Falling to Ash by Karen Mahoney
Random House, 2012.
Eighteen year old Maria O'Neal became an unwilling member of the Boston Family of vampires when she was 'turned' by Theo, the Master of this family, in the Enclave of Massachusetts. It is now a year since she was made and Moth, as she is now known, is finding the transition from human to vampire difficult and frustrating in many ways. When she was sixteen her mother died, leaving three sisters and their father, who has taken to drinking to deal with his grief. The girls feel abandoned and, of necessity, Moth has left her family home but still maintains some contact with her family, especially her younger sister Caitlin, to whom she eventually tells the truth about what she has become.
The first person narration aligns the reader with Moth and her difficulties in this situation not of her own making. The story of her 'turning' intrudes into the present narrative with Moth's memories, signalled by italics and prompted by things happening in the present. In true vampire style, Moth will always be eighteen and, as such, she has romantic involvements and problems, not least with nineteen year old Jason Murdoch, a handsome young man, whom she knew in her previous life and who is a vampire hunter-in-training.
The murder of Rick, an old classmate of Moth's, brings Jason and Moth together in an uneasy truce to solve the mystery of his and other teenagers' disappearances. Rick has become a zombie, an 'Unmade', and Moth and Jason try to track the perpetrators. This brings them into constant danger, from both humans and vampires, with death and mayhem following them at every turn. There is a definite attraction between the two and, after their adventures and success, the story ends with Moth 'wondering what it meant for the future' and the reader hoping for a sequel.
Despite this being another vampire story, the characters are believable and we want them to succeed. This novel would be a good follow-on from the Twilight series.