Toreador (Vampire: The Masquerade: Clan Novel, #1)by Published 14 Jan 1999
|Toreador (Vampire: The Masquerade: Clan Novel, #1).pdf|
|Publisher||White Wolf Publishing|
"The World of Darkness Exposed It begins with Clan Novel: Toreador, but this novel is just the beginning of a 13-book series dedicated to the Kindred. It's the biggest event in World of Darkness history This epic series of over one million words will reveal the secrets of this hidden world, from the smallest detail to the grandest marvel. The Nosferatu's apparent scheme to put the Eye of Hazimel into the hands of the Setite Vegel will decide the fates of Kindred legions -- and will determine the future of the Camarilla and Sabbat, the sects engaged in a massive war along the entire East Coast. And the list of schemers doesn't end there. Can you say ""Antediluvian""? Each novel in the series focuses on a member of one of the 13 vampire clans. Clan Novel: Toreador sets events into motion with Victoria Ash: a high-ranking Camarilla manipulator who turns plots, assassinations and wars to her advantage".
"Toreador (Vampire: The Masquerade: Clan Novel, #1)" Reviews
I'll start off by saying that this is not by any means a bad book. The only other Old World of Darkness books I've read was The Horizon War trilogy, which draws mostly on Mage: The Ascension (my preferred game) material. For the record, my approach to reviewing books is to not only review how good I thought the story was, but to also examine the prose and technique.
The story is fine. The chapters are unnumbered and instead have headings for the time, date, and location of the text that follows it. The majority of the story/action takes place in a single night (June 21-22, 1999) in Atlanta, GA, though there are some "chapters" that take place a couple of days before. Readers should be warned that the Clan Novel series is not chronological, so you do need to pay attention to these timestamps as other books can start significantly before or after the events of this book.
The first third of the book focuses on Leopold, a fledgling Toreador sculptor that begins to have an existential crisis about trying to find out who sired him. The second third of the book focuses on Victoria Ash, an ambitious and seductive Elder Toreador that has recently moved to the city in order to serve as the Toreador Primogen (i.e., clan representative) of Atlanta. In a (I assume unintentional) twist of Mrs. Dalloway, Victoria throws a lavish celebration party with the ulterior motive of engaging in intrigue and mischief. The last third of the novel switches between several POV characters from multiple clans that are attending the party, including revisits to Victoria and Leopold.
The only "technique" that's present in the book is that when it approaches the climax, the chapters start getting progressively shorter. It's successful in adding to the suspense. Characterization is somewhat of a strength of the novel. Victoria is a strong POV and I feel like I walk away knowing who she is a character. She has a penchant for "tossing the dice" and using chance/chaos determine the paths she takes in order to maintain an air of unpredictability. I thought this was a very nice touch, considering the flatness of most other characters. Leopold had his moments, but his part of the story didn't add too much to the overall plot. I feel like I can predict his role in future books, but his chapters didn't have much relevance to the centerpiece (the party) of this novel. Vegel (a Setite) was also fairly interesting for the little "screen time" he got.
Otherwise, the prose and structure in this novel is such a mess... A strong editor would have brought this up to 4 stars at minimum. The author is very guilty of "telling" and not "showing," meaning that most of the time it feels like you're reading a source book for the game instead of a narrative. Most of the worldbuilding is done in this "tell you" manner, which really ruins the suspension of disbelief. Instead of saying "Nosferatu are all hideous. Their ugliness makes them hide in sewers. Kine are horrified by their ugly faces." you can say "The light slanted under the Nosferatu Elder's hood, illuminating the same melting, gnarled deformities that branded all of their clan. Her nose flared at the smell of waste and mildew that wafted from his robes, no doubt from the sewers and shadows that his kind have been consigned to lurk in for eternity. The mere sight of their ghoulish visages by a kine was enough to break the masquerade." I mean, I have no formal training in writing and I just whipped out something better than what I read.
Another issue I have is leaving things written in between the lines for astute readers to figure out. Right when you start thinking you've figured something sneaky or unsaid about a character, the author comes out and bluntly states it... which is very frustrating. It makes you feel like you don't really need to read everything because you'll just be "told" shortly. You will also run into a few paragraphs where absolutely nothing of value is written and you can skip them and not miss anything. No characterization, worldbuilding, plot details... Just tangent thoughts provided by the character. It's the equivalent of filler/bullshit in a student essay,
Another technical issue I have is that three or four chapters are dedicated to Benito Giovanni, in which absolutely nothing of relevance happens that contributes to this story. I understand that all of these stories are supposed to intersect/connect, but if it was necessary to keep him in this book they could have found a way to tie a stronger thread to the party, Victoria, or Leopold at bare minimum. The Horizon Wars similarly had strange Giovanni chapters where (like in this one) the Giovanni sits in their office thinking and not much happens otherwise... until it does and then it just leaves you scratching your head.
Finally, the party scene was largely from Victoria's POV, where she essentially repeats the same sentiments the entire time... snickering in her head about this brilliant little intrigue she hopes to conduct. It would have been more refreshing to explore more chapters from other perspectives to see how a variety of different vampires perceive her. From a "game novel" POV, it would mean that we not only get a chance to see her thoughts, we can also see how Kindred of different clans/generations react in order to gauge how skilled she truly is. A woman's perspective (e.g., Eleanor, the Prince's wife) would have been fascinating, for example.
