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Vampire of the Mist by Christie Golden
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Vampire of the Mist (1991)

by Christie Golden

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I've always been intrigued by the Ravenloft setting, so I picked up a few of the TSR novels set there. I was expecting something subpar; while Golden's writing wasn't fantastic (this was her first novel, too), there were enough interesting nuances that made it a worthwhile read. ( )
  wordsampersand | Aug 30, 2010 |
This is the first novel of a series based on the D&D game Ravenloft, and any bias I had toward video game novels is now completely gone, because this book is amazing. I promise you don't need to know anything about the games to appreciate it, I sure didn't.

Jander Sunstar is a golden elf from Evermeet, and he's been a vampire for 500 years. The day after the woman he loves is killed and he swears vengeance, he is magically transported to the secret country of Ravenloft which is ruled by the mysterious Count Strahd von Zarovich (read: Dracula.)

This is a seamless blend of gothic horror and high fantasy, combining the best elements of both. Jander is at once tragically villainous and sympathetically heroic, and his story is so subtle. The core of the novel is his relationship with Strahd, the flaws in both of them and how they're trying to manipulate each other, the sympathetic parts of each of them and why they do the things they do. But still one is firmly the hero and the other is firmly the villain.

You know, I never really understood why vampires whine the way they do. I knew, but I didn't understand. Now I do. The speed with which time passes for (and passes by) Jander is striking... One day he's talking to a young woman and the next time he leaves the castle he meets her child. He didn't even realize it had been thirty years, and every time he looks around someone else he knew is dying. There are so many things he loved that were taken away when he became a vampire, like the colors that you never see at night. All you see are shades of gray, and eventually that's all you see morally as well as physically. I understand how terrible it must be now, and at the same time Strahd and Jander are truly frightening.

I was frustrated for all the right reasons reading this book: I was desperate to know what was coming and unable to figure it out. I would have plot epiphanies and await events eagerly, only to discover the characters were going in a completely different direction that was even better. Every element is in its place. ( )
  FFortuna | Dec 7, 2009 |
I got this book lend by a friend of mine in the mid 90s and I started reading it with a mixed feeling. How interesting could a Ravenloft book be, I just finished some more Dragonlance back then... After the first pages I was intrigued. I also bought the book after finishing it, for the later reread.

It's not your standard (D&D) fantasy novel where a group of heroes goes save the world, but we have enough of those anyway.
The, slightly over the top designed, main character is a gold-elf that has become a vampire.
The relationship between the main character and his "advisary" is a nice change, as well as the portraying of the internal struggle.

If you like fantasy and gothic, I'd recommend this book. If you're looking for a fantasy action novel, do yourself a favor and skip it.

All in all, a book that turned out a positive suprise. ( )
  bdijkstra | Apr 23, 2009 |
This books best characteristic is its protagonist, Jander Sunstar. A gold-elf from Faerun and former worshipper of Lathander, the God of the Sun, he is the perfect tragic candidate for becoming a vampire. Also, Golden develops an interesting and dynamic relationship between Jander and the antagonist, Strahd von Zarovich, and she does this by framing both characters in terms of their pasts. Because the reader gets to learn where Jander and Strahd come from--historically speaking--their motivations take on a complexity and richness that, despite their dynamism, are easily grasped by the reader. She skillyfully utilizes the backdrop of Barovia and Castle Ravenloft as well, melding fantasy tropes with horror tropes almost seamlessly. The novel's only weakness is the unresolved and somewhat hastily wrapped up ending. ( )
  jsnrcrny | May 6, 2008 |
What are you doing reading a review on a roleplaying-inspired novel? Did you click to see all my reviews or are you really interested? Curious…

Okay, guys; this is the first book in a series of often mediocre fiction novels set in the Ravenloft setting. I have to be honest with you, I hated reading it for most of its duration; I kind of joylessly devoured it for the information on Strahd and Barovia. It has a paradox that many of the early Ravenloft books suffer, particularly Knight of the Black Rose (in fact, the two books sort of subsist on the same plot, lame). The geniuses down at TSR thought they could drum up interest in their new gothic horror setting by dragging a popular(?) character from one of their established game worlds. The problem is that Vampire of the Mists fails as being both a fantasy book and gothic horror book.

Get this, the lead character is a vampire elf by the name of Jander Sunstar. Are you getting genre vertigo yet? Is your little gamer mind just spinning? Jander spends most of the book whining and being all emo. “Whahhh, I’m a vampire. I can’t see the sun. I killed the only person I truly love. Bitch bitch, moan moan.” Yeah. He gets sucked into the little isolated city-state of Barovia, based liberally on medieval Moldavia or Wallachia, and settles into a life as a mook in the castle of the lands’ leader, Count Strahd, who is big fat pimp in comparison. There’s some character development of some kind along the way I think and they eventually come to blows. Imagine my surprise as the story really ramped up near the end. I couldn’t put it down; suddenly it was a nice bit of popcorn fiction reading. The effect is like a rollercoaster with one, long dive and a long click, click, click setup. ( )
  cleverusername2 | Aug 18, 2006 |
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Epigraph
"He that can smile at death, as we know him; who can flourish in the midst of diseases that kill off whole peoples. Oh, if such a one was to come from God, and not the Devil, what a force for good might he not be in this world of ours."
-Bram Stoker, Dracula
Dedication
This book is lovingly (and gratefully) dedicated to my parents, James R. Golden and Elizabeth c. Golden, who might not believe in elves or vampires, but who always believed in me.

Thanks also must go to Veleda and Robert, for always reading everything and usually liking most of it.

And, finally, thanks to TSR for letting a first-timer cast her own dark shadows on Ravenloft, and to my editor, Jim Lowder, for his patience, guidance, and support.
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The last rays of the dying sun filtered through the stained glass windows of the castle's chapel and cast pools of fading color upon the stone floor.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0786941243, Paperback)

Alone in a strange world and torn by grief, a vampire accepts the hospitality of the local lord. But can the vampire trust him once he discovers the land’s dark connection to his own quest for revenge?

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:25:22 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Jander Sunstar, an elven vampire from the Forgotten Realms world, is pulled into the newly formed dark realm of Ravenloft and forges an alliance with the land's most powerful inhabitant--Count Strahd Von Zarovich, himself a newly risen vampire. But as Jander teaches the Count the finer points of being undead, he learns that he is tutoring the man that drove his lost love insane!… (more)

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