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Still Life by Michael Montoure
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Still Life

by Michael Montoure

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Showing 5 of 5
My Take: **** Warning, there will be some spoilers*** The author takes a very interesting approach to vampires. His vampires don't have fangs. They have regular human teeth. When Nikki is turned, she becomes a pet to a human who cuts himself and feeds her through the wound in her neck that was made when she was turned, and the experience is described like a drug. I have to admit, I didn't care for this interesting new take on vampires. Not because I think vampires should be sexy. Anyone who has ever read The Hunters knows I am think vampire should be killed not kissed.

But these vampires as pets are just tragic. It is just so bizarre. I get how he wove the story, and I thought he did an amazing job with that! But this type of tragic vampire just isn't my cup of tea. If I want to read tragic vampires, Anne Rice did a wonderful job of that. This type makes it too easy for the vampire posers that he references in the beginning to believe they have become vampires.

Or maybe I am just a codgy old woman tired of people messing with the lore of my childhood ;) That being said, this story is amazingly written. The vivde imagery and wordplay in moments are astounding. I have read a lot of stories about junkies and the way he paints the high is very reminiscent. I have read lots of stories about abusive relationships and the patterns he holds to echo disturbingly.

I did read a pre-edited copy. (It got lost in my stack, for which I feel absolutely awful!) so I won't comment too much on the editing, because a lot of it would have gotten caught. However, a few things I will note because I noticed in the preview of it on Amazon that these didn't look like they were changed.

1. I found it annoying that Nikki used "was all" A LOT! But wrote it off as a character flaw, until other characters started doing it too. Then I realised it was a writing flaw. One that drove me absolutely bonkers!

2. The layout choices really bugged me. The way he capitalized the whole first sentence of new sections was very distracting and pulled me out of the story. I had never seen it done before and I am not sure why he made that choice. At first I thought it may have been his way around Smashwords meat grinder, but the book is not on Smashwords. I still cannot fathom the logic behind that choice.

But overall, it was a well-crafted story. If you are open to different versions of vampires, enjoy dark tragic stories, and beautiful imagery about dark things, then this is a book you should read. ( )
  HeidiAngell | Jul 29, 2017 |
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Nikki Velvet was bereft after the suicide of Gabe.

She could not get past it. It haunted her and pissed her off.

Nothing glamorous about it. “You just looked like a fucking idiot.”

“I found a way out, a way to beat the game.” – Nikki said to herself.

She had no idea the price to be paid for her decision.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

The cover captured me immediately. Nice work, Michael. The blurb did not prepare me for the story. Michael did an excellent job of writing from a woman’s perspective. The story contained between the pages is not your run of the mill bite and run vampire party. It is a psychological journey of Nikki Velvet’s descent into hell, that had my skin crawling.

If you want to know why someone may want to become a vampire and the process they go through to make it happen, meet Nikki Velvet.

The description of her change from human to vampire was graphic and detailed. Her attempts to grab a breath of air, not realizing breathing was no longer necessary, had me holding my breath. Her mind was foggy, her limbs unwilling to move to her commands, she was unable to speak. Finally she stops struggling, letting go and drifting away.

I couldn’t help but laugh out loud when she looks at the toilet and realizes she would never need that again. And books – no limitations. She has forever to read.

“I gave you what you wanted. It might not be everything you hoped it would be, but its just what you asked for all the same.”

The physical, emotional and psychological torments Nikki goes through had me shivering with the creepiness, as I TRIED to walk in her shoes. She had never anticipated the toll that turning into a vampire would take on her and the torture Sylvan (a human) would put her through. Creepy Paul was always lingering around the edges of her life.

Michael describes Nikki’s experience after she jumps off the bridge and I wanted to be there – floating in the water, drifting, letting it take me wherever the current flowed, no need to breathe. Is that what it is like to be a mermaid? Is it like flying?

Michael Montoure’s Still Life is all about Nikki – being free of life, being maimed and tortured, used and abused. As she navigates the way through her madness to a new life, I cringe and cower, while I question how it will end.

This was hard for me to rate. I can’t pinpoint what was missing, but Still Life didn’t get me to the level of WOW. But, I had not read anything quite like this,.Kudos to Michael for giving me a fresh and unique insight into human and vampire interaction. His characters are well defined, making me hate most of them. And Nikki – what can I say about someone so lost that they would die to become immortal?

I received this book from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review. I enjoyed the journey and I look forward to reading more of his work. ( )
  sherry69 | Jan 25, 2016 |
This is a full length novel with a different take on the vampire stories. The author has an amazing ability to pull you in and keep you turning the pages. It was easy to read and the storyline was well developed. I am looking forward to reading more from this author. ( )
  sportzmomof5 | Dec 13, 2013 |
When I first read the short story `One Last Sunset' in Michael's anthology called Slices, I was dying to know more about Nikki Velvet! So I was super excited to see she was going to get her very own novel and I was finally going to get more back story and find out what happened to her...and this gave it to me!
It's an interesting take on the whole `making' of a vampire...you could really feel the need and desire and the love/hate relationship involved in any kind of addiction...the "I hate you with a passion, but I can't seem to see a way to survive without you for another second...and I hate you for making me want you" thing! It's so well done in this book! I found myself both frustrated with Nikki for being so naïve at times in her expectations...and at others I'm excited and cheering her on to go, fight, do it!!
The writing, as usual, is so well done that your interest is held beginning to end. I've thoroughly enjoyed Michael Montoure's short stories, and though this book isn't as quite as creepy as some of the shorts, it's satisfying in a different way...because here you get a whole fulfilled adventure! ( )
  dolphinchick | Jul 18, 2013 |
I've read (and loved) Montoure's short stories before. Still Life is full length, so it was different than those but it was also very enjoyable and interesting. We've all read stories about monsters--vampires in particular--but Montoure has a weird and twisted way of presenting them; his vampires are different. There were a lot of unexpected plot twists which kept the book entertaining and exciting. Not too creepy like some of his short stories were but very, very well written; really great pace too. Overall I really liked it. ( )
  ritakhavich | Jul 15, 2013 |
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With the suicide of her best friend, burned-out rock star Nikki Velvet came face-to-face with death, and she’d do anything not to face it again. When a mysterious stranger offers her immortality, she believes she’s found what she’s been searching for, but it’s nothing like she’s imagined ….

Sylvan, the beautiful stranger who’d promised to make her a vampire, turned out to be all too human. He keeps his promise — but only to leave her weak, helpless, and addicted to his blood.
Now, trapped in her new life with him — and with Paul, the vampire she’s replaced as Sylvan’s favorite — Nikki struggles to rise above Sylvan’s control and Paul’s jealousy, and to find a way out with the help from the ghosts of her past.
But it might not be so simple. When Sylvan risks the retribution of the enigmatic Shadow Market, Nikki has to find her own fate, before time runs out for all of them ….
STILL LIFE is a story of loss, isolation, the things we mistake for love, and the way back out of the dark.
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