I love Sarah Beth Durst. I know her predominantly as a "fairy tale author," having read her four previous books (Two of which were previously reviewed on this blog [ICE (and a look back at ICE and other East of the Sun, West of the Moon retellings), ENCHANTED IVY]). When Publisher's Marketplace announced a new two-book deal revolving around vampires, at first, I was a little iffy. Vampires, really? Was Durst going over to the dark side and leaving my lovely fairy tales behind? No, not quite. As I quickly realized, DRINK, SLAY, LOVE was going to be different, unique, something that hadn't been done before. After all, how frequently does a vampire get stabbed in the heart with a unicorn soul and begin to transform? Um, never. I was immediately intrigued.
The vampires in Durst's world are traditional ones that can't go out into sunlight, can be maimed by holy water, etc., etc. The uniqueness comes into play when a vampire named Pearl goes out for a midnight snack and is stabbed in the heart with a unicorn horn. Somehow, she becomes a Sunwalker, the only one of her kind able to see sunlight. Other things begin changing, too, and Pearl becomes evolved in a way that's unheard of among her kind. Pearl's Family is about to host a spectacular event for the King and thanks to Pearl's newfound ability to walk during the day, her parents enroll her in school. It's Pearl's mission to befriend the local students, gain entrance to their homes, and bring back a feast for the upcoming event. Only problem? Pearl begins to care about the fates of the humans she never thought twice about. (Sort of the way Angel from BUFFY has a soul). When she realizes the horrible twist her Family has in store for the ensuing festivities, she must decide whether to her embrace all that is new and different or support the world she's known her entire life.
Durst's characteristic wit and humor is once again present in DRINK, SLAY, LOVE, full of laugh-out-loud moments that keep the pages turning. At times, the analogies to uber-happy thoughts such as unicorns that poop rainbows can be a bit much, but when framed from a cynical vampire's point of view, it's also understandable. The descriptions are easy to visualize; one of my favorites occurs early on when Pearl is seeing the world shimmering in the sun for the first time. I loved the whimsical flare to this otherwise paranormal novel and the new unicorn lore unique to Durst. Pearl goes through a lot of character growth and I found myself invested in her plight. I loved every scene she had with Evan, the human who takes her under his wing, as well as his friend Bethany. Watching Pearl adjust to high school with her superior attitude was amusing. This book was a fun, carefree read that stands on its own, though there set-up for a sequel, which I already can't wait to read!
I bet you're expecting me to say I hate this cover because I'm squeamish and it hints at blood. If so, you're wrong. I've actually liked this cover since the moment it was revealed earlier this year. The model's make-up is perfect. I love the color of her lipstick and the way her skin is perfectly pearly. The tall, old fashioned bottle she's drinking out of is a lot of fun, and I especially like the touch of lipstick at the edge of the straw. The title is positioned well (and I love the pun on EAT, PRAY, LOVE), and the author's name is a similar shade to the aforementioned lipstick. The edging near the flaps on both the front and back of the jacket is composed of checkboxes that utilize the various colors in teh cover and bring them all together. This is an eye-grabbing cover for sure!