Why Are There All These Blank Spaces?

You may notice that in some of my posts there are blank spaces in the reviews. These are spoilers that I've written so I can remember important details of the books when I want to read the sequel. I've made the text a beige color to blend in with the background so you won't accidentally see something you don't want to. If you want to read it, just highlight the section to make the text appear - although you should really just read the book yourself! :)

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side

by Beth Fantaskey

If you've read Twilight, this book will remind you of it.

If you've read Pride and Prejudice - Lucius will remind you of the way you felt towards Mr. Darcy at the beginning.

That said, Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side is not a copy-cat novel. Jessica is quite different from Bella, and while Lucius has his Darcy/Edward moments - he is neither of the two.

Let's start at the beginning.

Jessica is quite ready to just have a normal Senior Year. She hoping to maybe start a relationship with cute, nice Jake - the boy who came into the diner where she worked often during the summer. She plans on continuing riding her horse, competing in 4-H and math competitions. However, Jessica's plans get all turned around when a mysterious stranger appears at her bus stop one morning whispering her name. Not Jessica - but her old name, Anastasia, the one she had before she was adopted as a baby, the name that no one but her parents and her best friend Mindy know. Understandably Jessica is creeped out when the guy appears behind her in her English calls - condescendingly and creepily announcing to the whole class that his name in Lucius Vladescu. Even more shocking, is when Jessica's mother invites the boy over for dinner. It is during this dinner that Jessica learns that she is the daughter of a powerful pair of vampires in Romania, who died shortly after her birth. She is a vampire princess, and has been betrothed to Lucius since their births.

Saying much more would spoil the story, but I will say that Lucius is just ANNOYING at the beginning. I was reading it thinking why in the world the author thought we were going to like this creep! Then I was reminded of one of the most annoying male leads in a novel - Mr. Darcy. And indeed, like Mr. Darcy, somehow along the way you find yourself starting to like Lucius. Even after the fact it's hard to remember the point where you started to like him. One aspect of the book that does help this along though are Lucius letters to his uncle - which are interspersed throughout the novel. Through these we see Lucius sense of humor and also sympathize with the difficult place in which he finds himself.

Jessica in turn is a relatively strong character. She won't let Lucius push her around. However, she does have the problem common to many female protagonists - the unwillingness to confide in anyone! Many times she avoids telling her parents her problems (which I can understand, as she is a teenager and many teenagers don't feel comfortable talking to their parents about everything) but she also never confides in her best friend, instead opting to keep her out and eventually push her away.

I was really liking this book and read furiously to the end. However, I was just a little disappointed by the end. It seemed rushed, and not completely explained. In fact, it was if the author picked up Jessica's habit and kept the reader out of the loop. I wasn't sure what was going on until Jessica explains it to Lucius, and even then I was thinking, "Wait. What?" I didn't think it was entirely convincing and actually I found myself liking certain characters just a little bit less because of their reaction to things going on around them.

Good book, could have been great if the ending had just been a little more fleshed out.

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