Written by: Dave Robertson
To some, the vampire genre is stale, tired. A stake has been driven through its black heart and it is slowly dying. But now The Forever Show arrives with a fresh, updated version of the classic creatures. The vampires here are not the old world vampires living in spooky castles, wearing capes, and seducing women into eternal love/lust. They are not the new, sparkly teen heart throb vampires. While they still follow many of the old vampire maxims, such as avoiding the light of day, Marcus Damanda has crafted a new vampire that is powerful and mysterious. They still have many of the powers you might expect, but they are more subtle and in many ways unpredictable.
Vampires, however, are only a part of The Forever Show. A tragic event occurs at a small town carnival, an event orchestrated by a group of vampires (strigoi) called The Family. Fireworks turn deadly, a circus tent goes up in flames, and a ferris wheel malfunctions with terrifying results. People die, children are missing, and a town tries to cope with terror and loss. From there we are drawn into a web of action and intrigue. Just when you think you know where the story is going, it shifts slightly, just enough to keep the reader off balance. There are enough plot twists and unique story inventions to keep a reader turning pages, wondering what happens next. In the midst of it all, the vampires pursue a sinister plan, using the chaos and fear in the town as a cover for their activities. In the process, we are let into the lives of several characters, from teenagers and adults to small boys to visiting circus freaks. Each of them are developed enough to have their own personalities, motivations and viewpoints. The author does a fine job of weaving all these threads into a story that is smooth, consistent, and coherent.
In many horror stories a reader can tell, early and easily, which characters will die and which will live. In The Forever Show, no one is safe and characters don’t follow the stereotypes. A character may find a surprising inner strength, or be snuffed out suddenly and violently. There are unexpected consequences, difficult decisions, and some evil acts that make you cringe. It all adds up to a novel that keeps you guessing, wondering. The stakes are higher because you can’t be sure who will survive, and that’s what true horror should be.
The Forever Show is listed in the young adult genre, but I found it to be a solid horror novel that happens to have some teenagers as main characters. For horror fans, it’s well worth reading. I rate it a 4.5 out of five.