This book is the "Scream" of paranormal fiction! Remember how that movie kinda poked fun at the horror genre at the same time it was itself a horror flick? Meg Cabot has done that with Insatiable! She pokes a bit of fun at the whole popular vampire fiction craze (oh yes, there are references to sparkly vamps and Sookie Stackhouse) at the same she is pulling off telling an awesome bit of vampire fiction herself. Loved it!
This was such a fun and clever read and what I loved MOST was that Cabot totally respected Stoker. You know, that guy who wrote Dracula, the forefather of all our modern vampire stories?? It seems so many modern authors writing vampire fiction have never even read Dracula. And while I think it's perfectly acceptable for authors to create their own versions of vampires, I absolutely loved the fact that this book drew from the original Dracula.
First of all, we have the characters names...Meena Harper and her brother Jon Harper. If you're read Stoker, you'll remember the characters Mina and Jonathan Harker. Mina is generally considered a pretty submissive female protag (and Meena starts off that way, but more on that later.) In Stoker's Dracula, Mina possesses telepathic abilities and Cabot's Meena has abilities of her own...she can tell how someone will die just by looking at them. Insatiable also introduces us to vampire hunter Alaric Wulf, and his boss Abraham Holtzman. Of course Stoker's famed vampire hunter was Abraham Van Helsing...see how brilliant this all is???
Cabot wrote Insatiable as if Stoker's Dracula was the true history of vampirism and even weaves references to Stoker himself into the story. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed reading a vampire book that actually FELT like a vampire book. The vamps could be scary and that's exactly how vamps should be as far as I'm concerned.
Insatiable is able to stand on its own as an incredibly entertaining book. So much here is clever and original and this book really has a little of everything to offer: Humor (Jon Harper, Meena's brother, was hilarious...he is unemployed and when Alaric the vampire hunter shows up, Jon asks if they are hiring =)There is, of course, romance...not to mention a very exciting finale that had elements that took me completely by surprise.
I must confess to getting a little discouraged in the middle of this one despite all it has going for it and I'll tell you why. Meena goes on ONE date with Lucien the vamp, falls into bed with him and BAM! the next day she is convinced she is in love with him. And THEN, actually says to him that very afternoon..."I thought I knew you." Seriously?? SERIOUSLY?? I HAVE to go on record and say I am SO tired of books that do these two things...
1. Heroine immediately ends up in bed with the book's love interest. This is usually explained away by saying it's been oh so very long since she has been with a man, we simply can't blame her for being so slutty. Or we are led to believe it's supernatural forces bringing them together. Geez you vampire loving heroines, keep your legs closed for at least a couple of dates!!!
2. After a couple of hours of conversation and a couple hours of sex, our heroines ARE IN LOVE. Again, SERIOUSLY? C'mon authors...make me believe the main characters actually have a REASON to fall in love with each other.
Ok, mini rant over. And while yes, Insatiable did these things, I have to say Cabot made up for it and Meena totally and completely redeemed herself in a major way. MAJOR! I actually ended up loving the book even more for how this all played out.
Bottom line: One of the best paranormals I've read...the kind of book that makes you wish you had come up with the idea..SO very clever, intelligent and original...just an all around awesome summer read!
And just for fun, for those of you who have read the book, here's a couple of pictures..
Lucien, the vampire, has a castle in Sighisoara, Romania. As it turns out, this is the real life home of Bran Castle, known as Dracula's Castle. Legend has it that this was Vlad the Impaler's castle...just another wonderful example of how Cabot used Dracula mythology in this book. Here is a picture of the castle...
And some scenes in the book take place at this church...kinda cool to see what the interior really looks like and then envision the story taking place here...