Review: The Vampire Combat Field Guide by Roger Ma

Title The Vampire Combat Field Guide
Author Roger Ma
Published October 6th, 2015 by Berkley
Pages 64 Pages
Intended Target Audience Young Adult
Genre & Keywords Colouring Book, Activity Book
Part of a Series? No
Source & Format Received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher for review (Thanks, Penguin Teen!), Paperback
Find It On GoodreadsAmazon.comChapters

In The Vampire Combat Manual, Roger Ma, the nation’s preeminent expert in undead warfare, prepared the average citizen to defend against a brutal vampire attack. But without appropriate training, even the most adept slayer of bloodsuckers can be left vulnerable.

Therefore, the Institute for Undead Combat Studies has once again created an essential practice handbook for anyone seeking to avoid serious injury, infection, or death at the hands of a vampire. This comprehensive guide includes:

● Detailed illustrations to aid in identifying various types of the undead and their vulnerabilities, as well as anatomical drawings you can color to promote knowledge retention
● Interactive mental and physical exercises that will teach invaluable fighting techniques and prepare you for battle
● Work pages to hone weapon selection, defensive and offensive techniques, and precise staking strategies
● And much more!

With the proper preparation, no one need fear death by exsanguination or an eternity spent in darkness. Learn to ward off these bloodthirsty creatures while you can — or say good-bye to your days in the sun…


Halloween is now over and all the happy haunts have returned to their homes, but if The Walking Dead and Buffy The Vampire Slayer have taught us anything, it’s that it’s never too early to plan how best to stave off our inevitable demise at the hands of the monsters who walk amongst us. Want to avoid being left red-faced – and red-necked – when the vampire next door begins to search for his next snack? Want to avoid becoming said tasty morsel? Then Roger Ma’s The Vampire Combat Field Guide might be the book for you! Filled to the brim with survival strategies including lessons in vampire physiology, assault tactics, combat scenarios, and weapons training, Ma gives readers all the tips and tricks necessary to best prepare for the next time your undead neighbour stops by to borrow a cup of warm plasma.


While it would be fair to say that I’m not the ideal audience for this book and the novelty is therefore lost on me – after all, my interest in vampires largely begins and ends with those named ‘Spike’ and ‘Angel’ – I struggle to understand who this book would best be marketed toward. As a colouring book, The Vampire Combat Field Guide offers little in the way of opportunity for creative expression. Most of the colouring is limited to human figures in various states of combat or stasis, and pales in comparison to lush, beautiful and complex additions to the market like Johanna Basford’s Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest. In fact, The Vampire Combat Field Guide could more accurately be described as an activity book and informational booklet with the occasional colouring opportunity. Unfortunately, as a humourous teaching tool or how-to guide, this publication also falls a little flat. Much of the information discussed in the book is rudimentary at best – such as fangs as an identifying feature of a vampire – and could be considered common knowledge by anyone with even the most basic understanding of vampire tropes and lore. While younger readers might find this book a little more amusing, due to the extremely graphic nature of the illustrations included, it’s doubtful at what age this book would be appropriate.


It isn’t all bad, however! Ma’s vampiric how-to guide does include a number of things with which to recommend it. Illustrated throughout by the talented Kurt Miller, the drawings included in The Vampire Combat Field Guide are brought to life in bold strokes and gory detail, perfectly capturing the movement of combat and the violent and horrific nature of the topics being discussed. Ma also includes a number of fun, interactive question-and-answer elements that allow the reader to apply all they have just learned. Readers are asked to draft a list of their ideal raiding party including the strengths and weaknesses of all members and encouraged to create a tactical plan using prompts from the author including specific weaponry and situations. While Ma’s latest undead activity book wasn’t my cup of tea, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend The Vampire Combat Field Guide to those searching for a little spooky, savage fun in their lives.

Still not sure this is the right book for you? Why not listen to what some other bloggers had to say about it?

● Nafiza @ The Book Wars wrote “The guide is amusing and takes itself seriously enough that users will be entertained. Makes for a great Halloween gift.” (Read the rest of the review Here!)

● Sarah @ What Sarah Read wrote “This coloring book is unlike any of the other adult coloring books I’ve seen out on the market. I mean, it’s filled with rotting flesh, dangerous weapons, and blood, lots and lots of blood.” (Read the rest of the review Here!)

● Kassiah @ Swoony Boys Podcast wrote “It is the perfect adult coloring book for anyone who loves the undead, Halloween, or someone looking for something unique to add to their shelves.” (Read the rest of the review Here!)

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Jen is a thirty-something Canadian book blogger and bibliophile currently residing in the wilds of suburbia. Aside from a penchant for older men, particularly those with the surnames Firth, Elba and Norton, Jen is also passionately interested in running, Mad Men, and Marilyn Monroe. In addition to being a voracious reader and self-proclaimed television addict, Jen is also an aspiring children and youth services librarian who would like to pursue a MLIS and better help readers find the perfect book for them.