On those cloudy days, Robert Neville was never sure when sunset came, and sometimes they were in the streets before he could get back.
There is nothing like a vampire story to get in the right move for the RIP challenge. I suppose this got a lot of press recently because of the Will Smith film, but the book is a lot darker than the film, as is often the case in these sort of adaptations, and a lot better. Especially the ending.
If you’ve seen the film, or even the trailers, you probably know the basic plot. Richard Neville may well be the last man left alive on earth. But he is not alone. There are creatures who come out at night. Creatures that science didn’t want to recognise as vampires, but what else could you possibly call them.
The only viewpoint we are given is that of Neville. We see the odd flashback to when the plague first began to appear, glimpses of his wife and child, but never enough to build a real picture of what he was like as a character before his transformation into the sole representative of the human race. Before his decent into, well I suppose that despair is as good a word as any. It is certainly an understandable response to Neville’s loneliness and hopelessness. The book was written in the 1950’s but is set in the 70’s, in the aftermath of some sort of war, a war that maybe caused the vampire plague.
Of course the real talking point about this story is the ending. But to talk about that here would be to risk spoiling it for others, so I’ll just say that I wasn’t totally taken by surprise. But it was a hell of a lot better than the film’s attempt at an ending. At the same time however I’d like to read a book that takes that storyline to the next level Show Spoiler ▼
All in all this was a good read. Atmospheric and well written, I’d probably read it again. And maybe even look out for more by Matheson, despite my attempts to cut down on the tbr list.
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