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Meg Cabot – Insatiable

March 5, 2012

21. Insatiable by Meg Cabot (2010)
Meena Harper, Book 1

Read By: Emily Bauer
Length: 16h 24m (464 pages)

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Started: 10 February 2012
Finished: 21 February 2012

Where did it come from? The library.
Why do I have it? I loved Cabot’s Mediator series, and am usually game for some fluffy paranormal romance fun.

For someone who hates
vamps, Meena sure seems to be
surrounded by them.

Summary: Three things about Meena Harper: 1) she knows when everyone she meets is going to die; 2) she hates our culture’s current obsession with vampires, which is a problem, since 3) she is a writer for the soap opera Insatiable, and has just been told that they will be adding a vampire character to the show. Her mind is not totally on her troubles at work, however, since she’s just met the perfect new guy: Lucien Antonescu, a Romanian prince who’s related to her next-door neighbors. One thing that Meena doesn’t know, however, is that Lucien is in fact a vampire prince, in New York to investigate a string of killings that might be part of an ancient feud. And neither Meena nor Lucien realize that he is being tracked in turn by an equally ancient order of Vatican vampire hunters. But when these secrets start to be revealed, Meena has to re-think everything she’s previously believed about vampires… and she has to do it fast.

Review: I love the Mediator series, but I am really starting to wonder if I should just stick to Cabot’s YA books, because between Size 12 is Not Fat and Insatiable, her adult novels just seem to make me rage-y. These books are chick-lit, marketed so they appeal to older teen girls as well as adult women, but they are filled with such irresponsible and angry-making attitudes and actions that it makes my blood boil.

Meena talks a good talk about how vampires are romanticized misogyny and preying on the helpless buxom women who never fight back, and how she’s not falling for it, etc., etc. And then? She promptly falls for the first vampire to waltz along. That’s not even my main problem, though. Lucien, on the whole, is not a bad guy, and I can easily believe that Meena would find him attractive (maybe not in-love-with-him-within-24-hours attractive, but still). There’s a part about whether or not she gave him permission in the throes of passion to drink her blood that reads as uncomfortably close to date rape, but even that was not worst offense this book committed.

My main problem with Meena was that she was so damned weak when it came to fighting back against any kind of attack, whether it was getting passed over for a promotion at work, or when Alaric (the vampire hunter) forces his way into her apartment, physically assaults her, smashes her phone, holds a sword to her throat, and threatens to kill her and anyone she tries to contact for help. Not only are her efforts at fighting back feeble at best, but she stops in the middle of the assault to notice how attractive he is. Seriously. RAGE. Stop thinking about how pretty his eyes are and make with the kneeing him in the groin, girl!

Even ignoring all of that, I still had problems with the writing itself. It’s a long book, and the beginning’s pretty slow to get going, with a lot of meandering. The characterizations are broad and not particularly interesting, or even necessarily self-consistent. (Tip for authors: you can have your characters be “one of those girls” who doesn’t care about clothes and shoes, or you can have their primary daydream be owning a $5000 designer purse. Not both.) There were a number of errors scattered throughout that made the whole thing feel careless and rushed. (For example, each chapter began with the date, time, and place that it occurred, but all of the times were given as Eastern Standard Time, despite taking place in mid-April. Also, during one of Meena’s inappropriate admirations of Alaric’s eyes, “she was struck once again by how piercing and bright blue his pupils were.” I’m sure she meant “irises”, but it’s much funnier if you picture it as written.)

I’m not rating it as low as I might based on all of these issues because I was entertained by the first half. It was a fluffy, brainless vampire romance, but I liked the idea of Meena’s psychic powers, and was willing to go along for the ride. It was only after Cabot started setting up the horribly off-putting love triangle (with the extremely unpleasant guy who had just physically assaulted Meena, let me remind you) that my blood pressure really started to rise. The book ends with a big climactic battle but no real resolution… but I highly doubt I’ll be checking out the sequels. 2.5 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: This is not the worst offender in the “girl falls for guy who is trying to assault/kill her” category that I’ve read (that “honor” belongs to Hush, Hush), but it’s definitely up there. There are other, better, and less angry-making paranormal romances out there.

This Review on LibraryThing | This Book on LibraryThing | This Book on Amazon

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First Line: It was a miracle.

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. March 5, 2012 1:51 pm

    Oh, that sounds foul. I haven’t revisited Cabot since my early teens, but her adult stuff doesn’t seem that interesting.

    (And does the novel ever point out that Meena’s name is similar to Mina Harker’s?)

    • March 5, 2012 3:59 pm

      Clare – Oh, yeah, that’s totally intentional. There are Dracula and other pop-culture vampire references sprinkled throughout. It’s all very meta.

  2. March 5, 2012 2:24 pm

    I really want to try Cabot’s work, but don’t think this one’s for me. Maybe I need to get one of her YA titles to try.

    • March 5, 2012 4:01 pm

      Kathy – I love the Mediator series; the first one is Shadowland. I haven’t read The Princess Diaries or any of her other YA books…

  3. March 6, 2012 10:24 pm

    You’re spot on here, this book has a LOT of issues. But really it was the obvious setting up of the triangle that made me opt out of the second book. You’re really going to consider the horrible guy who knocked you down, smashed your phone, etc., as a potential love interest? Really? Really REALLY?

    Cabot likes to make a lot of noise about independent women, but they have a bad tendency to crumble in the key moments.

    • March 19, 2012 10:46 am

      Cheryl – Me too; I found Alaric pretty repellent even before he broke into her apartment, so I was just not buying that leg of the triangle At. All.

  4. March 6, 2012 11:14 pm

    Yep. I wouldn’t like this based on your review. I like Meg Cabot so I might still try it at some point, but I am not in a hurry.

    • March 19, 2012 10:47 am

      Kailana – It makes me sad that I haven’t found any other Meg Cabot books that I love as much as I love the Mediator series, but alas…

  5. March 9, 2012 1:59 am

    I’m sorry you didn’t enjoyed this one more – although it’s good to hear you at least enjoyed a part of it. I don’t like the “girl falls in love with her aggressor” kind of stories (unless the book aims at pointing out the dysfunctions in such a relationship), so I wonder where I’ll stand once I do read it. I already tried but haven’t read more than a couple pages.

    • March 19, 2012 10:48 am

      Kay – Luckily she’s not falling in love with her aggressor (yet?), just ruminating inappropriately about how hot he is. Maybe that’ll change in the next book in the series, but I don’t think I’m going to stick around to find out.

Trackbacks

  1. Meg Cabot – The Mediator series, books 4-6: Darkest Hour, Haunted, & Twilight | Fyrefly's Book Blog

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