Monday, April 11, 2011

Bite Me by Parker Blue

Originally posted here.

I just finished Bite Me by Parker Blue, the first book in the Demon Underground series.

My Rating: ★★★

I received this book as a free Advanced Reader's Copy from NetGalley to review.

I enjoyed this book, although I've had a hard time deciding why. It's been labeled as a book "in-between" Young Adult and regular adult Urban Fantasy, but it is truly pure Young Adult. The writing style practically screams it. It's also appears to be a homage to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, one of my favorite TV shows of all time (but without creator Joss Whedon's trade mark humor). In several scenes, the heroine Val is referred to as "the Slayer," even though she did not ask to be.

Pros -

A quick, entertaining read. Like most YA books, it focuses more on the action and dialog than descriptions. Yet it's engaging enough that I flew through it.

The Buffy angle. As a Buffy fan, several parts reminding me so much of the show that I felt nostalgic. The very first scene could have been straight from it.

Cons -

Everything comes to Val a little too easily. The author tries to explain it later, but I like more struggle from my protagonists. For goodness sakes, Val is thrown out of her house, but very quickly lands on her feet: she gets a job perfect for her abilities, she runs into sympathetic side characters, a personal conflict is solved rather quickly then all is forgiven, and let's not forget the final battle. It's almost if the author was afraid to make her suffer too much.

The dog was kind of cute, but I like my non-humans to act like non-humans. He made a few doggish comments, but most of it seemed rather normal. He even called her "Babe" on several occasions. And what's with the caps lock speech? Every time he spoke, the author used all caps.

Unbelievable parts. This ties into the "everything's a little too easy" comment above. There were more than a few moments that just were not realistic. Even in my Urban Fantasy, I like it believable.

No suspense. There was no immediate sense of urgency, where I really worried about any of the characters. Sure, someone close to her is in danger, but it just never felt that compelling.

Blah vampires. They were not interesting, or threatening, or even creepy. Yes, some of them attacked and killed people, but they could have easily been strong humans. Nothing set them apart, made them unique.

Several of the "Cons" above would normally make me put it aside, but despite itself, I enjoyed this one. Are the similarities to Buffy enough to ignore its other flaws? For me, apparently, yes. And everything comes down to the most important aspect of a book; did I enjoy it? I did.

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