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Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite
Beyond Sunlight: A Story of the Vampire Melanie Brace by David Crane is a unique and different take on the vampire theme. Melanie Brace is happy with her lot in life as a professional illustrator in Manhattan. But a chance encounter with a jazz musician will alter her life in ways that she never expects. To Melanie, the way Martin Dubois plays the flute feels like a refreshing spring breeze. His music works like magic and it stirs powerful emotions and visions within her. On top of that, Martin has the ability to see through people, and while they are getting to know each other, Martin tells her that she has inoperable cancer. After her doctor confirms it, Melanie meets with Martin again, who confesses that he belongs to a race of vampires called Urtama. One of their dates turned into horror when they were attacked by muggers that left Melanie mortally wounded. Melanie wakes up in the hospital, but she has no heartbeat and has a body temperature that is twenty degrees below normal.
Beyond Sunlight is a unique spin on vampire stories, and it’s a good reason for you to read it considering that films and books are saturated with vampire tales loaded with the common tropes. Character development is an easy part when you think that bloodsuckers operate on certain rules that dictate their existence. Sure, Melanie is an unwilling vampire—that trope about being converted into a vampire and initially living in denial is an easy part, too. But David Crane has created his own vampire, and certain driving ideals behind Melanie’s creation are what make her tick. Moreover, her transformation allows Crane to delve into the mysteries of what we don’t understand in themes like second chances and a more scientific perspective on the origins of vampires. The novel is entertaining and intelligent as it is not confined to your standard blood and gore fest. It is thrilling and grounded and a much welcome take on vampires as opposed to bloodsuckers that sparkle.