Book Jacket


rank 5685
word count 389463
date submitted 28.07.2011
date updated 28.07.2011
genres: Fiction, Thriller, Fantasy, Young A...
classification: moderate

Better Off Dead

E. L. Berquist

Made vampire through violent attack, Jason’s ordeal isn’t over. His unintentional maker despises him, and the human brother he can’t let go is in danger.


When attacked by an immoral and sadistic vampire, Jason draws the vampire’s blood with a bite. He survives the encounter, but not as a human. Jason returns home, and seeks solace in his brother Nathan. The brothers find a woman who introduces Jason to the king—first informing them that Jason made a horrible mistake telling Nathan he’d become a vampire; that isn’t allowed. Something helps Jason stay alive in what follows. He has a rare gift, and can see moments in people’s lives. Jason’s fate is in the vampire king’s hands, and even if everything goes well, it will be difficult because he has decided to stay away from his brother until it is safe. As the king finds Jason and his ability intriguing, Jason is thrust into a world of vampire politics, where his unintentional maker vows to be the end of him, the vampire nobles are going to war, and Jason realizes the king’s true motive for letting him live. In the midst of this, the bigger issue becomes Nathan, who is still human and knows of things he shouldn’t. How does Jason protect and hold on to a brother, when he has left humanity behind?

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brothers, near death, political, resilience, switchblades, vampires

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Philthy wrote 946 days ago

Hi E.L.,

I've had this WLed for a while and am finally getting a chance to check it out!

Good stuff! I noticed a few things throughout,...take it with a grain of salt as they're just the humble opinions of, well, me :).

Cover: Looks interesting, but tough to see since it’s so small. That, of course, isn’t your fault.

Short Pitch: Not sure I like that first subordinate clause, and “he can’t let go” should be “he can’t let go of”

Long Pitch: Not sure you need to say immoral and sadistic in the first line. Is that really what’s important at this point? You’re trying to hook the reader fast, and the fact that he was bitten by a vampire is probably enough to do that. Otherwise, you’re emphasizing that he’s immoral and sadistic, not that he’s a vampire.

I think this LP needs work. It’s all over the place and has WAY too much backstory and not enough hook. We don’t need to know the intricacies. We just need to know enough to entice us. The pitch should not be a synopsis. On top of that, it’s confusing.

Chapter One:

Delete “all” in “all blurry with warm lines”

“trees blazing with impossible glory of oranges and reds”
Great imagery!

“When this happened in real life, it had been autumn.”
Why not just say “It was autumn”? Then it can be assumed that, if this dream is a repeat of something that really occurred, that it’s autumn in both the dream as it was in real life?

“Raised voices come to my attention…”
Simplify to “I hear raised voices…”

I realize that this is meant to be a casual narrative (in that the narrator’s voice is casual, as if in a conversation), but I would nix the “Did I mention I’m in a car? I am.” It just seems amateur and a bit cheesy, in my humble opinion. Instead, just say “In my dream, I’m a six-year-old sitting in the backseat of his (her?) parent’s Sedan.”

“my Mom and Dad”
When your referencing them specifically, as in Hi, Mom, or Hi, Dad…they’re capitalized. When you’re referencing them in general, as in my mom or my dad, they’re lowercased.

“I look up, towards the circular mirror…”
Delete the comma.

Again, great imagery, especially in the narrator.

Overall impression:
Your strength is your imagery. It's fantastic! At times, I feel like we could stand to see even more of it, but that's not really an issue. I think the biggest weakness is the polish. This needs a little bit of scrubbing here and there. Gets wordy at times. These are just all a part of writing, though, and this story has the chance to really do well. The premise is there, the characters are good...I love, love, love your imagery.

Will high star this. Good luck!

I'd invite you to check out my pitch and read on if it interests you. I'd love to know your thoughts.

Thanks and all the best,

(Deshay of the Woods)

RSLF wrote 996 days ago

On the first chap and just wanted to mention a typo: I shock myself by wishing that I had someplace to during the day... (guessing it should be "someplace to GO/BE during the day"?)

And a small suggestion: Stubborn b... broad. (I'd change it to "Stuborn b- Stubborn broad" Cos it confused me for a second as it is now. Maybe put the broad in italics, too.)

Anyway, I have to say that from the pitch this doesn't seem to be the usual thing I'd like, but so far the writing's been really good. I've picked up no major grammar errors, only one typo, and no real "clumsy" phrasings and that's quite an achievement on this site lol.

S Carter