I spent the last two weeks trying to read The Receptionist. I’ve had it for over a year and it fit into one of the categories on my list, but I could barely get through a chapter of it. (There’s a reason the reviews on Goodreads are so bad.) Finally, today, I decided to screw it. I find myself feeling unhappy or stressed often enough, and I don’t need to make an activity I enjoy, like reading, feel like that. So instead, I picked a book I had been looking forward to reading.
I picked Carmilla, which was a gift from a very good friend of mine and the basis for a webseries that is ALL OVER my Tumblr dashboard (and I get to start now, yay). It’s one of the first vampire stories, and it was the main inspiration for Dracula. Plus, it has short chapters, which I love because it makes something much easier to read. All in all, it seemed like a better thing to read than The Receptionist, with it’s 50 page chapters and a writer who was trying way too hard to prove herself.
And it was! I actually enjoyed what I was reading and it was actually relaxing and enjoyable.
The story is told by Laura, looking back on a time when she was innocent and blinded by love, and what it almost cost her. It is clouded by a sense of confusion and loss that has stuck with her for years since the incident. Though most of us will never know how it feels to be in love with a vampire, it does capture the familiar feeling of loving someone before finding out who they really are and that they’ve betrayed you.
The voice itself is amazingly compelling. The story was written in the 1800s, so the language is old-fashioned, but Laura is so earnest and sweet that it still feels like someone is sitting across from you, telling you a story. And even if you go into the book knowing who Carmilla is, her description is so compelling that you understand exactly why Laura still feels enamored of her.
My most favorite thing about this book: Laura’s voice.
My least favorite thing about this book: I did want to hear more from Carmilla herself, but I guess that wasn’t the story.
Who I would most like to recommend this book to: Anyone, really. It’s tragic, but not tear-jerking, and romantic but not a romance. It’s a short read and not difficult, but very satisfying as a story.
Where this book sits on my bookshelf: Before Cinderella (As If You Didn’t Know the Story) and after The Sound and the Fury.