Monday, June 14, 2010

Gotham Gal Review: Insatiable by Meg Cabot

Title: Insatiable
Author: Meg Cabot
Publisher: Harper Collins, June 2010

From the back cover:  Sick of hearing about vampires? So is Meena Harper. But her bosses are making her write about them anyway, even though Meena doesn't believe in them. Not that Meena isn't familiar with the supernatural. See, Meena Harper knows how you're going to die. (Not that you're going to believe her. No one ever does.) But not even Meena's precognition can prepare her for what happens when she meets—then makes the mistake of falling in love with—Lucien Antonescu, a modern-day prince with a bit of a dark side. It's a dark side a lot of people, like an ancient society of vampire hunters, would prefer to see him dead for. The problem is, Lucien's already dead. Maybe that's why he's the first guy Meena's ever met whom she could see herself having a future with. See, while Meena's always been able to see everyone else's future, she's never been able look into her own. And while Lucien seems like everything Meena has ever dreamed of in a boyfriend, he might turn out to be more like a nightmare. Now might be a good time for Meena to start learning to predict her own future. . . . If she even has one.

Gotham Gal says:  When I first heard about this book a few months ago, I couldn't wait to read it. Fortunately for me, I was able to get it pretty quickly at The New York Public Library. As much as I love Meg Cabot, I'm currently still unemployed and $25.00 books are not in my budget at the moment. This is the start of a new series Cabot.  This isn't the first paranormal series for Cabot, she previously wrote the 1-800-Lightning Series (turned into the Lifetime TV series Missing) and The Mediator (Think The Ghost Whisperer for Teens but way cooler). While I enjoyed this book, I didn't love it, it's about 70 pages too long.  The mythology that Cabot creates for her vampires is plausible and her world building is particularly good. She uses the story of Vlad Tepes aka Vlad the Impaler aka Vlad Drakul.

Meena Harper is the typical Cabot heroine, pretty but not too pretty, spunky but vulnerable, capable when she needs to be, and incredibly foolhardy at times. I loved that Meena wasn't afraid to stand up to Lucien or Alaric, she didn't just let either alpha male get his way. Lucien, is in the Angel mode, he's tall, dark, handsome and brooding with an undercurrent of sadness. What with the whole being the Prince of Darkness gig. But unlike Angel he doesn't turn bad when he's happy. It's when he gets angry that you really have to worry, that was a nice little surprise of Cabot's that I totally didn't see coming. I'm still on the fence about Alaric as a viable alternative love interest, he started off as a bit of a cocky jerk, although as he developed feelings for Meena he softened.

The book moves at a breakneck speed, as Meena meets her other potential love interest, Alaric Wulf who works for the Palantine Guard, a secretive unit of the Vatican, charged with slaying vampires and all manner of demons from the earth. I won't spoil the rest of the book but it's chock a block full of references to Stoker's Dracula, Vampire Myths and a shout-out to that other popular Vampire series Twilight. In this version, Abraham von Helsing becomes Abraham Holtzmann, and Lucy becomes Leisha. I hope we eventually get to learn more about Great aunt Wilhelmina.

The biggest problem with this book is the sub-plot of the daytime soap Insatiable and the vampire story-line they are introducing. Newsflash, vampires on daytime are nothing new. See Dark Shadows in the 70's and Port Charles in the early part of the 21st. I seriously doubt that any show nowadays when most of them are on life support, would turn to the supernatural, especially since the demise of Passions. And Insatiable and Lust as soap titles? Come on, seriously? Cabot clearly knows something about soap writing, the difference between breakdown writers and dialogue writers. Shoshana, the new headwriter, is a cardboard villainess, she's skinny and she gets the job through nepotism, her aunt and uncle created the show. Plus the soap story line is dropped pretty quickly since Meena has other things on her mind such as saving the world or at least New York from vampire attacks. I wish that she had used this more along the lines of the film Shadow of Darkness where the actor playing Nosferatu really is a vampire. Think how tough the fan appearances would be, since alot of them occur in the daytime. And what about make-up, if vampires can't be seen in mirrors? Can they even be filmed? So much comic potential could have been made out of this which I thought was wasted.

Jack Bauer, Meena's pomeranian-chow mix, fulfills the adorable pet quotient and it certainly made me want to go out and adopt a dog. Oh, and I was very disappointed that there is no Marc Jacobs dragon bag. I wonder if Meg and Marc can team up to create one as a tie-in?

According to Cabot, the sequel to Insatiable is out next year. I'm still intrigued enough to see what happens to Meena, Alaric, Lucien and Jon to pick it up when it comes out.

Gotham Gal Rating:  3 out of 4 apples.


Kwana said...

I'd read it for the dog named Jack Bauer.

Elizabeth Kerri Mahon said...

It's a cute book, not one of her best. I have a feeling that the second book will be tighter and better.

Lise said...

Despite the plot issues you mention, your review makes it definitely seem like a fun read. Ditto Kwana's comment on the dog. Love the name.