing. I thought that the pacing suited the writing style. I do however wish that we had found out more about the vampire world, as there were not enough details for me. I wanted to know more about the witch and how she interacts with vampires, and exactly what happened to the vampires in the last few years.

I loved the different, nuanced characters and the development they underwent. The book focusses quite heavily on dealing with loss. This theme is a major part of three characters, and it was interesting to see how different ways of dealing with grief were shown. There’s also a strong focus on consent, which I thought was marvelous!

The chapters have opening illustrations, and I would like to draw the attention of soon-to-be readers to the opening illustration of Act 6. It’s the Lovers tarot card, and instead of showing the usual man-and-woman couple, this one shows 7 different people. I thought that was pretty cool!

I enjoyed Stake Sauce a lot. It wasn’t quite as detailed as I would have wanted it to be, and it wasn’t quite my story. However, I am pretty sure that it will be a five star read for a lot of you!

3 stars

Have you read Stake Sauce? What do you think of RoAnna Sylver’s writing?


5 thoughts on “ARC Review: Stake Sauce – RoAnna Sylver

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