I was not sure that I wanted to read Virtual Virgin. I had some fairly severe problems with the previous book, Silver Zombie related to questionable therapy practices, horrifically stupid racial stereotypes and fairly grotesque plot twists though I still managed to find the book entertaining. (Your mileage may vary as to how severe the problems are. I am fairly sensitive when it comes to racial stereotypes.) I think it would be safe to say that I probably should have listened to my misgivings because this installment was a chore to read.
In Virtual Virgin Our Heroine continues her quest to discover more about her (and her mirror twin Lillith’s) parentage. What she finds out is that there is not going to be any tearful reunion of birth mother and adult daughter. Meanwhile, Delilah’s boyfriend Ric is trying to figure out the baseline ethics concerning the treatment of CinSims and how they might apply to the Maria robot he lifted from Metropolis and getting ready to find a way to take out the human trafficker who had used him to raise zombies. (He is also trying to cope with the way his powers have mutated thanks to Delilah’s influence.)
A great deal of the action in the story involves Ric and Delilah wandering around on their separate quests, meeting up when their paths occasionally intersect. We get some fairly random insight into the murder of Loretta Cicereau in which her and her boyfriend’s horrific murder by her father is compared to a funeral custom of the Kievan Rus that involves human sacrifice. (Douglas refers to it as an “energy transferal” ritual. It is actually a “grave goods” ritual. With this random tidbit of information, nothing makes sense in any way shape or form.)
Loretta’s ghost meanwhile is looking for vengeance in all the wrong places, and may have become involved with the Fairy Court. There is also a continuing effort on the part of Snow to involve himself with the relationship between Ric and Delilah.
We end with a confusing battle between Delilah, Ric, the Native American from an Unidentified Tribe FBI Agent and Ric’s nemesis. The battle is confusing mostly because Ric has an interesting variation of the Virgin/Whore complex. (Part of the final battle involves a vision of “Bad Maria” from Metropolis and an army of undead “femicides.” At least, that is what Delilah sees. Ric saw the Virgin of Guadelupe. We also get a flash back to Ric’s child hood and it turns out that Ric’s visions of the Virgin he had as a child were most likely the result of a female vampire.)
I did not care very much for this book. I might have liked this book more if there had been fewer stereotypes out on display. And if there were not so many plot elements from Douglas’ Sword and Circlet series lying around to be tripped over. If you are a fan of the series or Carole Nelson Douglas you might have a different opinion.