Sunday, January 20, 2013

Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side (Jessica, #1) by Beth Fantaskey

Review by Tempest.


The undead can really screw up your senior year ...

Marrying a vampire definitely doesn’t fit into Jessica Packwood’s senior year “get-a-life” plan. But then a bizarre (and incredibly hot) new exchange student named Lucius Vladescu shows up, claiming that Jessica is a Romanian vampire princess by birth—and he’s her long-lost fiancĂ©. Armed with newfound confidence and a copy of Growing Up Undead: A Teen Vampire’s Guide to Dating, Health, and Emotions, Jessica makes a dramatic transition from average American teenager to glam European vampire princess. But when a devious cheerleader sets her sights on Lucius, Jess finds herself fighting to win back her wayward prince, stop a global vampire war—and save Lucius’s soul from eternal destruction.

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When this book came out a few years ago every time I stepped into Borders (moment of silence for the now perished bookstore) I would stop before it and contemplate whether or not I should buy it. I wanted to read it, that was for sure, but I never really felt like I wanted to read it badly enough to spend $17 on it. Now, I'm pretty glad that I didn't. Waiting was definitely a good choice on this one. I didn't hate it, it's not a horrible or even bad book. In fact, there are parts where I didn't want to stop reading. The down side to that is that there are a lot more parts where all I wanted to do was stop. It started out good, but then wasn't good, back to good, ok, decent, good...etc, you get the picture. For one thing, Jessica isn't very bright. There are times where she's actually really annoying. I get that she's a teenager, and she doesn't know anything about vampires. I wouldn't have believed him right off either. However, I wanted to also be able to believe she could eventually become vampire royalty, yet that became next to impossible every time she passed up an opportunity to assert herself. I kept thinking that towards the end she would really take a stand and we would see that, but it basically never happened. Yes, the very end with Lucius she did, but what about everyone else? Within the last hundred pages, she's still doing everything her parents say, even when the situation calls for her to take a stand and prove herself. Even when they're all hovering in Lucius's room after the steak house meeting it's her dad who gets to decide whether or not she's adult enough for to stay. She's seventeen and then eighteen for the book, not fourteen or fifteen. It just seemed like she was acting too much like a child, and because of that I wasn't able to buy into her ending up being a vampire princess ruling a group of immortal people. Another thing, kind of tying into that, is how no one seemed to think she was capable of making her own choices. Every time something major happened, her parents or Lucius would decide what she either would or wouldn't do. Even in the beginning how her parents said they wouldn't force her to oblige the pact. Lucius decided she would, and then later decided she wouldn't. In neither of those instances did he let her make the choice. He did that a lot. And if it wasn't him it was her parents. It was hard to figure out why she was even bothering with him, seeing as how he's a complete control freak who wouldn't let her make her own decisions. I understand why he felt he had to walk away, it makes sense, and at the very end their exchange over it was well written and interesting. I just wish that she would have stuck up for herself more. There's not really any occasion where I'm like, "Yay, you tell them, Jess!" and I wanted that. The whole vampire set up seemed slightly sexist. The females have to be bitten, and it's clear that Lucius believes he has a right to make all her choices not only because he knows better but because he's male. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a feminist or anything, but I still would have liked to see a little more equality. And I really didn't like the parts where Lucius was writing letters to his uncle. Sometimes they were witty and funny, and it was nice getting his perspective on things, but like he says in the book, nice is just nice. I could have easily done without, and it detracted from the story and what I really wanted to see. Because of those few parts where it really does pick up and I'm drawn in, however, I've given this book three stars. Besides the fact that it was well written, if not written like the character was fourteen. I'm not so sure I'll ever read the second book, but I am glad that I finally got around to reading this one.  

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