Book Review: The Foundlings by R. M. Garcia

The book follows the lives of Donnie and Abbie, two teenagers who undergo more than their share of trouble. As the book opens, Donnie has just experienced the worst tragedy a teenager can face—the loss of both parents. After near despair, Donnie finds love with Abbie, a girl who (coincidentally, as he finds out later on) is the daughter of the woman his father died saving. While there are conflicts going on with Donnie and Abbie’s relationship, the important part is this: later in the book, they both become vampires. That’s right—the last 70 percent of the book follows what the first chapter discusses—vampires.

The strength of this book is its plot. It’s an intricate storyline involving a tribe of Nazi vampires bent on—well, being Nazis. Need I say more? Through the book, the reader learns that there is a sub-culture of vampires that the general public doesn’t know about. For instance, on their way to Canada, Donnie and Abbie realize that there are subtle signs out there leading vampires to “vampire-friendly” establishments where they can easily acquire willing sources of blood. My favorite scene, I think, is one in which the two protagonists meet a five-year-old vampire—that is, a vampire stuck in a five-year-old body. In actuality, the vampire is nearly 100 years old. The image created here—that of a wise five-year-old—is hilarious and clever. I also enjoyed the Native American culture interwoven through the book. Donnie’s mother was Native American and taught him some of her spiritual beliefs, which he uses to cope with the various terrors his life throws at him.

My complaint about the book is the pace. As I read it on Kindle, I was able to track the percentage completed as I read. While the first chapter goes into a bit too much depth about vampire culture (without much of a narrative hook), the next chapters—the first 30 percent of the book—detail the lives of Donnie and his friends before they become vampires. The first 30 percent of the book was almost enough to be a stand-alone novel. I kept waiting for the vampires to show up, and while there were a few subtle scenes hinting at vampires, there wasn’t much, and I felt like I was reading a teenage romance book. Once 30 percent hit, the vampire action started, and I was more drawn into the story. It’s a fairly long book, and I thought the exposition could have been strongly condensed, making a more concise and effective story.

It’s a good book for anyone interested in vampire culture. Once the vampire section starts, there’s a balance of romance, mystery, and action. For example, Donnie finds that he isn’t like most newly-made vampires, who become ravenous when they don’t drink enough human blood. Rather, human blood makes him sick, and he finds himself able to drink vampire blood, something he shouldn’t be able to do. While he and Abbie are training to avoid the handful of vampires who (for various reasons) want them dead, he’s also trying to figure out exactly what he is and how he became a vampire.

I read this book as part of a book tour with Juniper Grove. The above review represents my honest opinion.