Tommy Donbavand’s Fang Of The Vampire is Part One of his Scream Street series- a horror series which is aimed at children approaching ten years old. In some parts this is gruesome and graphic, but parents need not worry- it is done in a Roald Dahl style which is humourous and harmless. Book One is fast paced througout, introduces our hero in a mysterious fashion, and brings the other characters into play early on. The key is that each character is an archetypal monster- Luke is a Werewolf, his first friend is a vampire, his second a mummy. Along the way, usually as a cliffhanger to each short chapter, we meet witches, zombies etc. It is a nice way to introduce children to classic villians and their traits, but showing them here to be good guys or outcasts. Every child enjoys a few gentle scares and while this may not frighten even the softest kid, it will give them something too chew on before they make their way to fleshier stories.
The story follows Luke- a boy who has recently found out he is a werewolf. Monsters can have no place in civilised human society, and therefore must be taken away. However, as monsters are not monsters, they are given a civilised home of their own- Scream Street- where they all can live in supposed harmony. Built by the founding fathers of monsters- a vampire, a werewolf etc, hundreds of years before, Scream Street is both scary and intriguing for Luke. Luke’s parents though as normal, and as such do not fit in. He wants to find a way to return them to their own world, but this is unheard of. Only a secret book has the power to reveal any such escape plan, but it is held by the hateful and insane boss of Scream Street, Sir Otto. Luke and his gang set out on the quest to find the secrets of Scream Street.
There are a few potential flaws with the book which are entirely subjective- It is quite brief and simple, with not much back story, a very easy plot, few surprises and basic characterisation. Perhaps the book could be aimed at a younger audience- then again such ratings are also subjective and usually meaningless. When i was 7-9 i would have liked something a bit more challenging. I was a strange kid however, and at that age I was reading Homer’s Odyssey. This easily makes good bedtime reading for a child on their own, or from parent too child. Each chapter is carefully laid out, so that one or two before bedtime will keep the child entertained, but thirsty for more the next night. As an introduction the book is fine, and there is plenty of room in the books following to build up back story and character. A good start, and with good intentions- we all need a few vampires, ghosts, and zombies in our lives.