by Meg Cabot
Insatiable by Meg Cabot is what I’d call paranormal chick lit. Who’d have thought such a thing would ever exist? But Insatiable’s protagonist, Meena Harper, is every inch the chick lit heroine. A designer purse-coveting dialogue writer for a soap opera with falling ratings who has issues with men and a certain female coworker, she is the typical chick lit protagonist but for one thing: she can shake your hand and know exactly how you’ll die.
Unless you’re a vampire, of course. Vampires are already dead. But vampires don’t exist…or so Meena thinks until her life is overrun by them.
Sick of vampires? So am I. Not that I don’t like vampires, just that they’re so overdone, and often feature bad-tempered heroines who I actually want the vampire to kill. But every once in a while, a vampire book or movie grabs me. Insatiable was one of these. (And not just because a free hardback came with admission to RWA Nationals.)
The light humor in Insatiable is what hooked me, thanks to an excerpt on the back cover. When Meena falls for a handsome vampire and lets him bite her, he finds that he, too, knows how people will die. Meena reminds him that he drank her blood. “You are what you eat, you know.” This sense of humor permeates Insatiable, putting a smile on your face or forcing a wry laugh every few pages. If you’ve never read Meg Cabot, you may still be familiar with her humorous style from movies based on her books (The Princess Diaries 1 and 2). This is what you’ll find in Insatiable–though, unlike The Princess Diaries, this is adult, not YA. Meena is a plucky, relatable character (minus her desire for $5000 purses—really, who spends that?!) with whom it’s easy to sympathize.
Regarding other characters, Alaric the vampire slayer was in my opinion the most interesting. Not that heartthrob vampire Lucien wasn’t interesting, but Alaric’s character arc is really great. He’s a bit close-minded, yet not too much so, as we see as the story unfolds. His changing perspective is, most importantly, realistic, due to the fact that it is slow and full of baby steps, so perfect given his strong character. I really did like Alaric more and more with every page. I guess I’m not as drawn to melancholy but still smiling men with soulful eyes who fix you breakfast and buy you stuff and are too, too perfect until you learn that they’re vampires as I am to egotistical, irreverent, impatient men who break down doors and don’t follow rules and are chided by their superiors for being too abrasive, yet who you can somehow grudgingly come to care for all the same. Personal tastes, I suppose.
Insatiable also has a couple neat takes on vampire lore, explaining why vampires have historically been unable to enter homes unless invited or appear in mirrors or on film.
Insatiable worked for me because it offered something different. A vampire novel, yes, but also a chick lit book. Two things I rarely read, blended into one, with a likable protagonist whose strange ability earned her the name You’re-Gonna-Die Girl in high school. That just sounds fun to me, and it was. It’s probably not for fans of the gritty, kick-ass vampires of urban fantasy, but it’s not all sparkly, romanticized Twilight-style vampires, either. If you’re looking for something in between, something just a shay different, Insatiable may work for you, too.
Reviewed by Katie Lovett
Katie Lovett, better known around these parts as Superwench83, is an aspiring novelist and published short fiction author. She blogs about writing, books, and the fantasy genre at her website, www.katie-lovett.com.