The Night Wanderer

5117957638 35400393c1 The Night WandererBuy The Night Wanderer
Regular price: $8.49
Publisher: Annick Press
Format: eBook
Reviewer: Melissa on October 26, 2010
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Since the market for vampire novels has become so saturated since the Twilight Saga became popular, some readers have become sick of this type of Gothic novel. Others still devour vampire novels like Dracula and his kind sucks the blood of human beings, without satiation. No matter which camp you sit in, Drew Hayden Taylor‘s adept combination of Native literature with the Western tradition of vampire mythology proves that The Night Wanderer is not remotely like the typical vampire story.

Tiffany Hunter is a 16-year-old Native girl, who lives on a quiet reserve called Otter Lake. However, when her father rents out her room to Pierre L’Errant, things start to change for all of them. It’s not that Tiffany, her father or Granny Ruth suspect, who he is – a 350-year-old Native vampire, who has finally returned to Otter Lake after many lifetimes of wandering. Tiffany for one has other things on her mind: her white boyfriend’s behavior, her escalating conflicts with her dad, and her mom’s new life with another guy. When she feels like she can no longer take it though, it’s an odd encounter with Pierre that really changes everything…for both of them.

To say that you’ve never read a vampire novel like TheNightWanderer, unless you’ve read this novel before, is neither an understatement nor at all inaccurate. Most novels about the undead are violent and bloody, and while this one describes some moments from Pierre’s past that could be described in this way, the present is a much different affair. Most vampire stories are about the destruction of communities or the plotting of killing these monstrous creatures, but Taylor’s novel is about strengthening the ties between the elder members of the Native community at Otter Lake and the younger generations. It’s about the importance of the land, linking the present day community to their ancestors’ way of life. And more than anything, it’s about a dead, or rather undead, man and a young, troubled teen trying to bridge the gap between their extremely different lives and experiences.

Of course, there is more to this piece of YA fiction than it’s distinction from the typical vampire novel. Teen readers from outside the Native community will instantly recognize something distinct about Taylor’s use of the English language, something almost philosophical, which touches on issues as diverse as language, racism, and what it means to be Native in the present day. How does Taylor show the distinction between the past and present of Otter Lake? Pierre’s memories of being on this reserve as a youth flow freely in his mind when he returns after 350 years of wandering. The contrast between his memory of the reserve both before and after contact with white settlers to Tiffany’s present day experience helps readers understand both the distinctions and the continuity with the past. Not only does this novel demand respect for the Native community and its culture, but also the quality of Taylor’s writing and characterization deserves this respect and much more.

Walking the fine line between a Gothic novel and coming-of-age story, the author delves into poignant moments in not only the lives of the two main characters, but also offers brief glimpses into the thoughts of other community members. While we expect to see the world through Granny Ruth since she’s integral to the two main characters, Taylor’s novel goes far beyond the narration of this secondary character’s thoughts. Characters that are only mentioned once in the novel, such as an Irish woman flying to Canada and an owl who thinks he should be camouflaged by the night sky, are articulated in stunning immediacy by the author. Rather than the normal complaints, however, when we do here a minor character’s thoughts, it is always in relation to Pierre. Through their thoughts, The Night Wanderer demonstrates the subtle but unmistakable fear that Pierre invokes in others. It is will skilled precision that Taylor presents normal, everyday occurrences with an uncanny flavor that you won’t soon forget.

From one Gothic lover to the thousands of others out there, check out Drew Hayden Taylor’s approach to YA Gothic literature – you won’t be disappointed.

Get The Night Wanderer now!

  12 comments for “The Night Wanderer

  1. October 26, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    Wow, what a great review! I can’t wait to read this now. Putting it on my Amazon Wish List so I don’t forget it.

    Whether they are sensitive and spakly or vicious and bloody, I love vampires! I am always on the look out for books which provide a new and interesting twist to the genre.

  2. October 26, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    Glad you like my review, Jesilea, and hope you enjoy the book as much as I did. I’ve read quite a few vampire novels in the past, but I definitely haven’t read any genre twist like the one that Drew Hayden Taylor creates.

  3. Kay Fraser
    October 26, 2010 at 9:31 pm

    Great review, made me want to find this book right away!
    I’m always struggling to find books like this. That bring a different twist to Vampires with Characters that are extremely attractive and compelling, without the same old formulaic approach. There is so much more than boy meets girl, paranormal.

    I can’t wait to read it! Thank you so much for sharing with us.

  4. October 26, 2010 at 10:17 pm

    Glad you liked my review, Kay. I agree with you – there can be something very different from the usual boy meets girl paranormal romance that, while interesting, definitely is saturating the market for YA fiction. The Night Wanderer proves it. :)

    I hope you like Drew Hayden Taylor’s novel as much as I did!

  5. Amanda Makepeace
    October 27, 2010 at 8:55 am

    Okay, you got me. Sounds like a vampire book well worth reading and one my daughter and I could both enjoy!

  6. October 27, 2010 at 9:49 am

    I don’t doubt that you could both enjoy it, Amanda. Most likely there will be lots to talk about with her afterward as well. :)

  7. Jennifer Rayment
    October 28, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    As mentioned before, I really enjoyed Drew’s previous book Motorcylces and Sweetgrass and this one sound really unusual. Will be adding it to my tbr list
    Thanks for the great review, really gets you interested

  8. October 28, 2010 at 7:17 pm

    Yay! Glad you enjoyed my review. Thanks for commenting!

  9. shyanne
    November 9, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    Where did peirre become a vampire? what are some main facts about him ? and tiffany? please respond soon , i need the anserw tonight … I love the book , its amazing.

  10. November 9, 2010 at 4:21 pm

    I’m glad that you enjoyed the book so much, Shyanne. Though I guess you missed or forgot all the key details.

    Pierre becomes a vampire while he’s living in Europe. I’m not sure what main facts you’re looking for about Pierre and Tiffany…sorry! Hope that helps.

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