Book Author: Chele Cooke
Book Series: Teeth
Series Number: Book #1
Genre: Fantasy, romance, YA, vampires
First Published: December 2014
Star Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Hi, and welcome to another Berg’s Book Club book review. For those of you who do not know, Berg’s Book Club is posted every Tuesday.
This week, I am reviewing Teeth by the author: Chele Cooke.
Like my other recent book reviews, this one is part of the pop-sugar reading challenge, this book falls under the following prompt:
A book with an LGBTQ protagonist
It’s been years since I read a book with a vampire protagonist, the last one being Trust Me by Malorie Blackman—as someone who likes Malorie Blackman’s work, I can say she really shouldn’t have jumped on the vampire wagon.
However, Chele Cooke does an amazing job and creating the world of vampires. I really enjoyed the book. I wanted to read this author’s work after she came to my class one day as a guest lecturer and I am glad I have finally picked one of them up.
August and Spencer’s life was happy until August’s sire bought home a new vampire, Thomas. This leaves August in difficult situations and puts a strain on his relationship with Spencer.
When Spencer’s attempt at training Thomas goes wrong, he begins to reveal secrets, particularly a secret about his own turning. Can he ever trust August again?
Plot and Narration
Lately, I have been struggling to read a book in a few weeks, let alone a few days but this book is a fast read while also holding your attention. The language usage is easy to understand and follow and most of the story has action over description which keeps the book at a moving pace.
The story is told in the third person and uses multiple character narratives, following three characters in particular: August, Spencer and Thomas. It has many storylines that are all weaved into one and I feel this is controlled very well by having the multiple narratives.
Though this book is under the genre romance, do not expect it to be anything like Twilight, the romance in this book is dark on an emotional level. The romances, bromances and bonds are not like the ones humans make but are ones made from blood, passion and hunger. They are also very dangerous.
The story is about consequence and follows the protagonists as they try and control the consequences of their actions and in some cases, the actions of others but it all gets out of hand as realisations are hit, secrets come out and one vampire takes on more than he can manage alone.
The very fact that he existed had been proof of a broken law. —Chele Cooke (2014, p.11)
My favourite scene in this book is probably Thomas’s favourite hunt. He has the lust for blood but is confused because the person he chose for his first hunt is a man. It made me smile as he struggled to deal with this new and unexpected awkwardness. Luckily for him, Spencer was there to save the day.
I also like the detail about the sire bonds—a bond between a vampire and their creator. It’s the main part of the plot so I don’t want to reveal too much about what these bonds mean just that the whole concept of them had me glued to the book even still. I’m hoping that the other books will go into these a bit more and judging by the book’s conclusion, I have a feeling that they will.
There is some world building here but not a lot. In truth, it didn’t really need a lot as the book shows enough of the world for the reader to understand that the characters live in a place similar to our own world. So, there isn’t much exposition either—a common issue with dystopian worlds—which is a bonus.
The similarities between the vampires’ world and ours are clear when Thomas is given a tour of the Vampires’ house. He is shown the offices where certain vampires work—these jobs are usually “work at home” jobs like software design, tech support and there was one writer too. I guess this is to keep them occupied during the day. So, yep, they don’t sleep for 16+ hours like other vampire books suggest.
In fact, they try their best to live a normal life as much as possible. And I like that.
I also like the description of overwhelming senses. Like, vampires can eat garlic bread but it will be really strong and overwhelming. It made me think of how certain colours, noises and smells can be overwhelming for someone on the Autism spectrum—although you cannot be given Autism through blood transfer, you can inherit it and the book does mention about seeing the person who turned them into a vampire as a parent figure. I am not sure if the link is intentional but either way, I found it interesting.
You can use the smallest pinch of chilli, and a meal is spicy, stuff like that. —Chele Cooke (2014, p.104)
I feel that these little details, though it isn’t much, really add to the story. Just the detail about the “work at home” jobs let you know that they are in the digital age, they use phones to contact each other—useful if someone is hunting and there is an emergency.
I feel that the world will have more of these little details that will let the reader see beneath the service, creating a sense of the characters and what life is like for them, in the other books in the series.
Characters and Character Development
August is one of the protagonists of the piece, he is sort of the deputy leader, only the leader, Charles, is hardly ever seen. August makes sure everyone follows the house rules, giving the punishments if they are broken so he is left in a difficult situation when his sire, Cleo, breaks the rules.
This changes his public character—the beliefs and attitudes he lets people believe he follows—and replaces it with his private beliefs and attitudes which is developed and grows stronger throughout the book.
Spencer is another protagonist. He is August’s lover and Thomas’s mentor. He is also the second youngest vampire—Thomas being the youngest. Throughout the book, he is seen as a loyal character, doing what he is told to survive and not be punished. But when he sire’s someone, the penny drops, he learns a secret and he can no longer trust his gut instincts and actions.
I find Spencer really interesting and am hoping to see him develop in the other books as he learns to cope with his new-found truth.
Thomas is the newest vampire and third protagonist. At first, he denies the truth but the first is too much for him to handle. When his training goes horribly wrong and one mistake leads to a series of consequences, things start to unravel for the other characters. You can say he is the catalyst to the whole plot as he is in the centre of all the other characters’ issues, whether that is directly or indirectly.
This is one of the reasons the multiple narratives works really well.
William is kind of like the bad brother. He is indirectly August’s and Thomas’s brother, the middle child. William likes to stir up trouble, especially as he blames Thomas for the death of Cleo who he was close to.
Charles is like everyone’s grandfather. He has a lot of respect in the house despite spending most of his time in his own room. He’s not a major character in this book but I feel he will be part of future books in some form or another.
I really enjoyed this book, I felt that the characters’ attitudes and believes were well-written and that as the series continues, the characters will develop and grow. The plot was engaging and the storylines were well-controlled.
I feel it breaks some of the well-known cliches and adds a fresh perspective to vampire life while also keeping in some of the tropes to fit in with the vampire genre.
I recommend this book to any fantasy lovers who are teenagers or young adults.
Thanks for reading.
Have you read this book? If you have, what are your thoughts? If not, has this review made you consider reading the book?