Book review · novel

Book review: Stake Sauce Arc 1

Stake Sauce, Arc 1: The Secret Ingredient Is Love. No, Really (Stake Sauce #1), by RoAnna Sylver

16 stake sauceDescription: (from goodreads)

ARC 1, IN WHICH: A cute punk-rock vampire and a disabled firefighter-turned-mall-cop with a dark past join forces to battle the forces of evil.

Jude used to leap out of helicopters to rescue/protect people from terrifying infernos. Now, by day, he protects the local mall from rowdy teenagers who ride their skateboards inside. By night, he protects the the parking lot, and the rest of Portland, from undead, bloodsucking creatures of the darkness. Or would if he could find them.

But he’s just about ready to give it up (living with PTSD and pain from the traumatic event that cost him a leg, a friend, and a lot more is hard enough), when something crashes into his life. And his window.

It’s one of these creatures of the darkness – and he’s a lot less scary than expected. More cuddly, with dark fuzzy wings, and neon-bright hair.

His name is Pixie, and he refuses to bite anyone. Assault/murder/draining fluids isn’t punk, even if being a vampire really kind of is. He’s very hungry by now, and the much bigger, meaner, deadlier vamps kick him around on the nightly. Jude would love to find and fight some actual undead bullies. And Pixie could use some help staying… ‘alive.’ Time to make a deal.

Together they fight crime. And maybe even heal.

Of course, life still sucks when you’re a vampire who refuses to suck blood. Fortunately, there’s a really interesting new barbecue restaurant in the mall, with an intriguing new recipe. (We hear that the secret ingredient is… love. No, really.)

Expected publication: October 31st 2017. 
A review copy (eARC) of this book was provided by the author. Some things might change in the final copy.

currentlyreadingjune1I got the first out of six parts making this first Arc back in June and I really enjoyed it, it left me wanting for more, especially since the vampire mentioned in the description doesn’t appear yet in part1!

I was lucky to get an eARC and started reading it as soon as it was possible for me timewise! And I was not disappointed.

I really liked the illustrations at the start of each new parts (so, 6 illustrations), they’re a really nice touch (they are made by Noel Arthur Heimpel) and I’m really wondering how they’ll look like on the final copy!

I like cute things, but I also like scary slightly gory things and RoAnna Sylver delivers on both side with this novel! The eerie settings like the deserted mall at night, the dark alleys, the creepy tunnels were totally on point for a Halloween read. While being a tad scary at times, it was still a very warm story, full of hope like the author has been known to write, which left me with a lot of fuzzy feelings. This book is one of those that break your heart and then mend it back together carefully ❤

I think my favourite thing in Stake Sauce was the conversation around consent. It is a vampire story and it plays a lot with the having-to-be-invited-in rule. I can’t stress it enough, consent was really present a lot throughout the book, not just a one time thing, it is discussed on several occasions and went beyond the vampire thing, of course, and I loved this a lot.

“But just ’cause you said yes one time doesn’t mean it’s okay every time.”

I also loved the deep bond between Jude (main character), Jasper and Eva: they are long-time friends and used-to-be colleagues who went through a lot together and are dealing with their trauma in different ways. I loved how they respected each others boundaries and recovery pace. They also talk, this book has a lot of dialogues and won’t play the miscommunication card to create some drama. While the characters don’t always tell each others the whole truth, you can feel they are looking after each other and doing their best, always in a respectful way. They are open and honest about their feelings, caring towards one another.

This is also a story about grief, and like I said, about dealing with trauma. Jude has PTSD, and he tries to deal with it. That’s not something that will stop him from doing his best and watching over everyone, even if it does complicate things.

“He was terrified, facing down creatures of the night and probably death itself, but he wasn’t overwhelmed, and he wasn’t running. He was fully present in his terror, not flying into a panic attack or flashback. Baby steps.”

There’s also a twist that I saw coming from the moment it was hinted at, and I think it could have been easily avoided. I would have liked to be surprised by this reveal, I was only waiting for it to happen. Still, it might be a good thing for people who just don’t like to be taken aback by big reveal and take time to get used to things, especially since I believe this is what RoAnna Sylver’s books are aimed at: being a comfort and not a source of anxiety.

I was talking about this with a friend recently and while I don’t mind that much, this is only an observation: when Pixie turn into a (very cute fluffy and pink) bat, and vice versa, he always has his clothes on magically (which, okay, the turning into a bat thing is more magical, I admit.)

Again this novel – like the previous ones from this author – is full of diverse characters who help each others and who will make you experience so many emotions. There’s big hints for more and I’ll definitely be interested to see what’s to come for these characters!

content warning (supplied by author): violence, off-screen torture/abuse references, on-screen injury with religious (Christian/Catholic) imagery

I would like to recommend this lovely review here too!

Here’s a drawing of the main character made by the author (with an even better summary of what the book is about) :

And here’s a little pinterest board I made while reading:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s