The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod: Eighth Grade Bites (Flash Back Book #1)

Author: Heathjer Brewer
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
So the first book that I decided to read for my throwback to middle school reads is Vladimir Tod. I read this book when I was about 13. Now remember this was in the Twilight eras, I was very into anything and everything vampire.
Goodreads Summary:
Vlad has to keep his vampire urges under control while dealing with the pressures of middle school. Thirteen-year-old Vladimir Tod really hates junior high. Bullies harass him, the principal is doggin him, and the girl he likes prefers his best friend. Oh, and Vlad has a secret: His mother was human, but his father was a vampire. With no idea of the extent of his powers, Vlad struggles daily with his blood cravings and his enlarged fangs. When a substitute teacher begins to question him a little too closely, Vlad worries that his cover is about to be blown. But when he faces a much bigger problem: He’s being hunted by a vampire killer.
Original Thoughts (what I can remember):
So when I read this I thought that it was a decent sized book at 181 pages, remember this is when I just started to actually read. Some of the things I remember when reading it were that the idea of a hybrid vampire was interesting, some characters need to grow on you, and the explanations to how vampires function were explained very well. The idea of the hybrid was very intriguing to me because I had never read anything like that, most books you read vampires are sterile and cannot procreate with humans. So I thought it was very inventive for the author to come up with such a idea. Like any book characters can take development, I thought the author was good at this because there is a certain character in particular that throws you through some emotional trials throughout the book. Lastly, the explanation on how vampires function was explained very well, better than others I had read. By function I am referring to things such as how they feed, function on a daily basis, and the vampiric society as a whole.
Rating: 5
Current Thoughts:
Honestly I think that middle school Mikayla had good taste. I mean reading as a now 21 year old I definitely picked up on things that me as a 13 year old missed. The most ironic part was that the big city mentioned in the book was called Stokerton. At the time I didn’t make the connection between the Stokerton and Bram Stoker who is the author of one of the vampire origin stories, Dracula. Another thing along the same lines was that one of the characters in the beginning of the book was named Edgar Poe, which we all know he shares the same name as the famous poet Edgar Allan Poe who is known for his gothic writings. Though I get why I didn’t pick up on these things in middle school because I didn’t really study them until I majored in English in University. Another thing I didn’t much appreciate when younger was the fact that journal entries are used to help explain the story, back then I didn’t much like things such as flashbacks or journal entries. Overall I really enjoyed rereading this book again and will probably reread the whole series when I get home.
Rating: 4
Full Review: SPOILERS AHEAD!!!
So the books starts off with someone (you don’t know who) searching for Vlad and killing in the process. Then it goes to Vlad’s actual life in middle school, struggling to contain his true nature while living among humans. He struggles because he is the only one of his kind around, he was born a vampire because his father was one, but his father was killed 3 years ago. Luckily his aunt who is his guardian is able to sneak blood out of the hospital where she works, making it one less thing for Vlad to worry about.
The town is a bit in freak out mode because the english teacher goes missing. That is when the substitute Otis Otis shows up. If you ask me that sounds like a fishy name, I mean who has the same first and last name? Mr. Otis tells the class that he is actually a Mythology teacher and he wants to incorporate that into his teachings. The funny part is that he thought mythology in a city called Stokerton. Sound a little like Stoker as in Bram Stoker to you? Ya me too. Mr. Otis decides that for the mythology portion he wants the students to pull a creature out of his hat. Vlad is praying he doesn’t get vampire because he would in a way be revealing his true nature to his whole class. Mr. Otis gets to him and guess what he pulls out? Werewolf! Ha bet you guessed vampire. Vlad is relieved and then right before his very eyes the words begin to morph on the paper and when he reads it out loud it now says vampire. What the heck! So he is going to have to report on what he truly is, but hides from the world.
For another class Vlad is supposed to do a family tree and since both of his parents are dead he asks his aunt for help and she sends him up to the attic where all of the photo albums and such were. While up there he finds photo albums as expected, but he also finds a strange book and an odd cylinder object. What could it be? He needs a key to get in and can’t figure it out, but his aunt gives him a ring of keys his mother had given him. In the end none of the keys work and he is about to give up when he accidentally puts his pinger over the lock and it begins to glow and opens up. At first he sees a weird marking with three slashes and what looks to be a parentheses. There is a note in the book from his father in it saying that has him to believe that they may have been murdered. He goes to his old house to find clues and eventually finds a lock in his father’s closet that also opens when he touches it. In there he uncovers his father’s journal. He will finally get the answers that he has been looking for, or at least he hopes.
Vlad begins to get weird vibes off of Mr. Otis and decides to investigate. He goes to his missing teacher’s house and while there he finds the marking from the book his father had under the matt. Then when he is searching more in the house he finds something very peculiar. Mr. Otis’s top hat! What could this mean? Perhaps Mr. Otis is behind the teacher’s disappearance? While still stalking Mr. Otis one night Vlad (from a tree) sees him talking to someone names D’Ablo. Sharing a name that references to the devil a coincidence? I think not. He is demanding Otis to search faster for Tomas (Vlad’s father) and his son faster. After this Vlad is sure that Mr. Otis is a vampire, and one that is out to get him.
After the oral report, Vlad gets his paper back and on the back it says that he knows his secret, that he’s a vampire. Vlad finally approaches him and Otis reveals a big surprise. Are you ready? You sure? Here it goes…He is Vlad’s dads half brother! So Mr. Otis who Vlad thought was out to get him is actually his uncle. All when he is finding this out D’Ablo kidnaps his aunt and takes her to Elysia, which is the vampire society. D’Ablo is the head of the council there and wants his father to pay for his crimes or Vlad in his place. The price for having a relationship with a human, Vlad being a product of that relationship, is punishable by death. Like why such a steep price? No interracial marriage between them I guess.
Otis and Vlad go to rescue his aunt even though they know it’s a trap. Otis then tutns on Vlad saying he lied to get him there, though it was all a ruse to get Nelly out. Otis let them think he killed her. Then he is taking Vlad away to be locked up until judgement, but he has him escape through a shoot. They almost make it out when D’Ablo, that little bitch, comes out to stop them. Luckily Vlad has the mysterious cylinder with him and when things aren’t looking good for him he brings it out. Everyone is amazed that he has it, which must mean it is of importance. Then they refer to it as a Lucis and D’Ablo doesn’t think that vlad can even know how it works. After a second Vlad figures out that it works just as the closet and book did and his finger print works. A bright flash and he looks up and D’Ablo has a gaping hole in his stomach.
At the end Otis tells Vlad he will keep the council from going after him. Vlad does not want him to leave because he needs a fellow vampire to help him discover what he can actually do. Otis promises that he will be there when Vlad truly needs him. Otis gives Vlad his own marking, the same kind he found in the books (his fathers marking) and Otis has his own on wrist also. Then life for Vlad goes back to normal, or does it? Until the next book…
Final Thoughts:
I think Heather Brewer has a very clever way going through her writing. I like how she tricked readers into thinking that Otis was the evil one after Vlad. My first time reading I really believed it was him, I can’t say anything about reading it when older because I already remembered a lot of what was going to happen. I also loved her references to to Vlad (Vlad the impaler), Stokerton (Bram Stoker), Edgar Poe (Edgar Allen Poe), and D’Ablo (Devil). Overall even as a 21 year old I thought that the book was witty and s pretty good read. I mean you have to take into consideration that the intended audience is middle school to high school. You can’t compare Heather Brewer to someone like Sarah J Maas who is more intended for 18+. All in all I still like it!

Until next time!

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