Monday, April 13, 2009

Jessica's Guide To Dating on the Darkside

Fantaskey, Beth. 2009. Jessica's Guide to Dating on The Dark Side. Harcourt. 354 pages.

The first time I saw him, a heavy, gray fog clung to the cornfields, tails of mist slithering between the dying stalks.

Jessica, our heroine, never set out to fall in love with a vampire. It wasn't on her to do list. It wasn't a fantasy of hers--not by a long shot--but such is the case when a strange--but strangely handsome--guy appears in her life claiming to be an 'exchange' student. The truth? The two were betrothed back when they were infants back in Romania. Before Jessica (then named Antanasia) became an orphan. Before she was adopted by an American couple and taken to the states to live. Our hero, Lucius Vladescu, is here to remind her that not only are they supposed to be engaged...she is really, truly a vampire princess. But she's not a vampire yet*. Does she want to be a vampire princess? Not at first. No, her crush is the ever-adorable-but-oh-so-ordinary Jake Zinn. And she's more than thrilled that Jake seems to be crushing on her too. But Lucius is ever-lurking about. Watching. Protecting. Generally being creepy and in the way. But ever-so-slowly, Jessica starts liking her lurker-would-be-lover. Starts being tempted by his charms--craves his touch, his kiss, his bite. But as she starts falling for him, he begins having second thoughts. Does he really want to turn Jessica into a vampire? Isn't her American upbringing a major weakness in being a vampire? Isn't she unsuited to the task of ruling as a vampire? Why would he want to do this to her? The more he resists, the more she desires. It also helps things along that he begins dating another girl, Faith, that her desire (Jessica's desire) is magnified by jealousy. If he is going to be biting anyone's neck, it should be her neck. This is another will-he/won't-he vampire romance.

I liked this one. It was fun in a way. If I was annoyed with anything in this one, it was Lucius' voice. I'm not sure what century "old-fashionedness" he was trying to channel for being a proper vampire. But I didn't buy him as a modern hero, a modern vampire, a modern Romanian who just happens to be a vampire. True, it's not like there are any direct correlations between this and real life so you can say he should sound like this, not that. But still, he didn't come across as authentic anything. He sounded stereotypically speaking-English-in-a-weird-movie-supposed-to-be-European-accent vampire. That's not a big problem. I was able to get used to in during the course of the novel. But it did jolt me a few times in the narrative. But I was able to get right back into it. So no big deal.

*(A concept that takes some getting used to. Her parents were vampires, yes. But she's not a vampire until she's bitten by her vampire lover/husband? But as she grows up, matures, her body starts craving that vampire bite, that change? But does that mean Lucius was born a vampire and was raised that way? Raised on blood? Did he have to be bitten? Or was his being a vampire something that happened at puberty? And how are all these vampires having babies to begin with? How do the undead reproduce? Are these vampires even among the undead? Lucius acts like he's alive--growing, changing, maturing into an adult, BUT he does drink blood.)

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews
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1 comment:

Debi said...

Okay, I admit it, I'm just not much of a vampire girl (well, I loved Dracula, but that's as far as I've gotten), so I probably won't read this book. But Becky, I sure did enjoy the heck out of this review. And I really think it's one Annie would enjoy a lot!