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Vampires had been the fodders for gothic storytellers since the 19th century. Many had heard of Bram Stoker's Dracula but it was not a staple book - unlike Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series. Even Anne Rice vampire saga did not turn the blood-sucking creatures into a merchandizing bonanza. It was Meyer that raised them from their coffins where they laid dormant for years and popularized them in our 21th century media - a subplot that Meg Cabot (The Princess Diaries) used in her debut vampire romance novel, Insatiable.
The television network in New York where Meena Harper works has decided to introduce vampires into their TV series, Insatiable (which she wrote) - much to her resentment. As you'll find out later that such a move is more than just fighting for viewership with their competitor's vampire TV series, Lust. Meena is not crazy about vampires, needless to say, she doesn't believe in their existence. But after the handsome Lucien Antonescu has rescued her from an onslaught of bats, she's eating her words slowly: She didn't expect to meet a real vampire and fall in love with a vampire chief. Because Lucien disapproves innocent killing, his leadership contravenes the style of his half-brother, Dimitri. As part of his plan to overthrow Lucien, he staged a series of exsanguination of innocent girls to entrap him. His rampant crimes gains media attention and in turn begets the wrath of Palatine Guard, a vampire hunter unit from the Vatican. To Alaric Wulf, both Dimitri and Lucien represent evil and they're to be vanquished. Personally, Lucien poses a threat to him as his love rival. Alaric has also saved Meena's life - not once but twice. And he, too, is as handsome as Lucien. Will Meena choose an immortal or a mortal?
The book, Insatiable is not a teenage vampire chick lit. The characters are adults that juggle with job promotion, unemployment, pregnancy and sexual desire. Unlike Bella Swan from Twilight who wants to be bitten by her vampire boyfriend, Edward Cullen to be with him eternally, Meena wants to remain a human even though she loves Lucien. Because if she were dead, she believes her power to pre-empt danger would die with her; she wants to use her psychic ability to keep people alive. Also, Cabot spares readers from the commonplace associaton of vampires with werewolves and gives us a different mythical creature. Having said that, her vampires are the old-fashioned type that shun the sunlight and fear the stakes and the holy water.
The plot is smoothly linked and puzzles are unraveled as the story progresses. The vampire's part works for me but not the romance. The intensity of their love grows too fast for me, considering that they've only known each other slightly more than a week (the entire story happens in 10 days). And Lucien's gesture of love appears to be more sexual than romantic.
I can foresee Insatiable developing into a second book. I wouldn't want to give away the spoiler that led me to such a conclusion. But with Meena's psychic power, I suppose we can expect her to join forces with the Palatine Guard against the vampires in the sequel. And when that happens, we shall see how she balances between love and her duty.
Should I suggest to Cabot that the title be called Inseparable?