BOOKS WITH A BITE: “A Cure for Humanity” by A.L. Haringrey (Book Blog Post!)

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Today’s Feature: A Cure for Humanity by A.L. Haringrey

A.L. Haringrey is an urban fantasy vampire author that I have the pleasure of reading and blogging about for the month of April! Her vampire lore has similarities to mine, which I found fascinating and really exciting. I love living vampires and the idea of them being another species as opposed to something magical in nature. That isn’t to say I dislike magic–far from it. The ‘undead’ thing for vampires, though, I’m glad to leave behind. Anyway, this book had lore that I enjoyed a lot. See my review below! I’ll get more into it now.

See my full review here!

I love vampire lore that takes a different turn from traditional ‘western’ lore. You know the details: Undead, burn to ash in the sun, weak to holy stuff, mirrors, etc. I’m not a giant fan of traditional lore, which might be blasphemy to some other vampire fans, but I’m unapologetic when it comes to my preferences. The most interesting thing to me about vampires is their blood-drinking requirement and how they represent powerful predators to a species (us) that has no natural predators right now.

I see them as a force of nature therefore, the exact opposite of traditional western lore. Look at vampire bats! They are sanguinivores, so drinking blood is something perfectly natural to them and other blood-drinking species. That’s why when I stumble across someone with lore of living vampires, I get excited. And I’m beyond excited for this one. The vampires and werewolves in this book are results of genetic mutations in humans! Not necessarily a different species like in mine, but genes/mutations all the same.

Vampires have powerful enthralling abilities they can utilize on humans for mind control. Meanwhile, werewolves can go haywire and completely lose control during the full moon, attacking friend and foe. These are things we find in typical lore for the two monsters, something I think fits well in this story and enjoyed a lot. I actually don’t see the enthralling thing used much in modern vampire fantasy, but perhaps that’s just due to me being picky! Therefore, it was really neat seeing in action here.

This book has a HUGE twist from what we usually see in the genre, something I adored! It was a fresh flavor, and the polar opposite of the premise in my works. Humans have controlled these powerful humanoids with things like silver collars for werewolves and ruby lenses drilled into the eye sockets of vampires. Prior to that, vampires needed their eyes ripped out… Why? They need their eyes to enthrall! Again, something really neat. There’s a trigger on both the lenses and collars that can kill vampires and werewolves. In this work, vampires are indeed susceptible to the sun to a large degree.

All of that said, the vampires & werewolves are the oppressed ones here, which brings up questions about society in general. Not to mention, a large corporation is building a ‘cure’ of sorts for the mutation, suggesting they could be turned human. I won’t get into spoiler territory, but just know it brings serious questions about ‘curing’ who you are and why there is so much nuance when it comes to things viewed as disorders or mutations. Fiction can definitely raise questions about mental health & society that apply to real life. That’s definitely the case here, in a good way.

One other thing I want to mention here regarding vampires in her work are how they can grow wings quickly, which then can shrivel away when they’re done. I find this super neat and am a huge fan of winged vampires, so wanted to mention that here. It’s explained much better in the book than I can.

All in all, I read this book in only two days and just couldn’t put it down. I’d grab the sequel in a heartbeat and highly recommend it to any vampire readers. Not to mention, there is great representation here in terms of LGBTQ+ relationships. Rukshana x Seraph had a great backstory and were a vampire x werewolf pair I adored.

Finally, the vampires & werewolves are NOT the antagonists in this! We see humans strictly being the horrible villains, the monsters, where vampires & werewolves were just trying to live their lives. It’s a cool twist and I’m here for it. Please go check it out so you can be as excited as I am!

AUTHOR INTERVIEW

What got you into writing about vampires & werewolves?  

“I have always found supernatural creatures fascinating, and I felt that vampires and werewolves were due a revamp. As much as I loved their traditional lore and tropes, the market was becoming quite saturated and repetitive when it came to super-attractive gothic vampires and rugged “Alpha” werewolves. So I wanted to do something completely different – I wanted to keep their main elements (drinking blood, transforming under the full moon) but strip away the romanticised parts and link them back to humans. Something more modern and grounded in a sense of reality, as it were.”

What is the most important message you want people to get from “A Cure for Humanity”?  

“The overarching message is that just because something is different, it doesn’t make it a flaw. Not everything we don’t fully understand is a “disease” that needs “curing”. There’s also a second lesson in Gyldan and Albion’s relationship – most times, despite what Hollywood has told us, suffering for love isn’t romantic or a grand display of loyalty that will be rewarded at the end. Sometimes, it’s just suffering.”  

I LOVED Griffin. He is a huge twist on the classic vampire, a father figure of the story. Is he inspired by anyone in your life? If not, how did you build his character?  

“Griffin was my favourite character to write in the first draft! But then a side character with no name who showed up in one scene demanded more importance, a name, and a main role, and he stole my heart…that was Luca. I digress!

Griffin is inspired by a few different father figures I’ve been lucky enough to know in my life. I’m a sucker for found-father characters, particularly ones that are far from perfect but have a heart of gold. Griffin doesn’t always make the right choices, but he always makes them for the right reasons. It was important to me that we had a representation of a vampire who had endured the “old method” of control over that species too. I wanted to make a character who had suffered, survived, and endured horrible things without losing his heart. We see a lot of gruff “survivor” characters who end up portrayed as cold, putting up their walls, and usually jaded. Griffin has been through it all but refused to stop hoping or smiling. I think that’s important for people to see sometimes. A wounded, damaged character who can still smile – that, to me, is hope.”

Will there be a sequel to your work?

“I am debating it! I was thinking of writing a prequel that would delve more into the De Varis family and the creation of the silver trap-collars and ruby eye-guards. I also have a lot of notes for a sequel – after all, Gyldan’s brother must have heard what Gyldan did…I wonder what he thinks about it?”

What is your favorite part about your vampire lore?  

“I liked the idea of both vampires and werewolves being evolutionary branches of humans rather than “infections” of some kind. I also enjoyed hinting at the fact that certain elements of vampire nature were tolerated by humans – such as their wings – because of purely aesthetic reasons or ideology born of religious history/angels. If I’d written a longer book, I might have explored that point of tension with werewolves a bit more, as many in the werewolf community felt vampires had it easier than them. But I wanted to avoid the “vampires vs werewolves” idea entirely. It was important to me that humans were the conflict-starters.”

Any advice for aspiring writers in the genre?  

“Be proud but not precious of your work. As much as feedback can sting, very few people will give constructive criticism to entertain themselves – they’re doing it to help you learn and improve. And we can always improve! ” 

I love your living vampires! When reading or watching in the genre, do you prefer ‘traditional western’ vampire lore, or something new like your own writing?  

“I do love a good traditional take on vampires – who doesn’t love the castles, capes, and effortless elegance? But I am finding myself drawn to newer takes these days.”  

Give us a powerful quote from “A Cure for Humanity”! 

“I can see the good in you, Albion. I always have. But it’s not my responsibility to prise it out of you.”  

Visit her website here!

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