It was a while ago that I received this short story for review. To my shame, I must admit that I forgot all about it and it sat there, on my Kindle, patiently awaiting my attention. And, finally, it got it!
Evolution, by Lissa Kasey, tells the story of Genesis. Barely scraping by, Genesis lives in New York, works as a waiter in the club Down Low (he knows how to disappear if the cops ever come in), and is the singer in the band Evolution. One night, on his way home, he swerves to avoid running over someone in a white shirt, flashing by in front of his car… only to hit someone else. Fortunately, he didn’t go fast enough to do serious harm and the two young men get into his car so that Genesis can drive the stranger home.
It takes a while for Genesis to realise that the person he hit is none other than Kerstande Petterson, former guitarist of the band Triple Flight… but, he does fall head over heels for the man. Even though the man gives him the cold shoulder one minute, and passion the next.
Unbeknownst to Genesis, Kerstrande is an unregistered vampire. But, he will go for weeks on end without feeding, until the darkness overcomes him and he kills the humans he feeds on. His actions create a vicious cycle of starvation, kill, and guilt. Genesis is very aware of the shadows surrounding Kerstrande, even if he doesn’t know where they originate from, and he is set on helping the man.
Genesis himself is an enigma to the people he meets and there is a large part of himself he keeps hidden. He sees ghosts and auras; if that became known, his own life would be in serious danger from an organisation called Preservation Group.
Vampires are not the only mythical creatures in this story, but don’t think for a minute that Ms Kasey’s story is like the ones from Stephanie Meyer. Instead, this story made me think of Anne Rice’s stories, mixed with Charlaine Harris… and I am sure that you will fall just as quickly in love with both Genesis and Kerstrande as I did. Not to mention some of the other characters that feature in this story. Then again, there are plenty of characters you will hate just as quickly.
For a short story, a lot happens and I got to know the main characters rapidly, yet the author managed to keep some surprises for the end… and, oh… there are some serious mysteries in there; I promise!
The setting, New York, is kept fairly obscure, with only the Park and nightclub Down Low receiving a real mention. It feels this story could have been set anywhere as there is so little said about the location. I’m still trying to figure out if that bothers me or not.
Editorially this story is very sound. The few (minor) mistakes I found will bother a very limited amount of people.
So, all in all, this was an incredibly entertaining, engaging, heartbreaking, feel-good, fantastical story that sucked me straight in from page one. This means, I am giving Evolution 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Sorry, I’ve got to go… I need to see if book 2, Evolution: Genesis, is out already!
Gene Sage has only ever wanted to sing, but his band, Evolution, is pushing him toward the big time. He finds it hard to focus on making musical history when he’s dreaming of graveyards and seeing ghosts. And while all he can think of is hiding who he is from a world unforgiving of anyone different, he discovers he’s also the ultimate snack for vampires and demons. When Gene literally runs into—over—his idol, Kerstrande Petterson, rock god, vampire in hiding, and music cynic, his life falls over the edge into chaos.
Jaded by the world and nearly a decade in the music business, Kerstrande thinks Gene wants to use him to make Evolution immortal in more than one way, but he can’t seem to brush aside the young singer’s enthusiasm.
Getting involved with Kerstrande drags Gene into otherworldly power struggles. Between the ghosts stalking them, the media painting supernaturals as villains, and a vampire out of control in the city, the only way for Gene and Kerstrande to survive is for Gene to embrace his powers—and his destiny.
First Edition published by Harmony Ink Press, May 2013.
Lissa Kasey lives in St. Paul, MN, has a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing, and collects Asian Ball Joint Dolls who look like her characters. She has three cats who enjoy waking her up an hour before her alarm every morning and sitting on her lap to help her write. She can often be found at Anime Conventions masquerading as random characters when she’s not writing about boy romance.