Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Just Keep 'em Human, Please!

After a brief venture out of my comfort zone, which did not particularly succeed, I went to the library yesterday and got out 13 eminently comfortable books ranging from old favorites to total junk chic lit, to known authors, to recommendations from trustworthy sources.  So expect a more positive crop of reviews comin' up.  But not this one... not particularly anyway.  Meg Cabot published her latest in June actually, but I hadn't gotten around to reading it till now (I lost my reserve at the library b/c I had no time to pick it up and then I left Baltimore...) I wasn't overly enthusiastic about it in the first place, because though I general enjoy her tried-and-true formula (with a few exceptions, like the one I reviewed a while ago), this book is pretty new for her... Meg Cabot has jumped on the bandwagon with, you guessed it, a vampire novel.

I think I've stated my feelings on the supernatural genre previously, which are basically that it holds no interest to me in and of itself, but that I can usually stomach it when it comes in the form of supernatural romance/chic lit, as it so often does.  And this being Meg Cabot, Insatiable does fall squarely in the chic lit category.  Unfortunately, it falls pretty neatly into the chic lit mystery/action sub-genre as well, which, while it really is to be expected of a vampire book, does not improve its readability.  The book departs from most of the MC books I've read in another way as well - it's missing her trademark total ditz of a first person narrator who does like a very slightly - very slightly - older version of Junie B. Jones.   I must say, I don't really miss that narrator, but the third person viewpoint means there's a whole lot of description of scenes not directly observable by our heroine... and of course many of those are less than interesting to me.

But I must admit that a lot of those scenes were those involving vampire hunter Alaric, who I thought at first was mostly there for the plot and at best was somewhat of a comic relief.  This was because Alaric does not appear to be a very attractive character (personality wise; physically he is a-ok :)) And since there's another very eligible male who likes Meena (main girl) very much, why would I assume the nasty guy was the interest? I don't think this is a fault in my romantic interest radar - I think Meg Cabot does a bad job with his initial portrayal.  And yes, this may be deliberate, since she actually does seem to like introducing red herrings (very prominent in Queen of Babble and I noticed it in Airhead as well) but it still creates inconsistencies with the likeability of the characters.  The other thing throwing me off was that I didn't realize that this is meant to be the beginning of a series (yay?) so that it's not like e/t was meant to be resolved happily ever after by the end.  I assume Meena will get over her dislike of Alaric next book and they can get together in the third or s/t... but for now, Alaric can stay a bit of an off-putting type w/o wrecking the plot line.

And the truth is, why should I complain? Alaric is a better main man than Lucien (son of Dracula).  He's human, rather awesome, rich, gorgeous... (I mean except for the one, he shares those attributes with vampire guy but whatever).  And there's a much more interesting romance than the open and shut one w/ Meena and Lucien. That one happened way too fast - almost not qualifying as romance fast, though it could have been saved by insertion of the vampire element to keep them apart.  But since the book veered off after the original pairing, there was no question of that happening.  And Alaric-Meena shows a lot of promise, if handled correctly...

Of course, that's not a trivial if.  Meg Cabot can definitely do decent romance, but that's her strongest suit, to put it mildly.  Her writing leaves something to be desired.... it's very jumpy and the characters sometimes feel inconsistent (like, why is he saying that type of thing).  I can't really complain that much b/c I guess she's about average for a chic lit writer... but this book aspires to be more than chic lit.  Drama, mystery, danger, pathos... and if you're going to dive into all that, you should be a better swimmer than Meg Cabot is.  Instead, it's all just competely distracting from what could be a promising romance.  These authors need to remember that their loyal readers *do not care* if the books contain not one meaningful idea.  Really, we dont.

Verdict: 2.75/5 (but my expectation is that the next book should be a 3)
Food: bland, nothing too exciting, but nothing objectionable either... and it is something I like in general  - Utz regular potato chips fits the bill here- I think they're my least favorite type of regular potato chips b/c they don't have enough salt, but I don't say no to them

No comments:

Post a Comment