|William Morrow, 288p, |
Overbite's story picks up six months after where the previous (and first) Meena Harper story 'Insatiable' ended. Now Meena is officially working for the Vatican which believes Lucien has left NYC even though Meena knows otherwise. A misunderstanding has left the possible romance between Meena and Alaric Wolf in doubt. Torn between two men, and varying allegiances Meena tries to take the burden of everything upon herself and sets herself up for failure in a situation where failure is not only not an option, but a sure way of becoming vampire fodder.
As I mentioned in my review, Insatiable is one of the best books I've read this year (even though it was first released last year). Overbite is its sequel and like all sequels, sadly falls short... way way short.
With Insatiable I couldn't find anything to dislike, but with Overbite, it's just the opposite.
-> Let’s get to the meat of the story, which is that Meena is in love with two men – one a Vampire prince, the other a vampire killer. You have to agree – this is the perfect love triangle, with potential for great romance, kick-ass action, and given Alaric’s tendency for sarcasm and blunt understatement, a huge opportunity for verbal warfare as well.
Is it made use of? No! An initial misunderstanding, which happens even before this story starts, takes care of any romantic situation developing between Meena and Alaric. And the entertaining war of words they’d started in Insatiable seems to have ended with that book.
Since Lucien is in hiding for most of this story and seems to come out only to aid Meena, bite her or sleep with her, no actual conflict ever arises between him and Alaric. They think plenty of bad things about each other, but that’s it.
All that potential for fireworks and the end result is a dismal fizz.
-> Let’s get to the next big thing, the plot.
Despite or because of the Vatican’s overwhelming presence in this story, the plot is too hol(e)y for words [sorry, just couldn’t resist the pun!]. An underground river of evil, the New Jersey Devil, flesh-eating vampires – all are interesting, but the way they’re thrust into the plot with no rhyme or reason and on top of each other, makes for a confusing storyline. Plus none of them feel essential to the overall story.
-> Insatiable had a great story arc - with events unfolding swiftly but in perfect harmony to add a sense of urgency and adventure – plus great character development. In Overbite, there’s no such coordination. Things are happening all over the place, there are too many people and tons of wild, chaotic emotions. Even the lead characters seem confused about what to do and how to react.
-> Side characters are the one redeeming factor in this story, even though their share of print has been vastly downsized. Meena’s brother Jon with his “Superstaker” [given that this is a vampire story, I think you can guess what it is] had the potential to add some much needed humor to the story. Alas, that too fizzles out faster that you can say ‘oh no’, with blood and gore sadly taking the place of laughter.
-> And the big thing, the Ending. It was so confusing that I’m still trying to wrap my head around it. The mind boggles as all the norms of traditional vampire handicaps are challenged and that too for a reason beyond comprehension. And the way it ended, both romance and suspense-wise! I honestly have no idea if there will be another story in this series.
I just don’t have the strength to list in detail what more I didn’t like, so here are some highlights:
-> Meena’s gigantic leaps of intuition. Especially evident towards the end.
-> No one else in the Vatican thought anything about that book from Lucien’s past – really? Not one person in all the eons spent in trying to kill the Prince of Vampires, not one?! What kind of researchers do they have?
-> "Yes, your boyfriend turned out to be not just a vampire, but their leader! So what? You've had a good six months to get used to it, you twit!" - I wanted to shout this every time Meena dissolved into tears which she did whenever she wasn’t too busy trying to take the blame for everybody's actions and lives, vampire or not. Needless to say, it got tedious... fast.
-> The overall lack of humor and fun in stark contrast to Insatiable.
One other redeeming factor in the story (apart from the side characters), is Lucien’s inner conflict. He’s torn between being the (not-so) bad guy who may not get the girl, and embracing his true nature which definitely won't get him the girl. The secret of that nature is the big question at the heart of this story.
Overall, if I had to I’d give ‘Insatiable’ 10 out of 5 stars and ‘Overbite’, 1 out of 5.
Note - This book was received for review/feature consideration.
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