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Mixing religion and fiction is extremely tricky Karen Ullo shows she almost always has the deft hand needed to pull it off This is horror the way the genre was meant to be the genre of the sacred, viewed via its negative In much the same way, crime fiction is the genre of morality In most other stories of this genre, Catholicism becomes a mere decoration to the horror a crucifix here, a creepy Gothic church there Ullo follows the Catholicism vampire nexus to its logical conclusions Yes, it culminates in the blood of the Eucharistic wine No, it is not cheesy or embarrassing.A few caveats the dialog is sometimes hard to follow regarding who is speaking or to whom Some of the suspense near the end should have been managed for greater effect Finally, this is a YA novel in form and theme but, while the protagonist is chaste throughout, some of the violence is strongly sexualized And did I mention the violence It s shocking, and the protagonist is implicated I had hoped to read this with my 14 year old daughter now I m going to let her mature for a few years before she reads it.For those who aspire to write genre fiction with religious themes, Ullo shows it can be done right and it can get published Hooray
(((READ E-PUB))) ↚ Jennifer the Damned ✐ When A Sixteen Year Old Orphan Vampire Adopted By An Order Of Nuns Matures Into Her Immortal, Blood Sucking Glory, All Hell Literally Breaks Loose Yet With Every Rapturous Taste Of Blood, Jennifer Carshaw Cannot Help But Long For Something Even Exquisite The Capacity To Experience True Love As She Struggles To Balance Her Murderous Secret Life With Homework, Cross Country Practice, And Her First Boyfriend, Jennifer Delves Into The Terrifying Questions Surrounding Her Inhuman Existence, Driven By The Unexpectedly Human Need To Understand Why She Is Doomed By A Life She Never ChoseBridging The Gap Between The Literary Tradition Of Bram Stoker S Dracula And The Modern Teen Vampire Romance Made Popular By The Twilight Series, Jennifer The Damned Reexamines The Legendary Monster As A Conflicted And Complex Being Jennifer Is At Once The Quintessential Vampire, Embodying An Unholy Union Of Life And Death Yet She Is Also A Sympathetic Young Woman Full Of Spiritual Anxieties, Gifted With A Limitless Sense Of Ironic Humor, And Possessed Of A Beautifully Persistent Hope In The Love She Yearns For Not only is this book beautifully written, in terms of language and style, but the story is a wonderful blend of the occult and the sacred I loved the way the author address theology and doctrine through the lens of the damned and mythical LOVED IT I don t read stuff like this The truth is, I would have never have picked up Jennifer the Damned if someone from my church had gotten not hold of an advanced copy and asked me to check it out Holy Crap Am I glad I did.Forget what you know about old school Dracula and those sparkly, sex crazed teenage vampires of late First time author Karen Ullo is about to set the vampire world on it s head Jennifer Carshaw is a sixteen year old who has gone to Catholic school all her life In fact, for the last five years, she s been raised by nuns in a convent She s also been hiding a secret.She s a vampire And when she feels the urge to make her first kill during math class no less her world spins out of control.Caught between the nuns who have raised her and loved her like her vampire mother never could, and her thirst for life giving blood, Jennifer is thrust into a world of her mother s choosing But don t be fooled This is no Young Adult read This, my friends, is literature, rich with vampire lore and intertwined with Catholic doctrine.Jennifer battles her own demons as she struggles with her need to kill and her yearning for a soul Ullo is at her best in Jen s kill scenes Dark, horrifying, and at the same time beautiful She give us reason to be repulsed, while reflecting on our own morality and the savagery that can be part of our world She walks a fine line without ever becoming preachy.Jennifer the Damned is a rich story with a lesson about love and forgiveness that even the most blood thirsty can learn from If I could give it six stars, I would. Jennifer the Damned ReviewA lot of supernatural fiction is about good and evil, alienation and despair, and an elusive hope When and if that hope is acted upon, there is a sort of redemption So, the title of this book is telling.Karen Ullo s, Jennifer the Damned, is the story of a teenaged vampire, who is raised by an order of loving nuns, and as a result, the girl recognizes good and evil Jennifer does not want to be a vampire What she wants is to be accepted as a normal teenager except she s anything but normal because she believes she has no soul The second half of the novel unravels her belief and builds toward the final twist in the redemption of the protagonist.Anne Rice once said of her own vampire