Thirst No. 5: The Sacred Veil
Author: Christopher Pike
Release Date: March 2013
The new final book of the Last Vampire series (replacing part 6 as a concluding chapter, and wrapping up this new trilogy of add on books), “The Sacred Veil” takes a somewhat similar approach to book six, relying on revelations from Sita’s past to provide closure to her present. (This is likely the second of three conclusions that this series will have, as Wikipedia indicates there will be two more books before Pike abandons this series for good. ) I suppose it’s possible to review this book as a stand alone, but why would you read this book on its own when it is listed as either the 5th or 9th volume in the series, depending on how you buy it?
This installment picks up the team of Sita, Matt, Seymour, Cynthia, and more as they are on the run from the government following the destruction of the Cabal of psychic children and the accompanying building they were in. Behind that government manhunt is a computer program that is beyond mortal programming abilities and also possible demonic possession. Also becoming important (for the first time in the series) is the Veil of Veronica, a Christian relic purported to have been touched by Christ and imbued with special power. In order to fight this computer program/demon, Sita must deal with the most horrific experience of her life, her capture and torture while being held by Nazis in Auschwitz.
That’s a lot of plot recap that sounds pretty convoluted, because this book has a lot of plot threads that come together in a convoluted manner. I wasn’t a big fan of the plot of book six either, but felt that the conclusion Pike reached was well earned and a fitting resolution for the series. Here, the constant flashbacks (and then story within a story regarding Veronica) provided a more coherent narrative than the actual main plot, but by jumping back and forth with the present and then introducing the character of Mr. Grey and his hidden motivations this book ended up being a bit of a mess.
The epilogue to this book is also straight up copied out of Last Vampire 6, but with a twist of an added personality present. This could have provided a fitting ending like that book did, but anticipating writing additional novels, Pike eliminated the closure that book provided and the originality that the original solution provided. The reading experience of all of this makes this book the biggest slog of the series thus far. I’ll rarely abandon a series when I’m this far into it, and if there are just two more books in the series I can hang in there and check finish it out. Thus far the relaunch of The Last Vampire series has brought some freshness to the character and some high concept ideas but is beginning to peter out in terms of being worthy of relaunching and extending the series.