Saturday, October 29, 2011

Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey

Jessica is starting her senior year of high school, and while her goal isn't to be Miss Popular she would like to get out from underneath the thumb of social ineptitude. She has seemingly insurmountable obstacles: her parents are weird cultural anthropologists and she can't seem to shake the math nerd stigma. Then comes along Lucius Vladescu - gorgeous, European, vampire prince, and intent on making Jessica realize that she's the vampire princess of a Romanian clan she's never met and destined to be his wife. It seems that life couldn't get more complicated until you throw in high school bullies with conniving intelligence, Lucius's fight with his darker side, a sweet normal boy who just doesn't seem as interesting anymore, and Jessica's own denial about who she is. Senior year is going to push Jessica right into the lime-light.

You would think that this would be right up my alley. Vampires, high school, Europe.... nope. Not even close. I got really uninterested right around page 87. My disbelief overcame me and started asking nasty questions like (spoilers ahead):

Why wouldn't Jessica's parents tell her before this that she was a vampire? Why does Jessica have such an issue accepting who she is when everyone is telling her it's true? Why must the author use such trite plot twists like making Lucius decide he is too evil for Jessica when she's finally starting to care for him? Why do we need to have the 'nice' boy Jake thrown into the mix? Why does every obligatory cliche seem to be in this book?

End spoilers....

I get the idea of why this is supposed to be awesome. It has all the elements to make it fantastic, I just felt it was clunky and nothing ever grabbed me long enough to get me to suspend my disbelief. I didn't care enough for the characters, I felt the plot didn't come together fast enough to hold my attention, and I didn't see anything original. Except for the plot device of the guide for young adult vampires, which was kind of a lame plot device.

So I'm going to be honest and say that I read the first 87 pages and the last 34. All of a sudden Jessica/Anastasia is in Romania and trying to win Lucius - who for some reason I keep writing as Luscious and having to go back and re-write it - back and end a war. Oh and she's fully accepted herself as a vampire and she's all princess-y. Sometime when I do this I become intrigued by the ending and well go back and read the entire thing, hash through the boring parts so I can understand how they got to the end. Not this one. I just didn't care. I'm sure someone out there really enjoys this series, it just won't be me. The sequel Jessica Rules the Dark Side is coming out in January. And there's a short story on Beth Fantaskey's website about Lucius and Jessica's wedding.

P.S. Beth Fantaskey's same is awesome. Whenever I see it I think Beth Fantastic! I wish her books were too.


  1. I completely agree! And I think you put it quite well. My friend really loved this one but frankly it just got on my nerves, except for the letters from Lucius to his uncle. Those were pretty hilarious.

  2. The bits of levity there were, were good. They just weren't enough to save the book. Thanks for the show of support, I felt a bit bad for writing a negative review because everyone else I know has liked it.


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