Pulling Up Stakes Review: The Other Half
I know I promised a review for the second half of Peter David’s Pulling Up Stakes, but I’ve been slightly reticent about writing this. To be honest, I didn’t feel as though the second half met my expectations compared to part one.
In Pulling Up Stakes, you might remember, Vince Hammond is a vampire hunter who comes from a long line of vampire hunters called Chevaliers. The only problem is that he recently became a part of the undead, and he has to keep it a secret or his mother is sure to stake him.
In part one, things got even more complicated when a new group of vampire hunters roll into town led by a man who knew Vince’s dead father. Vince is stunned to learn that his father, in exchange for a very large dowry, arranged a marriage between his son and his friend’s daughter, Amber.
The engagement between Amber and Vince is a central part of Pulling Up Stakes. He can’t marry Amber because sooner or later it will come out that he’s a vampire. He can’t not marry Amber because neither he nor his mother have any clue where the rather sizeable dowry has gone.
In book two, a new twist arises when Vince discovers that the mysterious young woman who made him a vampire is none other than Amber’s sister Hannah who made him a vampire because she thought he was cute and didn’t want him to die.
Taken on its own, the resolution was okay. Not great. It felt a little too easy. As soon as this discovery is made, it becomes entirely obvious Vince and Hannah will get married. I would much rather have seen Amber learn of Vince’s vampire status and discover that vampires weren’t the great evil she was lead to believe. But I did enjoy the introduction of Hannah into the mix.
Despite the whole sister triangle, book two managed to throw a few interesting ideas into the story. Most importantly the idea that the highest echelon of the Chevaliers are actually controlled by vampires in a “keep your friends close and your enemies closer” manner. For some reason Vince doesn’t seem too concerned to tell the proper people about this new development, and unfortunately, those threads are left hanging until the inevitable sequel.
What really let me down was the resolution of the dowry. Despite the loose threads, and the pat resolution with the sisters, I was still enjoying Pulling Up Stakes until the last couple of pages. You see, it turns out Vince’s mother actually did have the money, but refused to give it up because she wanted to see her son settled down, you know, as any well-meaning mother might do. The presentation of the money, just seemed to suck any energy out of the story. Rather than leave one last mystery: what did Vince’s dad do with all that money? It put a cherry on an already too-easy resolution.
It’s not to say that book two is without its merits. There are some wonderful moments, such as when Vince attacks the vamps with supersoakers filled with “holy water”. But overall, it felt as though book one began with lots of interesting ideas, the arranged marriage, the missing money, the mysterious attack on Amber and the writer didn’t really know where he was going with the ending.
Honestly, I wish I could give this a better review. I loved the first part, part two was still an enjoyable read, and I’m interested in reading more stories about Vince Hammond’s adventures, but this story lost too much momentum for me to give it a higher grade.