New vamp tale

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - BOOKS - Re­view by CAROLYN LES­SARD In­sa­tiable

Author: Meg Cabot Pub­lisher: Wil­liam Mor­row, 464 pages TROU­BLE is brew­ing in the Big Ap­ple, and Meena Harper is at the heart of it. Barely mak­ing ends meet as a writer for a soap opera called In­sa­tiable, Meena is told that her show is go­ing in a new di­rec­tion. To sat­isfy pop cul­ture de­mands and com­pete with a ri­val soap, she is forced to cre­ate a story-line where vam­pires reign in “the cult of mon­ster misog­yny”.

Meena is no stranger to the para­nor­mal. She has the gift of pre­cog­ni­tion and can sense when and how some­one will die. Al­though it has saved her loved ones on more than one oc­ca­sion, it is an abil­ity that has cursed her through­out her life.

When women start show­ing up dead and drained of blood in New York, the mys­te­ri­ous Ro­ma­nian Prince Lu­cien An­tonescu ar­rives to in­ves­ti­gate the killings. Lu­cien must find the killer be­fore the hu­mans dis­cover that real vam­pires are walk­ing among them.

Af­ter sav­ing Meena from a swarm of bats, Lu­cien is in­trigued that he can’t eas­ily read this mor­tal’s mind. And when their paths cross again, he de­cides to make Meena his min­ion.

In true Van Hels­ing style, Alaric Wulf, a sword-wield­ing war­rior with the Vat­i­can’s Pala­tine Guard, is de­ter­mined to de­stroy all vam­pires, es­pe­cially the dark prince. And when Alaric holds Meena cap­tive, he be­comes at­tracted to her.

Meg Cabot, author of the pop­u­lar young adult se­ries Princess Di­aries, ren­ders an al­lur­ing adult novel with a love triangle that will en­tice fans of the vam­pire-ro­mance genre.

Cabot also pro­vides a colour­ful ar­ray of char­ac­ters, in­clud­ing Jonathan Harper, Meena’s mooch brother who dreams of be­com­ing a mem­ber of the Pala­tine Guard; her ec­cen­tric neigh­bour Mary Lou – she’s a vam­pire, too, be­cause it is, af­ter all, the in thing to be in fic­tion nowa­days thanks to real life TV se­ries like True Blood and the Vam­pire Di­aries – and Meena’s Pomera­nian-chow mix named Jack Bauer, who can scent vam­pires.

Bram Stoker fans will no­tice few sim­i­lar­i­ties from the clas-clas­sic tale, but in this mod­ern ur­ban ver­sion, Cabot re­casts the vam­pire prince as a flawed ro­man­tic hero while leav­ing the vil­lain­ous role to an­other.

Al­though no se­quel to In­sa­tiable is cur­rently planned, Cabot leaves some doors – and win­dows – open for fu­ture vis­its from the dark prince. – AP

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