Review: How Not to be a Vampire Slayer

How Not to be a Vampire Slayer is a delightfully charming and heart-warming adventure, perfect for readers of 9+ who are sure to adore this enchanting, humorous tale of friendship between a vegetarian vampire and a new girl in town!

Eleven-year-old Maggie Helsby has moved into Skeleton Lodge with her Mum and Dad, a spooky, old house surrounded by woods which the family have inherited from her Dad’s uncle Bram who had a penchant for garlic (if you know, you know!).  She is fascinated by scary stories, so is immediately interested in the folklore associated with the woods … which is just as well as the family are being watched by a cloaked figure …

On her first day at Goreway School, Maggie meets best friends Ari and Miles, who immediately befriend her, and tell her that there are stories of monsters and vampires living in an abandoned castle in the woods, but there is a town rule that no one is allowed into the woods …. 

Maggie is not put off by a little rule-breaking, so is determined to visit the woods, ideally with her two new friends, to discover if there is any truth to the stories.  However, when they get to the woods, something frightens Ari and Miles, so Maggie finds herself alone …

Deciding to explore further on her own, she discovers a ruined castle and, upon entering it, meets a girl with silver hair, blood-red eyes, a black cloak – and fangs!  This first encounter between human and vampire is simply wonderful and sets the gorgeously warm and fun tone for the story, as Sharptooth, the beetroot-juice drinking vegetarian vampire, helps her escape from the other vampires.

So begins an exciting, action-packed adventure with plenty of laugh-out-loud moments as Maggie’s friendship with Sharptooth blossoms.  Will Maggie and her friends be able to protect Sharptooth and the other vampires from a pompous town Mayor who is determined to tear down the forest for his own ends?  Can Maggie ever really become friends with a vampire when she has been named as the latest Helsby slayer?

This is such a feel-good story that I was left feeling that I was cuddled in a blanket of warmth as I read it, sighing with contentment and giggling as I followed the adventures of this wonderful group of friends.  The friends are all different, yet have the most wonderful camaraderie and supportive friendship.  Ari and Miles seem like chalk and cheese with Ari being much more mischievous and a brilliant artist whilst Miles is more serious and easily scared.  I really loved that they accepted Maggie so readily, especially as she is wary of making friends in her new school, having had bad experiences in her previous school.  She feels she can be herself with them from the start.  And what can I say about Sharptooth:  one of my favourite characters ever!  She is so full of joie de vivre:  friendly, curious, kind-hearted, funny – and she loves reading!  Oh, and did I mention that she has the most adorable bat, Bat-Ears? 

This is a gloriously fangtastic treasure of a story which is perfect for those who like their spooky stories with rather more of the rib-tickling moments than the shiver-down-the-spine moments.  An absolute delight from start to finish!

Thank you to Harriet & Scholastic for an early copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

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