Review of The Society of S by Susan Hubbard
The Society of S
by Susan Hubbard
Although vampires play an important role in this book, vampirism is not the central subject. Rather, Hubbard uses vampirism as the method to explore a girl coming to maturity amid a broken family unit. Hubbard addresses questions of ethics and coming-of-age. Unfortunately, the story is mediocre.
My main problem is a lack of conflict. Each time the story approaches something that resembles a high-stake scenario, it shies away at the last moment. For instance, after the murder of Ariella's friend, an FBI agent begins to sniff around the house. Yet nothing substantial comes of this. Never does the agent arrest anyone. He reappears at the end of the novel and contributes even less than he did in his first appearance.
At no point in the story did I feel that Ariella was ever in danger--not in mortal danger, and not in danger of failing to achieve her goals. She found her mother. She found her father after he faked his death. Events that should have been emotionally-charged moments fell flat because there wa sno element of risk associated with achieving them.
The Society of S strikes me as a wholly plot-driven novel that attempts to be character-driven. There's nothing wrong with the plot driving the story; however, it needs to be honest. In the last part of the novel, there's a fire that injures Ariella and her father. It doesn't really appear to have a reason. There are no consequences; Ariella and her father survive, as does the antagonist. Thus the book ends on an ambiguous note.