Author: Meg Cabot
Synopsis (Courtesy of Powell’s Books):
“Meena Harper has a special gift, but it’s only now that anyone’s ever appreciated it. The Palatine Guard—a powerful secret demon-hunting unit of the Vatican—has hired her to work at their new branch in Lower Manhattan. With Meena’s ability to predict how everyone she meets will die, the Palatine finally has a chance against the undead.
Sure, her ex-boyfriend was Lucien Antonescu, son of Dracula, the prince of darkness. But that was before he (and their relationship) went up in flames. Now Meena’s sworn off vampires for good . . . at least until she can prove her theory that just because they’ve lost their souls doesn’t mean demons have lost the ability to love.
Meena knows convincing her co-workers—including her partner, Über-demon-hunter Alaric Wulf—that vampires can be redeemed won’t be easy . . . especially when a deadly new threat seems to be endangering not just lives of the Palatine, but Meena’s friends and family as well.
But Meena isn’t the Palatine’s only hope. Father Henrique—aka Padre Caliente—New York City’s youngest, most charming priest, has also been assigned to the case.
So why doesn’t Meena—or Alaric—trust him?
As she begins unraveling the truth, Meena finds her loyalties tested, her true feelings laid bare… and temptations she never even imagined existed impossible to resist.
This time, Meena may finally have bitten off more than she can chew.”
Thoughts: While my thoughts on Insatiable were not exactly gushing, that did not stop me from squealing with delight when I opened the envelope containing its sequel and from putting it towards the very top of my review pile so that I could get to it sooner rather than later. Thankfully, some of the problems I had with the first novel were resolved so that I could enjoy Overbite that much more. A worthy conclusion to a fun story, Meg Cabot does not disappoint in the furthering saga of Meena Harper.
The biggest issue I had with Insatiable was with Meena’s voice. In the first novel, I felt her voice was too young and did not properly reflect a woman with her experience. Thankfully, Meena’s voice has changed slightly to better reflect her age and her recent experiences at the hands of Lucien, the Dracul, and the Palatine. It was more authentic to a thirty-something who had faced agonizing decisions and life-and-death experiences. It still maintained the spunk and verve that makes Meena so lovable, but this time, there is a world-weariness that better fits.
Other issues with the first novel centered around the supposed heroes of the story, Jon and Alaric. Jon remains as child-like and goofy as ever. If anything, he is reminiscent of Jason Stackhouse in Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series with his ability to always get into trouble and his guilelessness. Whereas in the first novel he was annoying, in Overbite he is not a character about which the reader will give much thought. His role is Meena’s life has been relegated to that of the endearingly annoying sidekick, providing comic relief and a foil for some of the stickier situations. Alaric has similarly changed. He is still overbearing and egotistical, but this time around, his inability to vocalize his feelings for Meena in an appropriate fashion is slightly hilarious, if a bit unbelievable. The miscommunication between the two adds more comic relief while building more tension to an already intense situation.
This time around, the biggest fault I could find was that there was not enough Lucien. The broody, gorgeous and charismatic Prince of the Dracul turns a bit too broody, but there is an additional element of danger that prevents Overbite from becoming melodramatic tripe. Sparks all but fly from the scenes with Meena and Lucien, as theirs is a relationship as complex and emotional as any more realistic one. While I personally would have preferred a happier ending for all, Ms. Cabot did an excellent job of maneuvering through the supernatural elements to maintain its heartbeat and realism.
In Overbite, Meg Cabot relies on the elements that make her so famous – mystical, fairy tale-esque elements, spunky heroines with plenty of snark, spark, and romance added to the mix. The conclusion to Meena’s story will upset some readers and please others but remains true to Ms. Cabot’s penchant for realistic endings versus the standard happily ever after. Just like Meena, Ms. Cabot stands her own ground and sticks with the plausible versus the impossible. In the case of Overbite, it works exceedingly well.
Thank you to Chelsey Emmelhainz at William Morrow for my review copy!