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Literature / Sonja Blue

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The Sonja Blue series is a set of five novels and one collection of short stories by Nancy A. Collins. The first book, Sunglasses After Dark, won the Bram Stoker Award for best horror novel of the year. The series was supposed to be complete after the first three were finished, but game publisher White Wolf persuaded Collins to write A Dozen Black Roses, a crossover novel which put Blue in the world of their Old World of Darkness role-playing game series. From this point on, the continuity of the series became a bit vague.

Sonja Blue is a vampire who hunts vampires and other monsters. She was the first person ever to become a vampire without dying—she was saved from the brink of death by modern medical technology. As a result, she is far more powerful than any but the oldest, strongest Master vampires. But her human side is usually at odds with her vampire side, which she calls the Other. She has to keep the Other satisfied by offering it a steady diet of violence, or it can take over. So she hunts monsters.

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The original trilogy (which was collected in an omnibus edition called Midnight Blue: The Sonja Blue Collection) documents Blue's efforts to track down and destroy the Master vampire who created her.

Books in the series:

  • Sunglasses After Dark (1989)
  • In the Blood (1992)
  • Paint It Black (1995, conclusion of the original trilogy)
  • A Dozen Black Roses (1991, crossover with Old World of Darkness)
  • The Darkest Heart (2002)
  • Dead Roses for a Blue Lady (2002, collection)

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Tropes in this series:

  • Body Surf: Fire demons work this way. They possess a body to give themselves a physical presence, but their fiery nature causes the body to slowly cook from the inside, so before long they have to choose another body to leap into.
  • Crossover: A Dozen Black Roses was a crossover with the game Old World of Darkness. It introduced some continuity issues with the main series, but these were mostly glossed over or ignored.
  • Death of a Child: Sonja comes across an ogre who is in the process of lowering a baby into his maw. He would've been successful in eating the baby if she'd been two minutes slower.
    Sonja: Uh-uh. No veal for you.
  • Dream Walker: This is one of the powers of vampires. When Sonja is in an insane asylum, and her human side is being suppressed by anti-psychotic drugs and sedatives, her vampire side goes dream-walking at night, making the other inmates even more insane than they were to start with.
  • Emotion Eater: The vampire nobles feed on emotions as well as blood, and thus were closely involved with historical events like Stalinism and Nazism.
  • Fake Faith Healer: In Sunglasses After Dark, the primary antagonist, Catherine Wheele, is a rich and powerful evangelist and faith healer. She is actually an extremely powerful psychic with Mind Control powers, but she doesn't have a bit of healing power—that part is pure con.
  • Genre Savvy: A relatively minor example (it doesn't actually do him a lot of good) in Sunglasses After Dark: After Claude Haggerty has been kidnapped by a pair of hitmen who want to kill him for reasons he doesn't understand, and then rescued by a tiny woman who rips the hitmen apart with her bare hands and starts drinking their blood, he passes out and wakes up in what can only be described as a lair. At which point, he desperately begins trying to figure out what sort of horror story he's fallen into, and whether there's any chance he's the hero. And praying it's not a slasher film.
  • Hunter of His Own Kind: Sonja Blue is a vampire who never actually died, so her human side remains (mostly) in control, and she hunts other vampires and their ilk, while seeking revenge on the monster who accidentally created her.
  • Involuntary Shapeshifter: People who become vampires experience some moderate involuntary shapeshifting when they first transform. Not a lot, but enough to hide their previous identity. (It conveniently includes fingerprints.) This is why nobody knows that Blue is actually the long-lost heiress Denise Thorne.
  • No Name Given: A Dozen Black Roses. The main character Sonja Blue is referred to as "the stranger" throughout the whole book, when asked for her name, she either refuses to give it, or is cut off. She finally reveals it at the end to one of the few surviving characters. If you read the back of the book her name is given (and there were three previous novels plus several short stories about Sonja as well).
  • Our Ogres Are Hungrier: Master vampires often employ ogres, both as dumb muscle and as walking garbage disposals, consuming drained corpses when the master doesn't want to add to his/her brood. In reference to their Western Fairy Tale origins, they have a tendency to be child molesters.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Blue's quest to find and destroy the Master vampire who created her, and changed/ruined her life forever.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Red eyes are one of the symptoms of vampirism, which makes sunglasses very popular with the vampires—hence the title of the first book of the series, Sunglasses After Dark.
  • The Renfield: This is a semi-official rank in vampire society. Humans with some telepathic ability and a psychological disposition to submission are often enslaved by master vampires (via Mind Rape, which an ideal candidate for the job will actually enjoy) and used as personal assistants. The position is referred to as "renfield" (in lower case), but the master of such a servant dehumanizes him/her by addressing him/her only as "Renfield" (upper case).
  • Sinister Switchblade: Blue wields a silver switchblade, which she can use to deliver grisly ends to her targets.
  • Sunglasses at Night: Sunglasses After Dark is the first book of a series about Sonja Blue, a light-sensitive vampire who wears just those.
  • Undead Child: One of the books involved a character who had been pregnant, for several decades, with an incredibly squicky vampire baby.
  • Vampire Bites Suck: The series is full of vampires who are uncaring of the state in which they leave their victims.
  • Withholding Their Name: In A Dozen Black Roses, the main character Sonja Blue is referred to as "the stranger" throughout the whole book, when asked for her name, she either refuses to give it, or is cut off. She finally reveals it at the end to one of the few surviving characters.

Alternative Title(s): Sunglasses After Dark, A Dozen Black Roses

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