Insatiable, by Meg Cabot

>> Wednesday, August 15, 2012

TITLE: Insatiable
AUTHOR: Meg Cabot

COPYRIGHT: 2010
PAGES: 464
PUBLISHER: William Morrow

SETTING: Contemporary New York
TYPE: Paranormal romance (vampire)
SERIES: Starts a series

Sick of hearing about vampires? So is Meena Harper.

Meena Harper is familiar with the supernatural. After all, she knows how you're going to die (Not that you're going to believe her. No one ever does.)

But not even Meena's precognition can prepare her for Lucien Antonescu—who she meets and then makes the mistake of falling in love with—a modern-day prince with a bit of a dark side for which an ancient society of vampire hunters would prefer to see him dead.

The problem is Lucien's already dead. Maybe that's why he's the first guy Meena's ever met with whom she could imagine herself having a future. See, while Meena's always been able to see everyone else's destiny, she's never been able look into her own. Lucien seems to be everything Meena has ever dreamed of in a boyfriend, though he might turn out to be more of a nightmare.

So now would be a good time for Meena to start learning to predict her own future . . . if she has one.
Soap writer Meena Harper has the very annoying supernatural power of being able to tell how someone is going to die. Sounds like it could be a useful thing to be able to do, but in her experience, it's almost impossible to warn people in a way that a) doesn't make them think you're a loon, and b) will result in their actually changing their behaviour. Understandably, things can get a bit depressing sometimes.

Meena's power has put a damper on her love life, which is why she's so shocked when she meets Lucien Antonescue, at a dinner party thrown by his cousins (who happen to be her rich and eccentric next-door neighbours). With Lucien, she can't see anything. His death is a blank. And that's not the only thing that makes him attractive, there's also the fact that he's a gorgeous, rich and very charming, in an old-style European, courtly sort of way.

Turns out that the reason why she can't see a thing about his death, is that the man is a vampire. Unfortunately, the reason he's in New York is that he's the Prince of all vampires, and there to stamp down a possible challenge to his rule. And before she knows it, Meena has got involved in the mess. Not only are there evil vampires trying to kill Lucien, there's also a secret society operating out of the Vatican, and one of their hunters has latched on to Meena as well. They all want to use her to get at Lucien, not to mention her nifty ability, which would be quite useful to all sides in the midst of a war.

I really liked the first half or so of the book. It's very funny, written in Cabot's trademark snarky voice. It's also a book that pokes fun at itself. Just us our own world was going ga-ga over vampires a couple of years ago, when this came out, so is the world in which Meena Harper lives. There are vampires popping up everywhere, including as characters in her soap, and the bemusement of the real vampires at all this is great. Even the heroine's name is an in-joke.

I was also quite excited at the romance. There's real chemistry between Lucien and Meena, and I was intrigued by the set-up. What's going to happen when Meena realises what Lucien is, and that he's been using his tricks on her?

Unfortunately, Cabot didn't really sustain the tension. Lucien goes MIA for quite a while, the book feels bloated and too long, the snarky tone gets tiresome, and then there's this attempt at some sort of love triangle that doesn't really go anywhere. I didn't actually dislike the second half of the book, it was more that while at the beginning I couldn't stop turning the pages, after a while I wasn't in any particular hurry to pick the book up when I put it down.

In the end, I had a pretty good time with Insatiable, but I don't think I'll carry on with the series.

MY GRADE: A B-.

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