In sum, Victoria Ash is the redeeming quality of this novel as she truly embodies the Toreador archetype she's designed after. She also demonstrates a level of complexity that is interesting, whereas I can't say the same for Leopold and Vergel. The pacing of the novel and use of progressively shortening chapters to build tension makes it a fairly easy read. However, the prose is really lacking, and the choices of POV characters (or lack thereof) wasn't always well thought out. It really makes it hard for a novel to stand on its own when you include material that doesn't fit within the plot.
Perhaps they could have thought out how to structure these books in a better manner. I appreciate how they were ambitious and wanted to have a book dedicated to each clan, but perhaps better planning (storyboards and whatnot) would have led to a better execution. I get the feeling we'll be getting a lot of disconnected fragments through the next 12 books, which is really just bad writing... There are methods of successfully including "one-shot" chapters in a novel that may pop back up in a future publication, but you won't find them here.
I've read the next book is one of the best of the saga (and by a different author), so I look forward to reviewing that one.
I recently finished Vampire: the Masquerade- Bloodlines (in case you're wondering, I first used a tremere and I'm currently playing as a malkavian- obfuscate is the shit!) so I decided to finally read this book that I bought for 3 euros at a local book bazaar.
It is the first novel of the "Clan" series, named so because each book mainly describes a single vampire clan. As the name implies, this one is about the Toreador, the "artistic" vampires of the setting. Leopold is a young Toreador who does not remember who Embraced him. Additionaly, he cannot scultp a statue if he knows that his model is a Kindred (fancy vampire term for "vampire"). It all changes when he finally manages to do so, and he decides to show his latest creation at Victoria Ash's party.
Enter Victoria. A 300-ish years old Toreador who decides to throw a party in order to gauge the vampire situation in Atlanta, Georgia, and move into position to become a major player among the Kindred of the city... before unexpected guests (you can probably guess who they are) come and ruin it all for everyone.
There are more characters, obviously- a Giovanni who is stalked by an unknown person, a Ventrue and a Brujah who create their own (or so they think) political game to overthrow Atlanta's Malkavian prince, a Setite and a Nosferatu with a mysterious ancient occult item...
I am mildly interested in the World of Darkness setting, so I was eager to read the book. Sadly, it was not as interesting as I wanted it to be. First of all, it never made me sympathise with any characters. This is important because even dislikable characters make you feel something! Not the protagonists of Toreador, though. I couldn't really make myself feel anything for Leopold, or Vegel, or the Anarchs, or Victoria. I guess the book failed to make me care about them, or the situation in general. The main reason is that it was not really well-written. It wasn't well-translated, either. Weird words, repeating the same words, that kind of thing.
I am willing to give it three stars for two reasons. First, I cannot give it 2.5 stars. Second, I am willing to gice the series another chance. I might read another one or two books and see if they get any better. Plus, there have to be some good books based on the World of Darkness!
This was an interesting reading experience. The whole novel takes place in one night or so, and the story does pack a lot into that one night. Though we are mostly following Victoria Ash and Leopold, the story moves back and forth between other characters, all with their different schemes and motivations. If you like dark fiction with a lot of intrigue and machinations, then this book is for you because the vampires of The Masquerade, known as the Kindred, pretty much live to pursue Machiavellian plots. Our main characters are members of the Toreador Clan, which are artists, so you also get a lot of descriptions related to the art crafts, specially sculpture which is what Leopold does. I think I particularly enjoyed this novel at this point in time because it presents vampires as they should be: scary, powerful, ruthless. In other words, these are not the wimpy sissy vampires a lot of paranormal romances and urban fantasies seem to favor these days. These are not nice vampires, even when they are at their most seductive. The novel has a pretty strong dark tone overall that works nicely. It does leave you with a cliffhanger leading to the next novel, which I will be sure to try and find. It looks like the plot will thicken, but I will have to wait for the next books to find out more.
It was a very long book. It took me at least half a month to finish it. I can't say I hated it though. I was extremely upset and pleased at the same time as soon as I read the final pages of the last few chapters.
The idea of vampires in this novel pushed me into a whole new world. I got so far in that actually forgot that the second half of the book took place in a single night.
I remember it was around six or seven at night and I was screaming "NO! THAT CAN'T BE THE WAY IT ENDED!" because they just left me off on a cliff-hanger.
My favorite character had to be Leopold. My least, Victoria.
I liked Leopold the best because I thought he went insane in the end when he was sucking on a literal eye-ball. I disliked Victoria the most because she sounded a lot more selfish than evil, and she was the closest thing in this book to a villain.
Thinking about Hannah, I was wondering whether or not she knew what was going to happen that night. None of the Tremere showed up to the summer solstice, and the author brought it up more than once.
Overall, I thought this book was pretty good.
It was satisfying in a way that I was craving for more but I was so long that it was a little painful to focus on a single page and read for more than two hours at a time.
Real rating is fluctuating between 3.5 and 4
I am rereading this book. I (I think) read it when it first came out during the days of the Old World of Darkness game systems heyday.
I'm not quite sure how entertaining this book would be to someone who has not played the games. I have the feeling that it would be easy for someone who doesn't know the world already to get lost in the novel.
There is a lot of explanation throughout the book, in an attempt to clue in the casual reader. To someone who has played the games though, this might drag the story down. To me some of the inclusions of game lore seemed a little gratuitous and was distracting.
I'm a bit of a loss of how to proceed from here. I want to finally read the whole series, but am having trouble finding some of the parts.
White Wolf released collections of the novels (there is 13 in all) and rearranged them. They basically took all 13 novels, and dissected them and put them back together in chronological order. I have read mixed reviews on this.
Also, I am a reading challenge whore and look at that as the difference between reading 13 books and 4 books toward my goal :P