Stake Sauce, Act I is just one chapter of a larger piece of work. Act 1-6 will become available to the general public in October. I’m not big on the idea of waiting, but the way this is broken down does remind me of radio shows in the 1930’s, which I’m into. The story itself has a very interesting premise. Without giving too much away, Jude, a former firefighter, has seen vampires before, and that memory is haunting him at his new job as a mall security guard.
Again, this is only a part of a larger work so some of the points I make may become null and void as the story progresses. This chapter is a quick and fun read, giving a really interesting premise in a short amount of time. All in all, I think it took me about fifteen minutes to read. I did have one big issue with it, which is that some of the relationships between the characters are confusing. Eva, who is Jude’s boss, seems to be hitting on him, but also annoyed with him, but also had a very brother-sister relationship with him. A shopkeeper, Jasper, was also a firefighter (I believe), seems to have had a close relationship with a character who is deceased at the time the story starts, but also with Jude? I’m expecting these relationships to become clearer as the story progresses, but with just reading this short portion, it is confusing.
That being said, it makes some of the conversations confusing. I am a huge fan of stories that skip the “explanation” first chapter and jump right into the story, expecting you to pick up what is going on as you read. And for the most part, I feel like I picked up a lot from this first chapter, but there are bits and pieces that are missing which would make everything a lot more clear to the reader. This is something I expect will become clearer in later chapters as well.
I want to talk about what the chapter does well. In a few short pages, it makes me feel for the main character. He has seen vampires, something his most trusted friends don’t believe in. As the reader, you can feel his frustration. Eva, his boss, is a hard-ass who genuinely cares about her friend, and I’m both a little scared of her and also want to be her. Jasper, who seems like he will also be a main character, is funny and a little out there, and he owns a bookshop, so of course, I want to be his friend as well.
The book also manages to fit in the different identities of the characters without making a “thing” out of it. I am a huge supporter of books about people with disabilities that aren’t about their disabilities, or people who are LGBT+ without it being about them being LGBT+, which I think this book does really well. It also scored a lot of brownie points by having vampires that are scary. I was never a huge fan of the sleek and sexy vampire trend that happened a few years ago, and I’m happy that this book is embracing the terrifying monster angle instead.
Overall, I think the first chapter is well written. It’s very different, in terms of premise and execution, but different is good. The story seems to be moving in a very interesting direction, and I can’t wait for the second chapter to be released to get some of my questions answered. If you need a quick, fun read, this is something I would absolutely recommend. I look forward to getting my hands on the rest of it and looking at the work as a whole. Look out for a full review in October!
RoAnn Sylver is also known for Chameleon Moon, which was released in 2016, as well as But Not Up Here: Poems about Remembering in Neon. You can find her on Twitter or on Amazon to purchase her work. If you want to get the rest of Stake Sauce before October, you can become a Patron and see it that way!