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Literature / Void City

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Void City is a series of novels by J. F. Lewis.

Void City is a haven for supernatural beings. A powerful magical artifact called the Veil of Scrythax keeps the human population in a state of bespelled ignorance, allowing vampires, werewolves, and other monsters to walk the streets freely and prey on whomever they please without repercussion.

Eric Courtney is one of the most powerful vampires in the city, but he has no interest in supernatural politics. A rough resurrection left him with a damaged and unreliable memory; he has a difficult enough time remembering not to step out into sunlight anymore, let alone following the complex machinations of his fellow immortals. He's content to run a strip club, pining after his now-elderly former fiancee while engaging in a series of hollow relationships which usually end up with him having to stake his girlfriends after they convince him to turn them.

But Eric can't remain aloof forever; not when he's being targeted by power-hungry vampires, extremist religious werewolves, and scheming demons. In order to survive and protect his loved ones, he will have to uncover the forgotten truth about how he became a vampire and the Courtney family curse.

The series consists of Staked, Revamped, Crossed, and Burned.

This series contains examples of:

  • The Ageless: Human thralls of vampires ranked Master or higher don't age, a gift which comes in exchange for being magically bound to obey the commands of the vampire who controls them.
  • And Show It to You: In Staked, Eric kills some werewolves is using his super-strength to rip their hearts right out of their chests, holding the organs up in front of them as they die.
  • Back from the Dead: The laws of the universe allow anyone to come back from the dead at least twice: a mortal can return as a form of undead by selling their soul to a demon, and an undead which is destroyed can be resurrected by a demon if someone willingly sacrifices their soul to a demon on their behalf. Third chances, however, are not so easily obtained.
  • Bargain with Heaven: Jean-Paul Courtney, a devout Christian knight who was bitten by a vampire, prayed to God for his vampirism to be cured and was granted a deal whereby his curse was lifted in exchange for the next seven generations of his descendants serving Heaven. Unbeknownst to him, he wasn't actually bargaining with God; but rather, the demon Scrythax, who has a soft spot for humans and decided to answer his prayers when God wouldn't.
  • Battle in the Center of the Mind: Lisette's momento mori, Squidly, tries to invade Greta's mind. Greta defeats it with her mental image of Eric, who she hero-worships and is invincible in her mind.
  • Big Bad Friend: In Staked, the main villain is Roger, Eric's business partner and oldest friend.
  • Big Eater: In life, Greta was a compulsive eater. Becoming a vampire did not change this; she is constantly snacking on animal blood when not hunting humans.
  • Came Back Strong: On multiple occasions, Eric regenerates from things which would kill an ordinary vampire, such as being blown to ash by blessed explosives; and each time he does so, he gains more strength and more control over his powers. It's eventually revealed that Phillipus put a spell on him to conceal him from his sire by suppressing his power; each time Eric regenerates, the spell weakens.
  • Complete Immortality: There are some beings, called True Immortals. The only way they can be destroyed is if their soul is absorbed by another True Immortal; and this is rarely done, as it poses a great risk of causing mental or even physical changes to the absorbing True Immortal.
  • Daddy's Girl: Greta, Eric's adopted daughter who he transformed into a vampire. She is one of the only people in the world he loves, and she in turn loves him to the point of obsessive insanity. She treats anyone Eric is currently dating as her mother, acting with respect and deference — but always making it bluntly clear that however much they love her father, she loves him more. And when Eric inevitably breaks up with them, she will gleefully take any excuse kill her former "mother" unless Eric explicitly forbids it.
  • Deal with the Devil: Demons will offer deals to wizards and vampires for more power, and to deceased mortals for a second chance at life, and many of characters in the series have taken them. Magbidion made a deal for power that he wants Eric to help him out of, Phillipus made deals to ascend to higher vampiric rank, and Rachel made a deal to escape Hell and come back from the dead.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Veruca's name means "wart". Her nickname, "Froggy", is no better.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: The vampire Veruca is nicknamed "Froggy" because the only animal she can shapeshift into is a frog. Her real name is no better, meaning "wart".
