With my customary efficiency and foresight, I managed to read the second book Overbite in this series – see my review here – before plucking this one off my teetering TBR pile. However I’d so enjoyed the chirpy tone of the protagonist Meena Harper that when I was needing some light relief after struggling with a tenacious cold that has turned into something nasty and infected, I dived into Insatiable.
Sick of hearing about vampires? So is Meena Harper. Meena Harper is familiar with the supernatural. After all, she knows how you’re going to die. (Not that you’ll believe her. No one ever does.) But while she’s always been able to see everyone else’s destiny, she’s never been able to look into her own. Maybe that’s why when she meets Lucien Antonescu – a modern-day prince who also has no destiny that she can foresee – she’s instantly attracted.
That’s as much of the rather chatty blurb as I’m willing to share as the plotting in this smart, semi-parody is well paced and crafted to pull you in. Meena is an entertaining protagonist, who spends a great deal of time trying not to think about death, until she sees how those around her are going to die… And the catch is, those deaths are avoidable, so she feels obliged to try and warn them, which does nothing for her love life.
Cabot is an experienced writer, clearly at the height of her powers. It takes a lot of skill to take the vampire sub-genre and gently parody the more gothic aspects, while at the same time producing a gripping, convincing adventure tale in the same genre. The vampires are nicely handled – and while there is an undercurrent of fun, particularly at the expense of the lantern-jawed hero Alaric Wulf, chief vampire-slayer of the Palatine Guard, once the action starts, there was plenty of tension and gore. The sub-plot provides a lot of the fun. Meena is a script writer for a long-running soap that is suffering from falling ratings, so the studio have come up with the idea of introducing a vampire storyline, to Meena’s intense disgust. She thinks the whole notion of vampires is so lame and ridiculous…
There is also delightful cast of characters around the three main characters, Meena, Lucien and Alaric. My particular favourites are the eccentric neighbouring couple Mary Lou and Emil and Meena’s clueless brother Jon, as well as Meena’s vampire-hating dog, Jack Baur. And yes… there is a thing going on with names in this book. For those of you who don’t know, Jonathan Harper is the narrator and protagonist in Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Mina is the name of his fiancée who suffers the attentions of Dracula.
This could all have disintegrated into a pretentious, lumpen mess, but with Cabot at the helm, the result is memorably enjoyable, with plenty of thrills and action garnished with a helping of fun. Every time I recall the book, I find myself grinning. If you enjoy urban fantasy with a dollop of humour, track this down.