Deadly is the female vampire, and especially so the lesbian vampire. Think about it. Straight female vampires always end up adoring a vastly superior alpha male vampire. Bisexual female vampires are generally more relaxed about, well, everything. Lesbian vampires… are vicious. Perhaps because they are the very antithesis of the patriarchy.
Okay, so I’m stereotyping, and risking my own neck in the process, but Laura Huntley’s Deadly is the Female, published 2013, embraces this duality of ruthless lesbian vampires against despicable male humans. There’s a risk of oversimplification with this trope, and Deadly is the Female does come across as shallow and hasty in places, but what saves it and makes it quite intriguing and original is the twisted morality of it.
The principal ‘bad guy’, Charlie, is possibly the only heroic figure, but he is loathed by the narrator of this story, Tenebrae, who is out for bloody revenge. Tenebrae is one of ten or more lesbian vampires who live together – and there is some loving as well but it’s secondary to the story; this isn’t a romance – who go out every night, it seems, to hunt and kill. They have very little empathy for humans, and take pleasure in terrifying them before killing them, if time allows. From a human perspective they are unquestionably monsters, and ten murders a night is quite a justification and incentive to form a lynch mob.
But revenge is not about logic, and there’s nothing black and white. Deadly is the Female is an easy and enjoyable read, but more thought could have gone into history and setting, and the biggest problem ultimately is that there is no real antagonist. It would have been better, in my opinion, to see Charlie present a more immediate threat to Tenebrae’s plans; and to have Tenebrae learn more about Charlie and his life, and perhaps for her to question her own resolve.