Monday Monsters: The Fifth House of the Heart

Posted 7 December, 2015 by April @ The Steadfast Reader in Reviews

Monday Monsters: The Fifth House of the HeartThe Fifth House of the Heart by Ben Tripp
Published by Simon and Schuster on July 28th 2015
Genres: Dark Fantasy, Fantasy, Fiction, Horror, Occult & Supernatural
Pages: 400
Goodreads
three-stars

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange honest review consideration. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Asmodeus “Sax” Saxon-Tang, a vainglorious and well-established antiques dealer, has made a fortune over many years by globetrotting for the finest lost objects in the world. Only Sax knows the true secret to his success: at certain points of his life, he’s killed vampires for their priceless hoards of treasure. But now Sax’s past actions are quite literally coming back to haunt him, and the lives of those he holds most dear are in mortal danger. To counter this unnatural threat, and with the blessing of the Holy Roman Church, a cowardly but cunning Sax must travel across Europe in pursuit of incalculable evil—and immeasurable wealth—with a ragtag team of mercenaries and vampire killers to hunt a terrifying, ageless monster…one who is hunting Sax in turn.

With his novel The Fifth House of the Heart, Tripp makes a return to the classic vampire novels of the past, Dracula and ‘Salem’s Lot come to mind immediately. He doesn’t dress his vampires up in a bunch of finery and pretty words the way Anne Rice does, instead they are the classic monsters that have gone by the wayside in the wake of vampires that are more complex (Anne Rice) or who veer so far from vampire mythology that they are hardly recognizable as vampires (The Twilight series).

I love vampire books (certain YA novels excepted) and The Fifth House of the Heart, was a pretty decent read, but by no means was it a book that is likely to make it into the cannon of vampire literature. It’s largely a book about hunting animals – like I said, the personality that Tripp endows to his vampires is very little. Then again, Dracula didn’t have a whole lot of personality and no one argues on the brilliance of Dracula. Geeks of Doom love this book and wrote a very favorable review.

I agree with their assessment of Sax, our main vampire hunting ‘hero’. He’s vain and largely unscrupulous. He cares for nothing in the world but his antiques and his niece, Emily. He’s also super-homosexual. My guess is that Tripp is trying for some sort of juxtaposition against the Roman Catholic Church (which takes a large presence in this book) and the ability for a homosexual to do heroic deeds, even when he doesn’t mean to. I could be way off. I know that That’s What She Read was really bothered by Tripp’s constant allusions and outright mentions of Sax’s homosexuality. I think the very fact that Tripp fails to be PC about Sax’s sexuality upholds my idea of a juxtaposition between Sax and the Church (which he is constantly feeling at odds with, despite an uneasy alliance).

Overall, this book gets the rating of ‘you could do worse on a plane if you love vampire novels’. It’s good, but not great.

Has anyone read this one, Reader? What did you think about the constant reminder of Sax’s homosexuality? Did you feel like it was an old fashioned horror novels? Do you like old fashioned horror novels?

April @ The Steadfast Reader

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