  • Fastball Special: When fighting the demon J'iliol'lth, Eric tries throwing Talbot at him. Twice. It doesn't work either time, and Talbot refuses to let Eric make a third attempt.
  • Fur Against Fang: Werewolves and vampires don't get along. One of the reasons is that most werewolves in the setting are highly religious, believing that God gave them lycanthropy so they would have the strength to destroy other monsters. They have their own church, the Lycan Diocese, which manufactures holy water in bulk; this is something vampires tend to disapprove of.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Vampires have the power to make their eyes glow bright red. Though they can choose to do it consciously, it also tends to happen subconsciously when they are extremely angry.
  • Hates Being Touched: Due to sexual abuse as a child, Greta hates to be touched and tends to instinctively lash out with her vampiric speed and strength in response.
  • Hunter of His Own Kind: Evelyn is a Friendly Neighborhood Vampire who works for an organization of vampire hunters, subsisting solely on animal blood and destroying her monstrous kin to protect innocent humans. Greta is also a vampire who regularly hunts and destroys other vampires; but in her case, it's because she just really likes killing things and enjoys the challenge offered by semi-immortal prey which requires extremely elaborate measures to destroy.
  • I Hate You, Vampire Dad: This is deliberately invoked by the vampire Phillipus. Having existed for many millennia, he seeks to prevent life from becoming boring by making powerful enemies who can surprise him and keep him on his toes. Thus, every year he takes on new apprentices and offers them immortal life as vampires, then proceeds to horribly abuse them in order to ensure that they will bitterly hate him and stop at nothing to get vengeance against him.
  • I Love You, Vampire Son: Eric transformed his adopted daughter Greta into a vampire so they could remain a family forever. Despite Greta turning into what anyone else would call an insane bloodthirsty monster (it turns out compulsive eaters don't make good vampires), they retain an unconditional familial love for one another. It's a notable exception to the general rule, as most other vampires in the series despise and try to destroy their sires.
  • Immune to Fate: Eric has the power to defy fate and break prophecy. Even the Eye of Scrythax, a powerful magical artifact capable of seeing into the future, cannot see what he is going to do.
  • Insanity Immunity: Greta's insanity renders her immune to mental attack. On several occasions, vampires and other powerful supernatural beings attempt to invade or dominate Greta's mind, only to find the inside of her head so horribly incomprehensible that they end up at her mercy rather than the other way around.
  • Man on Fire: Eric has a habit of losing track of the time and getting caught in sunlight, thus causing him to burst into flames. He's powerful enough that it doesn't kill him, but he finds it annoying and embarrassing.
  • Masquerade: There's a powerful spell over Void City which enforces the Masquerade by imposing obliviousness on all non-supernatural inhabitants.
  • No Immortal Inertia: Vampires have the power to slow, halt, or even reverse the ageing of the humans who serve them as thralls. If the vampire is destroyed, however, the thralls rapidly revert to their true ages.
  • Noodle Incident: Throughout the series, Eric makes allusions to a very strange week he once had in El Segundo. It apparently involved him killing a demon, preventing the apocalypse, getting shot by a very stupid vampire hunter who had carved crosses on his bullet casings rather than the bullets themselves, and managing to accidentally set himself on fire every single day.
  • Not Now, Kiddo: Tabitha tries several times to tell Eric important information about Rachel, but he manages to cut her off each time; as he is her sire, she is incapable of disobeying his orders, and so literally cannot continue speaking about the subject when he tells her to stop talking about it.
  • Offing the Offspring: While Eric has sired a number of other vampiric "children" over the years, he has ended up having to kill nearly all of them over the years when they've turned against him. Phillipus implies that this is fairly common, and that he intentionally sires two vampires per year in the hope that some of them will eventually develop into enemies capable of amusing him over the long millennia of his life.
