Study Guide

The Reformed Vampire Support Group Isolation

By Catherine Jinks

Isolation

Sanford also insisted that no one in our group should go wandering the streets all alone. He says that we wouldn't stand a chance against the drunks and addicts and muggers on the loose out there. (1.37)

Nina resents all of the rules Sanford imposes on the vampire group, especially those that keep her isolated from the rest of humanity. Of course, according to Sanford, there's a good reason for this: It's all too easy for a vamp to get tempted by the scent of human blood and bite someone, thereby spreading the infection. It's still a bummer way to have to live, though.

"Nina!" he squawked. "There are headlights everywhere! Do you want your eyes to start bleeding again?" Welcome to my world. It's the kind of place where you can't do the simplest thing without risking a full-blown hemorrhage. (1.97-98)

Another reason for vamps to live in self-imposed isolation is that they're very sensitive to light and other environmental factors. As in, staring at headlights without UV-protection sunglasses could lead to their eyes bleeding. We're not sure if we're more disturbed by that, or the fact that this has apparently already happened to Nina (since Sanford says "again").

"I had to upgrade my PC, so I gave my old one to Casimir," he revealed. "Someone had to get him connected."

"To the Internet?" This was ominous news. (2.41-42)

Because if anything sounds like a good idea, it's hooking up a centuries-old vampire with some serious bloodlust issues to the Internet. How could that go poorly? Let us count the ways…

Because let's face it: As a vampire, the very worst thing that you have to deal with—worse than the isolation, and the indigestion, and the health problems—is the fact that a large chunk of the world's population wants to kill you. (3.23)

Nina puts things into perspective for us: Being a vampire stinks for lots of reasons. You feel sick most of the time, and you have to live this miserable isolated existence, and—oh yeah—most humans want to kill you because they think you want to kill them. Can't we all just sit down and talk about it?

Vampires congregate in cities for good reason. It's not just because there's less direct sunlight in a built-up area; it's also because of the anonymity provided by an urban existence. (6.37)

There's a certain isolation to be found in large numbers of people. When you can blend in and become just another face in the crowd, it can provide a type of safety. After all, there's bound to be lots of weird people in a large enough population, so who'd spare a pale, malnourished-looking vamp like Nina a second glance?

I woke up at 5:29 p.m. and didn't know where I was.

[…] My face was covered, and it was very dark.

Then something moved beside me. (13.1-3)

Okay, even though this book is about vampires, it's not usually too scary. But this moment? This has Nina (and us) freaked out. Waking up from being clinically dead every evening is scary enough, but having to do it alone—and then realizing that there's something moving next to you—is super freaky.

One fully grown werewolf had been tracked down somewhere in the wilds of northern Australia—where he'd been living a miserable, isolated existence, drinking himself to death. (14.11)

It's not just vampires that get the short end of the stick when it comes to isolation; werewolves have to deal with it, too. The McKinnons have become pretty good werewolf trackers, so they manage to find ones like this poor dude mentioned above, who is completely isolated from the rest of humanity (until the McKinnons get their grubby mitts on him, anyway).

Vampires don't normally attract even the most backhanded compliments—especially not from a hot guy like Reuben. Of course, he hadn't seen anything even remotely female for a very long time; after five years of total deprivation, even a colorless, anorexic vampire with a lousy haircut must have looked good to him. (14.93)

Nina is stunned when Reuben makes a pass at her. She knows that she looks, well, half-dead. But then again, Reuben is a teenage guy, and he's been isolated from the fairer sex for five years or so. Maybe that amount of deprivation has made him desperate for female company?

At this point you must be thinking that Nefley was out of his mind. But he wasn't. […] His problem was that he didn't have anyone sensible to talk to. (16.6-7)

Poor Nefley. He's not a particularly bad dude, or a crazy one; he's just one of those awkward, obsessive nerds who lacks a social circle of any kind. Maybe if he weren't so socially isolated, he'd have had someone to talk him down when he decides that killing vampires sounds like a good idea.

"Which means, in essence, that I'll be extremely busy," Sanford observed, "and won't have any time for Horace in the immediate future. So you, Dave, will be responsible for making sure that he remains isolated—and restrained, if necessary—until tomorrow night." (24.30)

When Horace goes all bitey on Dermid, Sanford delegates watching over Horace to Dave. This is because Sanford has medical stuff to do, and someone needs to make sure Horace stays isolated. Having gotten a taste of human blood, there's a good chance that Horace wants more, and the ethical thing to do is prevent him from accessing anyone with a pulse.