The Monster’s Daughter is the brilliant tale of a vampire’s daughter and it can be appreciated on many levels. For those fans of the Vamp-genre, this novel contains some of the most chilling descriptions of blood lust I have ever read:
She sensed so many new nuances to the world. Around her, she heard the soft pitter-patter of hearts pumping blood through living creatures for miles around. She licked her lips at the thought of all that blood.
As fascinating of a description as this is, this novel is about much more than blood lust. It is a coming of age story for a young woman named Genevieve, or “Ginny” as she is known to her family and friends. We see Ginny’s struggles with realization and eventually acceptance of the man her father has become once he undergoes “the change,” and we follow her as she searches for a normal life amid the torn shards of her own tragic existence. We accompany Ginny as she hangs out with her girlfriends and we smile as she steals moments of freedom and meaning with the love of her life, “Joey.” We laugh with her as she teases her friends, and we sit vigil with her as she lives with a cross above her door to repel the father-vampire who she fears in the dead of night.
If The Monster’s Daughter is read as simply a coming of age story for a heroic young woman (and you will have to read the book to see just how heroic she acts for I refuse to spoil it for you), you will love it. If, however, you read it as an allegory for the life of an abused child and young woman, then you will find great satisfaction and perhaps even catharsis as you read the this amazing first novel by author Deborah Bryan. Any abuse survivor will tell you, as Ginny notes,
Her life was not like a half-hour sitcom where her remaining family would gather around the hearth and share a hearty laugh about how they’d all just misunderstood each other.
Instead, Ginny waited for her father to attack her and take her blood, her life, from her, in the exact way that an abused child waits for the abusive parent to initiate the beatings or the sexual assaults. And through it all, Ginny maintains hope and struggles to fix the broken relationships that rock her life down to its very foundations.
What truly amazed me about The Monster’s Daughter was not the allegorical treatment of abuse. In fact, if this novel were written in merely allegorical terms, the characters would not have been drawn with such complexity. All of the principal characters appear multi-dimensionally and character, not allegory, drives the plot. Ginny makes decisions on the fly and under extreme pressure and this character who we grow to love and respect takes her future into her own hands when she decides to fight back against this man, this monster, who is her father. The manner in which Ginny, or Genevieve, chooses to fight the Monster was as unexpected and audacious as this reader, for one, could have imagined, and rather than spoil the plot for you, dear reader, I strongly recommend that you purchase The Monster’s Daughter and observe Genevieve’s desperate battle for yourself.