When a young orphan named Heathcliff is brought to Wuthering Heights by the manor's owner, Mr. Earnshaw, rumors abound. Yet the truth is more complicated than anyone could guess. Heathcliff's mother was a member of a gypsy band that roamed the English countryside, slaying vampires to keep citizens safe. But his father was a vampire. Now, even as Heathcliff gallantly fights the monsters who roam the moors in order to protect beautiful, spirited Catherine Earnshaw, he is torn by compassion for his victims - and by his own dark thirst. Though Catherine loves Heathcliff, she fears the vampire in him, and is tempted by the privileged lifestyle their neighbors, the Lintons, enjoy. Forced to choose between wealthy, refined Edgar Linton and the brooding, increasingly dangerous Heathcliff, she makes a fateful decision. And soon Heathcliff, too, must choose - between his hunger, and the woman he will love for all eternity...
As you can probably guess by the title, this book is a variation on Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, but with the addition of vampires. I’d never read the original book before, so I had to do some research on it before diving into this book. Based on the summary for this book, I expected the focus to be on two characters, one of whom is a half-vampire. However, it wasn’t entirely the case.
The narrative structure of the novel made it hard to read. The majority of the story is told by Nelly Dean, a housekeeper, to Mr. Lockwood, the new tenant at Thrushcross Grange. That narrative sometimes splints off into other perspectives, which just made it even more confusing. There were many times when I would have to go back a few pages to figure out who was telling the story. For me, I think it would’ve been better if the novel had been told in the third person, thus making it easier to pinpoint the character followed in each chapter.
Something that hurt my enjoyment of the book was the fact that the majority of the characters were incredibly unlikable. I expected Heathcliff to start off as a brooding guy who we would gradually become attached to; however, I never grew to like him at all. There was some sympathy for him when he finds out why Catherine Earnshaw doesn’t want to marry him, but besides that, I had a hard time reading anything that focused on him. I did find myself liking Nelly Dean, the main narrator, the most because she was very quick and clever for a woman of her station. Though they were aggressive and mean in their introduction, Cathy Linton and Hareton Earnshaw do become more likable, especially towards the end when the relationship between them improved.
That being said, this book did end up giving me a pleasant surprise. Even though Heathcliff and Catherine Earnshaw weren't very enjoyable characters (especially Heathcliff), I actually did feel invested in knowing the story behind their relationship and later, that of their descendants. The final actions of Cathy Linton and Hareton Earnshaw, along with Mrs. Dean, Mr. Lockwood, and the servant Joseph, tease at a possible sequel, or at least hints that the story isn't over yet. I felt like most of the novel was hard to get through because of the focus on Heathcliff, but it moves more quickly and smoothly once he's out of the picture.
Another thing I can commend the book for was the portrayal of vampires. Instead of focusing on Heathcliff as the dark and handsome fanged hero (though he didn't feel like a hero to me), there is more time spent talking about the vampire plague that gradually falls over the country. These vampires are incredibly vicious, and there are numerous reports of their attacks, some of which are on main characters of the novel. Even though the nature of how people are transformed into vampires and how to slay them is discussed, there is no word on how vampires and humans can crossbreed, Heathcliff being the only known child between a human and a vampire. Since there was so much news on vampire attacks, I thought that crossbreeding could be a topic that could also have been discussed as well. On a similar note, the revelation of Heathcliff's parentage, though hinted at before, doesn't actually happen until the last few chapters, apparently due to his gradual transformation into a vampire. This could have been explored more if the crossbreeding had been expanded upon.
On the one hand, the structure of the novel made it difficult to read, and most of the characters start out as very unlikable. But on the other hand, some of these characters gradually redeem themselves as the novel progresses, the portrayal of the vampires works well, and the ending does raise the possibility for a sequel, or at least some sort of epilogue. Despite being a slog to get through and its cons, the pros to this novel ended up being its saving graces for me.