Rabbit Legacy by Ellen C. Maze
(TreasureLine Publishing, 2011)
Just when you thought it was safe to take the garlic down from your windows…
Of course, if you’ve read the first book of Ellen C. Maze’s Christianized vampire trilogy, Chasing Beth Rider, you already know that garlic won’t do any good against these bloodsuckers. Nevertheless, by the time that story was finished, it seemed the vampires were pretty much finished, too. But no–in Rabbit Legacy they’re back, and they’re looking for revenge.
The good news is that the sequel has built on the first book’s strengths. It has more depth of feeling, more insight into character, and more boldly faces hard questions of faith and theology. It is in every way a better book.
Can the vampire be saved?
Again, we aren’t dealing with “real vampires” in the Bela Lugosi sense of the word, but rather with a cryptic race called “Rakum.” We learned in Book One that the Rakum originated with a demon and have lived in secrecy among the human race for thousands of years. Maze’s boldness in throwing out all the vampire story conventions has allowed her to do interesting things with plot and character development.
Now, we don’t want to spoil everything for readers who intend to read these books but haven’t yet done so. But I think I can get away with saying that these stories are parables about redemption. Can someone who’s been feeding on human blood, and committing all sorts of fiendish crimes for literally hundreds of years, be saved by Jesus Christ?
If you’re a Christian, you already know the answer to that question. But to find out how such a person can be redeemed, and what that redemption looks like, you’ll have to read the books. I cannot in good conscience give the game away.
Count Yorga, come back, all is forgiven
It’s a dreary business to go into a bookstore and see the array of vampire novels, representing I don’t know how many different series and their authors. They seem to be pitched mostly at adolescent girls, as a kind of pornography that the publisher can get away with. Instead of being carrion that walks and talks, these vampires are invariably “sexy”–oh, my aching back!–and the damsels who get their blood sucked by them get to be young and beautiful forever, and have all sorts of cool adventures… Sorry, I just can’t go on with this. If these books are not the bedpan of popular literature, I don’t know what is.
Ellen Maze’s stories, written in the service of Our Lord, are not a bit like those others. They do contain a bit more gore and graphic violence for my personal taste–but then she isn’t writing about a church social, is she? Given the situation, a certain amount of mayhem is unavoidable.
Where she excels–and this is no small achievement–is in making her stories about something important. In fact, they revolve around the most important subjects we know of: our relationships with God and with each other. On these two hang all the law and the prophets.
To me, everything seemed to come a little too easily to the characters in the first book. We cannot say that about Rabbit Legacy. One scene in particular stands out: a quiet scene between the heroine, Beth Rider, and Marcy, a middle-aged woman who has spent most of her life loving an ageless Rakum and now wonders what’s to become of her. As the two women confronted these issues and tried to understand each other, as Marcy reached out to God but didn’t know how, I found myself very strongly moved. It stirs me again, just to write about it.
You won’t find anything like that in those other vampire books. And its presence in Legacy suggests that the third book in the series will be even better.