series, I think I am always seeking redemption the vampires represent those of us in society who feel damned and I am always seeking a way for them and those of us who identify with them to be saved Fans of vampire books may identify Jennifer and her very un vampire like desire for salvation, but even those not favorable to vampires in fiction will surely find something different in this well written and thought provoking debut novel.I would recommend a question answer guide with an explanation of symbolism in the book due to its juxtaposition of Catholicism with the idea of vampires. This is the first book that I ve had the privilege of reading before its publication date and what a book to have as my first I am no stranger to vampire books yes, I m ashamed to admit that some of those books involved vampires of the sparkly persuasion but Jennifer the Damned is different Maybe it is Jennifer s youth, maybe it is because she is raised by nuns yes, nuns , maybe it is her humanity, her need to love and be loved, maybe it is because despite how many times I might despise Jennifer, I find equal opportunities to sympathize and even identify with her aside from the vampire aspect, of course The author has a beautiful writing style that is so refreshing particularly in comparison to the pop culture juvenile dross that has become so popular It is this writing style that draws the reader into the book and I found myself losing hours at a time in pure reading pleasure While some of Jennifer s choices and actions truly disturbed me there is one scene I don t think I ll ever be able to get over , I enjoyed reading this book and I hope to see from this author. This is not your average vampire tale Refreshingly, there are no sparkly vampires here At an early age, Jennifer is placed in a Catholic school This has profound, unexpected consequences throughout Jennifer s life The nuns instill a system of morals and values that put Jennifer at constant odds with herself Her struggle for redemption is deeply felt, and you really want her to succeed Despite some of Jennifer s decisions, you can empathize with her character Some of the scenes are truly frightening, such as the story of how Jennifer became a vampire Shudder I really enjoyed reading this book and the author s expressive, intellectual dialogue and scenes I am looking forward to from this author I literally read this book in one sitting straight through, not kidding I could not put it down I wanted to know, no, needed to know what happened next It was that engrossing Well written, well thought out, character driven Who would have thought that a vampire cared about their soul, let alone whether or not they could be saved.The publisher does this book a disservice by comparing it to Twilight Twilight is awfully written rubbish Jennifer the Damned, if I may, has a Soul Craftily mastered I cannot wait to read what the author writes next Jennifer is a Catholic schoolgirl, raised by nuns since her mother disappeared four years ago, who is dealing with normal teenage angst and also turning into a vampire She must murder in order to survive Because she has no soul, she believes God can t love her She longs to taste Holy Communion but thinks it would destroy her The author who is Catholic appears to be using vampirism as an analogy for the shame and destructiveness of sin, and it works well It is especially effective that being a vampire is ruinous not just to the protagonist, but also to those whom she loves She can t successfully compartmentalize the pursuit of evil The first half of the novel includes some pretty macabre stuff, but it worked philosophically I thought the second half muddied the waters and weakened the theme Maybe the problem is just me maybe I m just so misanthropic in my dislike of romance novel tropes that it clouds my judgment However, I think some of these tropes actually feed the sins the author is trying to fight The specifics are spoilers, so I m hiding that paragraph view spoiler Of course girls like to fantasize that the rich, handsome, glamorous, unobtainable guy will be mysteriously and instantly drawn to them Of course they like to believe that his desire to be with them will magically reform him from his playboy ways and turn him into Mr Right Of course they like to believe he would do anything for them THIS IS VANITY It s a warped version of something that might have begun as a good and healthy desire I don t think it s helpful to uncritically use this trope I thought it confused the message of the story to save our heroine through this kind of romance novel fantasy love hide spoiler It is not often, accurately never, that I stay up until 3AM because I just can t put a book down Jennifer the Damned not only turned me nocturnal, but it really moved my Holy Spirit Beautifully written by Ullo, she shares her ministry through the twisted words of this fiction Crossing my fingers for a sequel.