Sumiko Saulson’s Black Women in Horror Writing #14: Janiera Eldridge

Interior of lounge bar in modern style

Soul Sisters by Janiera Eldridge

Review by Bryan Cebulski (@BryanOnion)

Last post I mentioned my troubled relationship with the whole vampire subgenre of horror fiction. Long story short, I generally have little interest in vampire lore but keep coming back to it for a variety of reasons—reasons which may stem from the premise but aren’t necessarily exclusive to sexy evil fanged nightstalkers. This time I returned to vampires out of simple practicality. I already purchased this one ebook because of it’s $0.99 price tag, had nothing else lined up, so I decided to go for it despite my misgivings. I took on Janiera Eldridge’s Soul Sisters.

Well, I regret to say this is the first work in this series that I could not bring myself to finish.

No disrespect to Eldridge. End of the day, I decided that I’m just not this novel’s intended audience. I should have known from the start. The intro clearly indicates Stephanie Meyer and E.L. James as primary influences. Authors who I have only a tangential knowledge of, and of whom I will thus make no judgment, but who I am quite certain did not intend their work for me either.

The story here, the first of a trilogy, stars Dana and Ani as twin sisters—the former human, the latter a vampire. Dana cannot die unless Ani dies. Seeing as how Ani is immortal, this could be some time. They’re both in it for the long haul. But then their lives are changed when a man assaults Dana. Ani reacts accordingly—killing the man and feeding upon his corpse. Then like a twisted Thelma & Louise, the women are set on the run again the vampire’s leader, who seeks to kill them for this indiscreet act of cruel justice, as it has thrown the secret sanctity of their bloodthirsty culture.

From what I did read I can make a few comments: Sure, it’s an amateurish work. But not bad. In need of polish, with spelling and grammar that needs checking and some pacing that needs work. But not bad. It’s clear Eldridge had a lot of enthusiasm for her story. I think the relationship between vampires and humans is more often than not over-eroticized (Buffy, L.A. Banks’ Vampire Huntress series, Pearl Cleage’s Just Wanna Testify, that unspeakable Keanu Reeves version of Dracula), so I appreciated having sisterhood as the primary human/vampire relationship. Really it’s a cool narrative premise. The writing may not have grabbed me, but if perhaps I had been more invested in the characters, or in the promise of erotic scenes, or in the promise of a mishmash of melodrama, action, and erotic scenes, then I might have been able to keep hold of the narrative more firmly.

Soul Sisters is really why I’ve been so delayed working on this project. I kept trying to dig it, become engrossed, appreciate it for what it was, only to be further alienated from it by the simple fact that it’s just not for me.

Best of luck to Janiera Eldridge in future installments to this series. Regrettably I don’t think I’ll be returning to it.

Previous: Minion by L.A. Banks | Next: How to Recognize a Demon Has Become Your Friend by Linda Addison

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About Bryan Cebulski

Writer. Cis queer. History, masculinity, media. Point-and-click adventure protagonist. He/Him/His. Collects bad habits like Jessica Rabbit.
This entry was posted in Books, Sumiko Saulson’s 60 Black Women in Horror Writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Sumiko Saulson’s Black Women in Horror Writing #14: Janiera Eldridge

  1. Pingback: Sumiko Saulson’s Black Women in Horror Writing #15: Linda D. Addison | Bryan's Pop Culture Hour

  2. Pingback: Sumiko Saulson’s Black Women in Horror Writing #13: L.A. Banks | Bryan's Pop Culture Hour

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