Home / Books / The Vanquishers by Kalynn Bayron | Book Review

The Vanquishers by Kalynn Bayron | Book Review

Storytelling is inseparable part of childhood. These are the oldest medium through which parents and caregivers have passed on moral teachings, historical tales and entertaining fantasies to young minds. In modern era, with so much access to information from young age, it is even more important that we provide balanced outlooks for social changes to our next generation.

Author Kalynn Bayron has published a few books with a contemporary take on old-age fables like “Cinderella is Dead”. And now she has taken a world where vampires are extinct and given us a new series called The Vanquishers.


Published by Bloomsbury, this children’s book came through to our reading list, and here are our views on this book on behalf of Team Thinkerviews.

Book Cover:

Let us take a look at the cover page of this book.

The Vanquishers by Kalynn Bayron | Book Cover

The Vanquishers by Kalynn Bayron | Book Cover

The cover page of this book is really attractive. It gives the book an impression of a child adventure book and looks like a quality comic book/magazine at a first glance.

The kids on their bicycle seems innocently excited for an adventure and at the same time the fear is also visible in their eyes.

The cheerful colors adds to the impact of the cover page.

I like it.

Storyline:

Malika Wilson, nicknamed Boog is a middle school student, happily living in a quiet cul-de-sac of San Antonio. Her best friends Cedric and Jules also live on the same street and the families are good friends and neighbours, almost an extended family. As everyone knows, the vampires are extinct. The last generation of the Vanquishers killed them all years ago. And still, Malika, Cedric and Jules’ parents insist on following all old-fashioned rules – like no going out in the dark…

All three children feel frustrated and embarrassed by their parents’ behavior. Like all middle school students, they also enjoy some classes, but not others, face bullies, prepare projects and enjoy life in general. They make a new friend when Aaron and his mum move to their street.

The school is holding a fundraiser at the skating rink and somehow Aaron is the last one left. Except he is nowhere to be found next morning. Malika, Cedric and Jules are worried about their friend, but to top it up strange things are happening all around them. A tree in Boog’s yard comes crashing down, her dad starts on the woodwork and her mum suddenly decides to do a lot of gardening.

It gets weirder when Aaron comes calling in the night. After a few visits, Boog and her friends decide to escape their parents’ supervision and go visiting Aaron after nightfall. They are shocked to realise that their friend has been bitten by a vampire and is in process of becoming one.

Against all their instincts, they decide to help Aaron. But when Boog is visiting Aaron the next time, they are attacked by other vampires, who are not friendly at all.

The fight becomes even, once the Vanquishers show up. But who are they? And if vampires are not extinct, what will happen to Malika, Cedric and Jules? Can they still be friends with Aaron and help him?

Views and Reviews:

As you can see above, the book has all popular elements of a children’s book: adorable young children, not perfect but getting in and out of trouble who stand up for their best friends, caring families who allow their children the freedom, honesty and teaching to be respectful to others, a school with caste of characters, just enough of the bizarre with the vampire rhymes and folklore, the legends of heroes and the lighthearted prose for easy readability.

The author starts the book by saying how everyone knows that vampires are extinct. Kalynn Bayron, like a lot of readers, have come across so many vampire tales in fiction and literature that it was only a matter of time I think before she ventured a story into this world.

I like the way she builds up the history of the vampires in the world of this story so neatly and quickly. The last battle took place between the Vanquishers and the vampires years ago.

The vanquishers are only know through their aliases – the Mask of Red Death, Carmilla, Threshold, Sailor’s Knot, Argentium, Nightside, Dayside, and the Wrecking Crew. We learn about the garlic, silver, sunburns and most importantly, the edict of ‘Never invite them in‘…

Bulbs of Garlic, holly branches

Silver shavings, sunlight dances

Don’t invite them through the door

Keep me safe forevermore

And all this is now ignored as superstition. Families like Boog’s are sneered at for being old-fashioned. Isn’t that so common? A part of society thinks its modern and has moved on with time and deem the ways of the old world as unnecessary? Like every school, there are students here who look down upon others and also bully those who are from no so opulent backgrounds:

They always act like they’re too good to participate in stuff like this – fundraisers, bike rodeos, bake sales. The part that throws me is that they’d make fun of us if we weren’t here, too. They’d say our parents wouldn’t let us come and then go on and on about how sheltered we all are. There’s no winning with people like that..

The author also tries to give us an interesting take on extinction of predators:

Vampires were monsters. They were not beautiful people in capes wandering the halls of a castle somewhere in Transylvania. They were flesh and blood and they were monstrous. It’s a pity we’ve forgotten that. They were apex predators, and their extinction should be looked at with the same sorrow that the extinction of any other species would.

I also like Kalynn Bayron’s works for the themes that promote equality and acceptance. For example, in this book Jules prefer the pronoun they and their gender preference is honored by their family and friends.

The characters speak of mixed heritages and represent marginalized parts of the society as well as mainstream. With our populations skyrocketing, acceptance of different ways of life and mutual respect is going to be the key to future peace and harmony.

This is also seen when Malika decides to continue to treat Aaron as friend rather than a monster and the Vanquishers also decide to try and help someone whom they are sworn to destroy. The book ends as the next segment of the struggle begins, so the series will continue with more adventures from these lovable cast of characters…

Summary:

An entertaining series featuring young students who believe vampires are extinct, until their friend becomes one, and then they must fight the battle to keep their friend from turning into a monster…

ThinkerViews Rating:

Around 7.5 stars out of 10.

Quick Purchase Links:

Over To You:

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