Archive for October 26th, 2009

26
Oct
09

Halloween Party: Nice Girls Don’t Date Dead Men

Nice Girls Don't Date Dead MenA few months back I reviewed a new book that had caught my attention, Molly Harper‘s debut novel Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs. In that novel we were introduced to Jane Jameson, an ex-librarian who was shot by a drunken hunter, found by a vampire, and turned into the undead to save her… um… life. Now these days, there’s a buttload of vampire “romances” in the marketplace, but Harper’s book had something very unique going for it — unlike any of those other vampire novels you can name, this book was funny. Really funny.

In the sequel, Jane’s best friend Zeb is engaged to a werewolf, a fact that is of particular upset to his mother, who has always harbored a belief that Zeb and Jane would wind up together. Jane’s boyfriend/sire, Gabriel, has a tendency to rush off to parts unknown for “business,” and her grandmother the serial monogamist has brought a date to her latest fiance’s funeral. Harper pulls in a slew of disconnected storylines that all seem to revolve around Jane and her group of friends, and despite the fact that most of these assorted stories don’t actually connect with one another, the book still has a nice, cohesive feeling to it. Even more so than the first one, though, it feels incomplete. There are a lot of storylines left dangling — Jane’s estrangement from her family, whatever is taking up Gabriel’s time, the fate of the occult bookstore where Jane now works, and several others. I guess it’s safe to leave some plots hanging when the next book in the series is scheduled for a January release, but it’s still a bit disquieting.

When I reviewed the first book, one of my few complaints was that Gabriel was a bit of  nonentity as a character. This time around he’s still kind of underdeveloped, but it’s getting better. The mysterious routine actually ties into the plot this time around, and seems to be feeding into the third volume as well, so I’m feeling a bit more forgiving. The big plus to this book is Harper’s character development. Zeb and Jolene, Dick and Andrea, all get much more facetime in this book, and we learn much more about them. The vampire and werewolf cultures of Harper’s world are explored much more, and the confrontations with Mama Ginger and Wilbur near the end of the book work well for a middle chapter, as this seems to be.

If you’re passing on these books because you’re sick of angsty vampire romances, rethink it. The tales of Jane Jameson really don’t fall into that category at all. Instead, we get something clever, something enjoyable, and something fun.




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