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Literature / Nathaniel Keene

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The first volume in an ongoing Urban Fantasy series, The Lovelace Chronicles, by debut author Aditi Ramaswamy. The titular character, a soft-spoken honor roll student and budding entomologist, finds his life abruptly turned upside down when he and his mother move to the little town of Lovelace, California. Within a month, he's joined the ranks of the undead and become the prime suspect in a gruesome murder. Can his senior year possibly get any weirder?

Yes. Yes, it can.

Nathaniel Keene contains examples of:

  • Above Good and Evil: Principal Lightwood tries to convince Nat that this applies to vampires, and that Being Good Sucks.
  • Action Girl: Yumi, at times. And Lavinia Cross is an Action Woman.
  • Asian and Nerdy: Nathaniel, who is half-Indian, and Yumi, who is Korean, both count.
  • Badass Bookworm: Yumi - and Nat, much to his own surprise.
  • The Brute: Dawson Helm
  • Chekhov's Gun: Dimitri's interest in Buffy/vampire lore in general. It's how he realizes that Nat can't have been the murderer.
  • The Dandy: Taddeus Robinson.
    Dani, to Nat: I like a guy who challenges the boundaries of fashion.
    Tad: Or who's fashion-challenged.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Merry Cross is implied to have had one. She's doing just fine, though.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: Nathaniel is a vampire. He is not evil.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Yumi, Officer Cross, and Dahlia Flowers, in spades.

    Nat: Iíll have you know that all thirty species of cockroach are very fascinating insects.
    Yumi: My sneakers are inclined to agree.

    Charlotte Keene: First you arrest him for God-knows-what-
    Officer Cross: Murder. God, and everyone else in this police station, knows it.

    Ms. Flowers: You were arrested for murder, Nathaniel. One would think you might remember that.

    • Nat and his mother both have their moments, too:

      Charlotte Keene, when Officer Cross asks her for a mirror: With all due respect, Officer, I donít believe this is an appropriate time to touch up your lipstick.

      Dawson Helm: Welcome to your final resting place.
      Nat: Classy.

  • Disappeared Dad: Neel Kumar.
  • Evil Lawyer Joke: Milbrook makes one... about himself.
  • Evil Mentor: Elridge Lightwood. He acted as this toward Neel Kumar, and tries to do the same for Nat.
  • First-Person Smartass: Nat's inner voice.
    At least I still have my favorite pastimes: moping in the dark, and skulking around in the dark!
  • Friendly Neighborhood Vampire: Nathaniel Keene. Well, not in most of Lovelace's eyes after his undead status is initially made public - mostly because he was found at the scene of a brutal murder with blood on his mouth. He was framed. However, he tends to adhere to this characterization for the most part.
    Dimitri: Heís the nicest bloodsucking demon youíll ever meet!
  • Friend to Bugs: Nathaniel Keene. Literally.
  • Genius Bruiser: Dimitri, crossed with Gentle Giant. He's huge and extremely strong, but also a diehard Buffy geek and Calculus nerd. And while he could potentially beat someone up, he isn't particularly inclined to do so.
  • Horror Hunger: Nat is disgusted by his own thirst for blood.
  • Implausible Hair Color: Yumi, who is Korean, has bright green hair. Justified, as she dyes it (her natural color is black).
  • Intrepid Reporter: Rodney Gibbet.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Officer Cross, in Nat's eyes. (At first, she just seems like a Jerkass.)
  • Limited Wardrobe: Just how many sweatshirts does Nat own?
  • Mysterious Parent: Neel Kumar. Charlotte might qualify as this by the ending.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Vampires in this universe are pretty traditional: sunlight burns them, garlic is poisonous if ingested, and they can only drink blood. However, there are a few differences - for example, vampirism isn't limited to humans. Nathaniel gets bitten by a vampiric cat. Additionally, wooden stakes have no effect on vampires - in order to work, a stake must be made of pure silver. Nat learns this the hard way.
  • Shapeshifting: Unlike Dracula, Nat can't do it. Dawson Helm, however...
  • The Smart Guy: The entire Quiz Bowl team.
  • The Sociopath: Principal Lightwood.
  • Someday This Will Come in Handy: Tad's neodymium magnets.
  • Stern Teacher: Dahlia Flowers. She also qualifies as a Badass Teacher.
  • Supernatural Angst: Nat experiences this a lot - understandably so.
  • Sweet Tooth: Mayor Cadence Powell.
  • Tell Me About My Father: Charlotte had been dreading the day when her son would ask this question.
  • Tiny Tyrannical Girl: Yumi Kangjun.
    "Despite her size and youth, Yumi appeared to have already mastered the fine art of terrifying the pants off of people."
  • Town with a Dark Secret: Twenty-three years ago, something happened in Lovelace. No one wants to talk about it.
  • Warm Bloodbags Are Everywhere: What Nat feels like, especially when he's thirsty.