Tuesday, September 19, 2006

I'm The Vampire, That's Why

When I bought Lover Awakened, I also picked up this one by Michelle Bardsley. Ms. Bardsley really, really should think about updating her website, because there is barely a mention of this book, much less a blurb or excerpt. Now, I wavered on this purchase because the cover description reminded me of a certain popular vampire series with a snarky heroine, written in the first person. But I was in the mood for something lighthearted, and its been an age since I've tried a new paranormal series. When I finally got to reading it, I noticed that the cover blurb was from MJD. Obviously, I'm not a reader who pays much attention to these things, because if I was, I would've just been even more concerned that this was going to be completely derivative.

Anyhow, onto the book. A year ago, Jessica Matthews was widowed when her husband (whom she was in the process of divorcing for knocking up another woman), was in a car accident. These events make her yet another single parent in Broken Heart, Oklahoma, a dying town which boasts the highest rate of divorce in the state. Jessica is a rather bitter stay at home mother to her two children when one evening, her life is forever changed. While she's taking out the garbage, Jessica is attacked by a wild vampire-beastie thing, and awakens attatched to the thigh of a totally hot guy, sucking his blood. Hot guy is a vampire with long, dark hair and an Irish accent, by the name of Patrick O'Halloran. Although, Patrick causes a stirring in Jessica's long dormant nether regions, she quickly learns that to have sex with a vampire, is to be mated to him for the next hundred years (am I the only one hearing echoes of another vamp series?). Jessica does not want this, she's a mom and her kids come first. I should also mention that Patrick's father is the founder of the vampire race, which makes him a prince, so if they got together she would be...anyway, moving on.

The next evening Jessica finds out that ten others, also single parents, were bitten by the beastie, and turned by other vampires. The vampires just happened to be in the area because they are looking for a town to turn into an oasis for paranormal folks. So, who is running around turning good folk into vamps? How are these vampire going to to be effective parents when they can't go out during the day? Is Jessica ever going to stop yapping and do it with Patrick? I don't like to give too much away, and I'm get sick of writing synopses, so I leave you with these questions.

So was this book totally derivative? Yeah, kinda. It reminded me a lot of several other books that I've read, but it was not without its charms. The first problem I had with it was that I thought that the whole series was going to be about Jessica's adventures, and the idea of endless angsting over whether or not getting together with Patrick would be detrimental to her kids was really annoying. It was a thin excuse to begin with because he was a great guy, totally devoted to her and the kids. But I realized that that was not to be the case, and that their storyline would be resolved, which made the story more enjoyable. But there were two more problems. I'm not really to into the first person heroine thing, because I find that the heroine often comes off as rather one-note, that note being snarky/downright obnoxious. Her attitude really wore thin. I also thought that this was compounded by the use of the whole "soul mate" device. Patrick is in instant, devoted love, seemingly merely because Jessica can wear a ring that once belonged to him. His development was pretty much limited to ardent soul mate guy, which, combined with Jessica's borderline annoyingness, really weakened the love story for me.

But the story moved along at a nice clip, and there were some amusing moments. I didn't want to put it down. I liked the idea of a weird little small town, full of strange beings. I'm a fan of stories about weird little towns. I loved Twin Peaks, Northern Exposure, Picket Fences, and all those stand alone episodes of the X-Files where Scully and Mulder would roll into some podunk town affected by the moon or something. And though I usually am not into the kiddies in my romance, there was just enough of them, and they weren't annoying. And the idea of being a vampire parent to a human child and all the resulting implications, is an intriguing one.

So although I found many similarities to the Betsy books (and the works of Katie Macalister), and the love story wasn't all that compelling, I thought it was a fun read, and a cute world, and that future installments would be worth reading. I'll probably check them out of the library though. According to the back of the book, the next one, Don't Talk Back to Your Vampire, will be about the local librarian and Patrick's twin brother (I think). Nothing on Bardsley's website, but it's due out next summer. A C for this one. If you like your vamps funny, it might work for you.


Marg said...

Whilst I probably won't go out of my way to find this, if I do see it I might pick it up. It could be a good way to while away a couple of hours.

~ames~ said...

Ok, I never read the cover quotes on books. But I did a quick look at the last book I reviewed, Captive Moon, and Laurell K. Hamilton provided the quote. Blech! I probably wouldn't have bought it (because I don't like LKH or her writing) if I had seen that quote before.
It really sucks being unobservant.

I probably won't be reading this one-I'm getting sick of smart-ass vampire women written from the first person pov. But it sounds like you might like Dead End Dating-there are no kids in that one. Kimberly Raye wrote DED.

CindyS said...

Crap. I was out shopping and the stupid cover caught my eye and in my quest to try new authors I bought the book.

So, I just have to keep in mind it's not a romance, it's a chick-lit vampire thing (no, don't tell me it's something else! I need my expectations to dim a bit).

Thanks for the review though, at least now, I know what to expect when I get around to it.


Anonymous said...

hmm.. i do love MJD's Undead series.. but your review makes me want to wait and just check this out at the library..