I recently finished reading VWars: A Chronicle of the Vampire Wars, which is an anthology of loosely connected short stories edited by Jonathan Maberry, who also wrote the patient zero storyline.
The basic concept of this anthology is a lot like Max Brooks’ World War Z, only with vampires and the occasional werewolf rather than zombies. It also has contributions from multiple authors, and with that being the case, you’d think the anthology as a whole would be more diverse, but it isn’t. Other than “Vulpes”, it’s pretty US-centric with both characters and locations, whereas WWZ takes you all over the world.
Basically, it’s broken down into roughly 8 stories that are told in stages, interspersing with each other. Everything is clearly labeled enough that you can jump around to read each story as a whole if you want to, but unless you’re picking up and putting down the book over a fair bit of time, I’d suggest reading everything as laid out in the book to get the full effect of how the characters and timeline are intertwined.
Despite being US-focused, the characters themselves are diverse. Patient Zero is a handsome white dude, of course, but at least half of the stories either have a POC as the lead or prominently feature POCs, so it’s pretty diverse in that respect.
On the whole… I’m still trying to decide if I liked it. I think if I hadn’t read WWZ first, I might be able to say I do like it, but VWars feels like it’s trying to be the vampire version of WWZ and doesn’t quite measure up. I think part of the problem I have with it is a lack of clear closure. There’s implied closure, but given human nature and the way things are going in the VWars world up to that point, the reader is still left with the impression that things could go either way in the human vs. vampire “war”.
I would have liked some more concrete closure with one of the specific stories as well. “The Battle of Big Charlie” is one of the most intriguing stories in the anthology, given that it delves into the world of politics and shifting public opinion, but it feels unfinished. Again, there’s implied closure, but unless I missed something crucial, there’s not a clear resolution in regards to what happened with both Big Charlie and his mom. It was such an interesting story that I wanted to know the whole story.
Maybe they’re setting up for a sequel? Who knows! It was an interesting concept, and there are things I’d like to know more about the world the authors built, but in my opinion, WWZ did “see the supernatural apocalypse from multiple POVs” trick better.