Monday, November 15, 2010

Review: Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey

I loved the first half of this book. The interaction between the two leading characters was amusing and refreshing. The story centers around a young vampire prince named Lucius, who comes to America from Romania to find his betrothed. Jessica, the bride in question, is reluctant to accept this unexpected suitor, that she too is a vampire, or that their marriage will unite two feuding vampire clans. This is a great concept, no? I thought so too, until I got to the second half of the book.

Honestly, the more YA fiction I read, the more I find myself growing tired of bland, cookie cutter male leads. Lucius, however, turned out to be fun, flirtatious and highly amusing. I enjoyed the light banter between the two leading characters; how he arrogantly lectured those around him on proper etiquette and his sarcastic, exasperated letters to his uncle. So, imagine my dismay when he devolves into a typical, spoiled, angst-ridden American teenager who thinks that he is the only one in the world who is suffering. I kept waiting for Jessica to tire of his whining and say "to hell with Lucius!" Jessica, instead, prefers to pine miserably for her betrothed, who can't make up his damn mind about who he wants to be with or what he wants to do with his life! Does he want to marry a Dragomir princess, or does he want to fool around with the head cheerleader? Does he want to bring peace to his people or let them go to war? Choices, choices... Then there is the obvious (or not so obvious) question, to live or not to live? Later in the book, when Lucius decides that his fate should lie in the hands of an angry mob, I was very tempted to stop reading altogether.

I kept waiting for the story to redeem itself, but alas I was disappointed. The ending was rushed and very far-fetched. What happened to Jessica's parents? Am I supposed to believe that Jessica's overprotective parents would just let her run off to Romania with her vampire uncle to confront a homicidal prince? They hid the car keys from her when she tried to save a suicidal Lucius, but they're fine with her flying off to a country on the brink of war? Sigh... I understand that there is a moral to the story, several in fact, but they meant little to me as I struggled through the latter half of this promising, but ultimately disappointing novel.

Rating: 2/5 Stars

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