  • Our Gargoyles Rock: Gargoyles are a type of demon which possess stone statues to use as their bodies. Destroying their statue only renders them incorporeal for a time before they move into a new body; it takes an attack on their true spiritual body to actually harm them.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: There are five different ranks of vampire: Drone, Soldier, Master, Vlad, and Emperor. Higher-ranked vampires have more powers and are harder to kill; for instance, staking a Drone through the heart will turn it to dust, but staking a Master will only paralyze it. A vampire's rank is randomly determined at the time of its creation, but once per century they can try to increase their rank through a complicated ritual involving sorcerous artifacts and making a deal with a demon.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different: They can transform into their wolf form at any time. They grow stronger as the moon waxes and weaker as it wanes. They are vulnerable to silver; but the stronger they become, the more resistant to it they become. Very powerful werewolves can only be killed by enchanted, blessed, and inherited silver.
  • Papa Wolf: Eric is incredibly protective of his adopted daughter Greta. Threatening her is a certain way to send him into an Unstoppable Rage. In Staked, when she is kidnapped, he summons a massive swarm of bats to block out the sun so he can come to her rescue during the daytime; in Crossed, upon sensing that she is in pain, he rushes halfway around the world to come to her rescue and smashes the building she's trapped in to pieces from the foundations up.
  • Power Incontinence: Eric has difficulty controlling some of his vampiric powers, such as his super-speed, which kicks in and out at random. It's a side effect of a spell Phillipus put on him to shield him from his sire's awareness; as the spell breaks down, Eric gains more control over his abilities.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: After Eric makes two failed attempts to perform a Fastball Special with Talbot, both of which end with Talbot missing his target and nearly plummeting to his doom, Talbot gives a firm refusal to Eric's suggestion of a third try.
    Talbot: Do. Not. Throw. Me.
  • Sentient Vehicle: When Eric invests some of his vampiric essence into his classic Ford Mustang, turning it into a Soul Jar called a momento mori, it gains a measure of life and intelligence of its own. It is able to drive itself independently, and fuel itself by consuming the flesh and blood of creatures it drives over.
  • Shapeshifter Baggage: Vampires have the power to shapeshift into one or more animals, but how it works varies between individuals. Some are able to take their clothes with them, while others have to leave their clothes behind. Eric actually generates new clothing: even if he starts out naked, he'll be in his usual casual clothes when he changes back. As a result, he's accumulated tons of identical outfits. Everyone just accepts it as a natural part and parcel of a vampire's magic powers.
  • Shapeshifter Mode Lock: One of the magical properties of the bullets fired by the gun El Alma Perdida is to prevent all forms of shapeshifting. John Paul Courtney would use it to prevent werewolves he killed from reverting to their human forms upon death, thus making it apparent that he had killed monsters rather than men.
  • Soul Jar: Every Emperor Vampire has a memento mori, an artifact which contains some of their magical essence. Until it is destroyed, they can resurrect from any form of death, even if nothing remains of their body.
  • Tears of Blood: Vampires have all of their bodily fluids replaced by blood, so when Tabitha cries after being turned, her tears come out as blood.
  • Undead Child: In Revamped, Eric fights a number of children who were turned into vampires. Though he has a moral code against harming children, he considers vampires to be monsters rather than people and so does not hesitate to destroy them.
  • Vegetarian Vampire: Some vampires choose to subsist entirely on animal blood. However, this isn't an option for Eric, as his body rejects all but human blood.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: A vampire power. Stronger vampires can transform into a variety of shapes such as bats, cats, and rats, while weaker vampires are limited to a single transformation. Froggy got her nickname because the only animal she can shift into is a frog.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Unlike her father, Greta is perfectly willing to kill children. She cheerfully offers to kill children whenever necessary so that Eric doesn't have to do it himself, and asks him at one point if he's okay with killing teenagers or if she should do that herself too.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: While Eric considers himself to be a monster, one line he won't cross is harming children.
  • Your Soul Is Mine!: Bullets fired from the magic gun El Alma Perdida steal the souls of any werewolves they kill.