REVIEW by Jena: The Substitute by Holly Barrington

“The Substitute” is set in an alternate Britain, where Vampires and Mortals co-exist more or less in harmony. However, that may soon be about to change . . .

Emily Brown starts her new job at Pathway Software, and at first everything goes well. She makes new friends there and her bosses are impressed so things are really looking up for Emily. Until her friend is killed. Murdered. The official account said it was a gang hit gone bad, and rumors suggest she had drugs in her possession.

However another, unofficial, report suggests that the bullet wounds were all post-mortem, and the drugs were planted on her in the morgue. It also says that she suffered multiple broken bones, cuts, contusions and…vampire bites. Everything suggests that her friend died a brutal and vicious death at the hands of a number of vampires.

Vampire and Mortal relations are, on the whole, very good. Ever since The Compact, there have been eighty five years of unprecedented peace between the two worlds. But there are some dissenters, the foremost of which are the sinister Circle of Ixiom. And Emily is about to become their bitterest enemy . . .




I received The Substitute as a review request directly from the author.  I jumped at the opportunity to review the title because….well….I have a “problem” with vamp fiction.  The concept of the story is great and intricately thought out.  However…


I read the book in just a few days squeezing it in with other commitments that I had.  It’s a short read, about 119 pages, so I thought I would blow through it quickly.  I do not though. 


Like I said, the concept of this book is great but it doesn’t flow very well.  The problem that I found is the scene changes are missing.  Well, not missing.  They’re not identified at all.  The main character will be in the middle of a conversation with her boss and then she’s in the hallway talking with her friend.  There’s no indication that she ever left the conversation with her boss.  There’s no break in the paragraph.  The no segue at all.  This makes this book incredibly difficult to read.  The natural flow is just missing.  If those scene indicators were there, it would be much easier to read through and feel much more organic. 


The other thing that gets confusing in this book is a virtual world that the main character visits.  The way it is written, there is no clear explanation regarding this virtual world she participates in.  One minute she’s arriving home from work and then next, she walks into her living room and steps into a bar. 


As I said above, the concept for this book is a great idea.  I feel that with some hard core editing and polishing, it would make a great urban fantasy novel.  Due to this need for polishing, I am going to give The Substitute 2 stars.  Great concept, but lacking as it stands.    


As of right now, the book is not showing on Amazon for sale so I don’t have the link yet but I will update this post with the link as soon as it is available. 



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