The Year of Disappearances
ISBN 10: 1416552715
ISBN 13: 978-141655710
Simon & Schuster
Fiction, 304 pages
Susan Hubbard delighted vampire lovers with her morally refined, deeply emotional tale of a young girl, half human, half vampire and wholly exiled from both cultures for the first thirteen years of her life, in her debut novel, “The Society of S.” The sequel, Year of Disappearances, reunites us with Ariella Montero and takes us inside her search for that ever elusive sense of normalcy.
Ariella’s story is a voyage through adolescence, with a vampire twist – struggling to find your place in the world is hard enough as a teenager, but trying to secure a spot in two diametrically opposed cultures, simultaneously, spells trouble with a capital T. After the death of her best friend, Ari left New York, moved to Florida with her vampiric mother, where she learns more about her unusual genealogy, makes new friends, is targeted by sinister forces and becomes a murder suspect. And if this weren’t enough to give Ari premature wrinkles, her father falls ill, the water is contaminated, honeybees are dying or disappearing, a vampire is positioned to run for president and her old nemesis Malcolm lurks in the darkness.
Hubbard’s ability to imagine an incredibly detailed environment and fill it to the brim with really cool concepts has been a bit overdone in Year of Disappearances, there’s simply too much going on, especially considering the age of the main character, Ariella. There are several creative ideas that really grabbed me, unfortunately, my excitement was short lived, as many of these ideas were reduced to not much more than an introduction… To see such innovative, fresh narrative twisting in the wind was disappointing and I hope these concepts will be revisited in future novels and fully fleshed out, utilizing Hubbard’s unparalleled story-telling voice.
In a nutshell, Year of Disappearances is a good read, that will hold your attention and give you something to talk about around the water cooler, however, when compared to Hubbard’s stellar performance in Society of S it falls a bit short. That said, I am looking forward to the next installment in this unique series, because when Susan Hubbard has her finger soundly on the vampire jugular, her novels grab you by the throat and barely allow you to breathe.