Many books in my book queue are waiting to be read, and a common theme among them is they’re all part of a series, trilogy or saga. Each Sunday, I’ll share a book from a series. You can read along with me, or add the books to your own reading list. This week, I read “Overbite” by Meg Cabot.
Meg Cabot has a talent for writing characters with personality. Which is, to say, she writes characters that actually behave like real human beings. Even when they’re vampires.
I appreciated “Insatiable” last week because it was for vampire fans, but it was meant to make fun of the idea of vampires. Meena, the heroine, is spunky and decisive. She doesn’t flop around the book, pining over guys.
Meena continues most of her feisty-ness in “Overbite” as a member of the Palatine Guard, an elite order of vampire hunters endorsed by the Vatican. The guard wants her for her gift of foresight — she can tell when someone is going to die. Her adventure begins when she meets with one of her ex-boyfriends to warn him that he’s going to die. He turns out to be part of a crazy breed of vampires that enjoys eating flesh, rather than just sipping blood.
Meena’s vampire boyfriend, Lucien, saves her just in time, but Meena is still exasperated by his undying devotion. As attracted as she is to him, she knows he’s the super-evil king of the vampires, which makes her reluctant to be in a relationship with him.
When she meets up with him, she realizes he’s pining away for her. While she gets a little weepy, she sticks to her guns and tries to get him to take a hike.
The Palatine Guard holds a museum exhibit in hopes that some of the artifacts will attract Lucien and he can be captured and killed. Meena believes that Lucien can be redeemed from his path of evilness, but the guard, headed by her quasi-love-interest, Alaric, are not convinced.
I really liked the characters in “Overbite,” but halfway through the book I felt Meg Cabot giving up on them. In one of the story arcs, Meena discovers the Minetta Stream (an actual water source in lower New York City) is a source of pure evil in the world (fictional idea.) She wonders if, alternatively, there are sources of good in the world and if Lucien can become good, rather than being an evil vampire the whole time. While this would be a novel concept and would lead to an ending where Meena can be with Lucien, the thought process is dropped and the story chugs along.
I think Meg Cabot realized how completely ridiculous the idea of a vampire romance novel was and just wanted to get the story done and over with. I got the feeling the characters weren’t really done justice in this installment, compared to “Insatiable.” Sure, we’re all sick of vampire romance, but Meg Cabot did it so well. Her vampires are actually afraid of crosses, stakes, holy water and garlic. They can’t go out in the sunlight, which is kind of convenient when Meena’s brother develops a gun that fires UV rays and burns vampires. Cabot’s characters realize how completely ridiculous Lucien’s devotion to Meena is.
While it seemed like it could be a three- or four-book series, enough loose ends were tied up at the end of “Overbite” that I have a feeling we won’t be seeing any more of Meena and Alaric in Meg Cabot’s future books. It’s a shame, because “Overbite” read so quickly. I was surprised at how little time I spent plodding through the book.
If you love vampire fiction, or even if you don’t, check out “Insatiable” and “Overbite.” You’ll probably enjoy them both.