Cryptic Love: Vampire Edition
Zine, K.G. Wehri, 49 pgs, etsy.com/ca/shop/TheCafeCryptid, $6.76
Who can resist the charm of a Choose Your Own Adventure story?
The title refers to secret beings that a minority of people believe are real, and who hope their devotion will be rewarded with a glimpse of the rare, magical species. Author K.G. Wehri starts you off with an innovative touch: a quiz to see how romantically compatible you would be with a vampire. Your results put you on one of three paths.
The structure is slightly amended from the ones I used to read. Here, all roads lead to the same decisions and array of choices. This format still yields a variety of tales, all of them captivating. Characters are consistent regardless of which avenues the reader takes. And yet the vampire’s personality displays different facets across the assorted narratives created. Sometimes he’s a romantic vampire. Sometimes he’s wistful. Sometimes he’s selfish and kind of a doink.
The author drums up fear largely in service of amplifying the sexual tension. None of it is gory but at some point, the fangs do come out. These stories yield themes of loneliness, hope, staying the course and the flexibility of time.
Cryptic Love: Vampire Edition’s presentation is crisp and immaculate with a blood-red string for binding. Wehri tries to keep the characters (minus the male vampire) gender-neutral, although clues that the protagonist is a young woman seep out. It’s well written fiction worth the diverging read. I hope that the future editions — Loch Ness Monster? Big Foot? — have the same swift flow and pacing.