Vampire Weekend Book Review Header

Brotherhood author Mike Chen sinks his teeth into the vampire sub-genre with the delightful Vampire Weekend.

Louise Chao has been a vampire for decades. A punk rock lover and musician, Louise is a loner living on the fringes of both vampire and human society. That is until some long-lost relatives show up on her doorstep one weekend. While she initially doesn’t recognize EJ, she instantly empathizes with his young grandson, Ian. Ian’s father has recently died in an accident and his mother is dying of cancer. He’s understandably angry at his situation. As a former angry teen herself, Louise reluctantly allows Ian into her life for the weekend hoping to be the accepting adult for him that she needed at that age. But all is not well in the vampire community. There’s a blood shortage, the leader of the local vampires is trying to organize something, and, to top it off, Ian has figured out what Louise is. What follows is a punk rock-inspired vampire revolt-filled weekend that may just lead to the family Louise didn’t know she was missing.

Louise is a complicated character. A loner, who doesn’t realize her solitary existence has left her lonely and living half an immortal life. Her only friend died in a car crash at the beginning of the pandemic, and she’s been running from her family since the seventies. She’s content and determined to be alone. But as she gets to know Ian, she begins to realize that when you’re immortal, being alone can be lonelier than when you were alive.

Vampire Weekend by Mike Chen

Family is complicated

Louise is the daughter of first-generation Chinese immigrants. Her parents did everything they could to encourage Louise and her younger brother to “fit in” and “be normal” as well as encourage high grades and participation in sports. While her brother excelled at those things, Louise did not which lead to their falling out. She was made to feel bad for it and eventually discovered music. But to her parents, she was the screwup. In her early twenties, Louise left home and never looked back. The only family she bonded with was an aunt, another “black sheep” of the family due to her being a lesbian. Until Ian and his grandfather show up.

Ian is a struggling teen trying to deal with the fact that he’s probably going to be an orphan. He’s angry and doesn’t want to spend the weekend at the hospital, instead wanting a break from it all. He begs Louise to let him stay for a couple of days. When he figures out what she is, he becomes desperate to find a way to turn his mother into a vampire too to save her. His determination leads them to get swept into the drama of the vampire world that Louise has been avoiding and end up key members in a vampire revolution against the controlling vampire elite.

In Ian, Louise finds a kindred spirit. While the reappearance of family drags up old memories, bonding with Ian leads her to heal the rift between herself and her remaining family. In the end, she’s no longer alone and avoids society. Louise, Ian, EJ, and Ian’s mother forge a new family that is loving and accepting of one another. While it’s not exactly the found family trope, I do love stories that bring people back together just as much.


This world’s vampires are a bit different from other fictional worlds. They aren’t super strong or fast, but they do burn easily in sunlight. They also lack any kind of sex drive since their organs no longer work. The sexy, romantic vampires these are not. Which is kind of refreshing since normally, vampires in fiction are hyper-sexualized. As for turning someone, no one really knows how the process works exactly. Which, as it turns out, is by design. The vampire elite, an ancient set of vampires, have been hiding the secret to turning others – and superpowers – for centuries, doling it out only when they see fit. That is until Louise and Ian help out in a little revolution.

The story references several pop-culture vampires. Louise calls to mind Louis from Interview with the Vampire, Eric the area vampire leader a similar character in True Blood, and Louise’s brother shares a first name with one of the Salvatore brothers from The Vampire Diaries. While Ian’s “I know what you are” line was the perfect Twilight reference that made me laugh out loud.

The use of music and musical references throughout the book lend themselves well to the story. From the title referencing not just a band, but the vampire-filled weekend the characters spend together. Blondie’s “One Way or Another” is referenced multiple times. It’s the song playing on the stereo the day Louise walks out of her parent’s house, she hears it in her head as she confronts her family later, and it’s the song she plays on stage during their revolution. It’s one of my personal favorites, so I ended up with the song in my head for a bit as I read. Other references include Bowie, Daft Punk, and more.


Chen wrote this concurrently with Brotherhood. This project was part labor of love and part love letter to vampire fiction and music respectively. While not a traditional vampire story, I think that’s to its benefit. At its core, it’s not a book about supernatural creatures, but about family and acceptance. It’s got a few action scenes, and some suspense sprinkled in, plus humor and heart. All aspects of a great story. If your looking for a story about family and second chances this one is for you.

Vampire Weekend by Mike Chen is available to buy now.


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