Thursday, July 19, 2012
Book #39: Insatiable
"Sick of hearing about vampires? So is Meena Harper."
This is a great read for those interested in vampire fiction somewhere in between the now infamous Twilight series, and the classic yet antiquated Bram Stoker's Dracula. I have always been interested in vampires but the recent Twilight pop culture explosion kind of ruined it for me, until now.
For anyone familiar with the original Dracula, the name "Meena Harper" might ring a bell...it's a play off of the character from Stoker's novel named Mina, engaged to a Jonathan Harker. Her name being from the famous mother of vampire novels sets the stage for a novel that isn't quite as sappy and over the top as Twilight, but more rooted in the older legends, with a modern twist.
This novel was published in 2010, so there are veiled references to the vampire pop culture with which we have become familiar. Meena writes for a soap-opera called Insatiable, and while she loves her job, she cannot stand the ridiculousness that has become vampire pop culture. It's everywhere; it's inescapable. So when Meena's new boss/archenemy decides that what the show needs to gain better ratings is a vampire story-line that competes with the vampires on a rival soap opera, Meena is disgusted. Vampires were already in our faces, and now she was going to have to write scripts about them.
Ironically, though, what Meena doesn't know is that she is about to meet a real-life vampire, and not even know it. Lucien Antonescu, a Romanian prince, is in town, "visiting his friends", who also happen to be Meena's neighbors. Mary Lou, the wife of the couple that live in Meena's apartment building, insists on having a party in the hopes of setting Lucien and Meena up. There is an instant attraction between the two fof them and they quickly become involved.
I should also mention that Meena has a special "gift"...she can tell when people are going to die. Strangers, her best friend, anyone. As soon as she comes in contact with a person, she knows when and how that person will die. However, she can't see any details about her own death....or Lucien's. She soon discovers, after Alaric, a strong-willed Palatine Guard (vampire hunter) straight from the Vatican, practically breaks down her door for information, that Lucien is not what he seems. The flowery language that he uses is not simply because he is from Romania. The references to vampires are not because he has recently been watching True Blood. Lucien is a vampire. And not just any vampire. He is the Prince of Darkness, AKA: ruler of all vampires. Oh, and he's the son of Dracula. Yeah, Bram Stoker's Dracula. That one.
Meena's world is turned upside down as more and more people become involved in the craziness that her life has become. Her infatuation with Lucien fights her will to protect herself and everyone she knows from an impending vampire war. Is Lucien the kind, peaceful vampire that he claims to be, or does he have something to do with all of the murdered women who have been popping up throughout NYC parks, drained of blood?
This novel was a great read. Meg Cabot combined equal parts comedy, romance, action, and more into one fantastic novel. Parts of it may be a little on the Twilight side as Lucien can be sappy sometimes, but the reader gets more of the feeling that it's simply because he's older than dirt, so his language is not quite up to date with this century. And while Meena is swayed sometimes by Lucien's incredibly good looks and sexy demeanor, she is not a pushover. She's an interesting, many-dimensioned character who loves fiercely and isn't afraid to fight for what she wants.
In looking up more information about the novel, I discovered that there is actually a sequel. Though it seemed as though all loose ends were tied up at the end of Insatiable, I'm excited to have the chance to read more about Meena and her adventures. The sequel, entitled Overbite, was published last July, so it should be readily available in libraries and at the bookstores. I'd definitely recommend this book to anyone who might have lost their faith in vampire lit. It's perfect for adults (probably mostly women haha) who are looking for a fantasy novel that still ties into our modern world. It's funny, different, and absolutely entertaining. I look forward to reading the sequel!