PJV Quickie: A pleasant Amazon surprise landed this one on my radar as a Freebie. I just couldn’t pass it up, even with the very trite title that didn’t match the Urban Fantasy style cover design. I have to say though, even with the visual cover confusion, once I started reading the story, I forgot all about titles and female sword wielding knights, and just couldn’t put this one down.
Title: Bite Me
Author: Parker Blue
Series: Demon Underground #1
Type: Classified as Young Adult, but teen is more mature 18 year old
Amazon Freebie (Still Free to borrow via Amazon Prime)
Deal or Duped? Deal!
Published September 30th 2008 by Bell Bridge Books
I know I’m focusing on the cover a lot, but for goodness sake, it is the first thing people see about a book and I’m seeing this chick with a sword and a cover quote of “Don’t call her Buffy unless you’re ready to meet her inner demon.” I wouldn’t have ever purchased this book, especially at the usual, high price of almost $10 that it is marked at. But, being Free I gave it a go — can’t beat that price, right? And with it, my misconceptions were proved wrong and I actually enjoyed the book, considering it actually a guilty sort of pleasure. Guilty pleasure, because I was able to turn my brain off, forgo the usually pickiness that I retain while reading and actually appreciate the story, even though when I went to review it, I kept thinking “why did I like it?”
The story is about a girl who is part demon, part Succubus demon actually. She of course, like all succubus girls nearly kills the first person she has a sexual encounter with. This leaves her skewed, feeling rather mental and down on herself. Even her asshats of parents think she is a freak and literally kick her out on her petunia after her stupid sister hides in the trunk to “help” Val kill vampires. Did I mention that killing vampires helps Val sate her succubus, which she has nicknamed Lola? Why not, right? Sex and Violence go hand in hand, right? The aforementioned asshats are very protective of their non-demon daughter so they literally push Val out onto the streets and fire her from the only job she has had (working at the family book store). I’m sure they only meant the best for her. For the other side of the story, Val is actually confronted after a kill by an officer that knows what she took out was a vampire. This leads her to call him for a job and Val is immediately indoctrinated into a Special Unit of vampire police. Her new partner is of course, smoking hot and tension reigns as they try to chase down the evil vampires…along the way Val must discover more about her demon side, she even picks up a terrier sized hell-hound named Fang…also part demon, part Yorkie or something —
Once again, I ask myself, why did I like this book?
I think it really was the pacing and the writing style, the snarky humor that was perfectly timed. The plot might have been unoriginal and a bit stereotypical, but the author knows how to tell a story and she told it really well. The characters spoke to you, you could relate to aspects of most of them and I really enjoyed reading about them and their issues. I really think if the author would have taken the time to flush out a more original and homogenous story I would be reading a best-seller (it is marked as a Fictionwise Fantasy Bestseller), instead of a moderately successful, small press book.
The Young Adult / Adult overtures did make me uncomfortable.
The book is described on goodreads.com as “Young Adult Vampire Hunter.” The main character Val is 18, which in my mind is a technical adult. But, labeling this as a YA my mind has already categorized it this way, not to mention the tone of the book is young adult. Yet, within the story, Val is trying to break free from that YA persona and reside fully within the Adult world. It is a weird line to cross, because I’m still thinking about this girl as a young adult, but here she is now living in her own place and then starting a relationship with her partner Dan, who is described as older twenties and firmly within the Adult category. As far as like inappropriate content, there is none, the book is basically a young adult book — and why should I be all skeeved out in regards to Dan? Most YA books have the chick dating 100 year old vampires – Dan is young compared to them. I guess it is because Val is, as described, a young adult and Dan is, as described an adult. When YA heroines date 100 year old vampires, those 100 year old vampires are still placed within the YA persona. Trapped perpetually as a 17 year old…how tragic? The only other paranormal story that I can think of that has a teenage character dating an older adult type character is the Buffy and Angel relationship. This bringing me back to the cover quote and the final light bulb that goes off in my head that says, “oh yes, we can see where the author was inspired. Obvious Buffy fan.”Hence, the kick-butt heroine, the snarky and fun side-kicks, the white-knight, dashing older man that is tormented by his past…and the all-knowing boss that only steps in when it is needed.
So, there you go. If you like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, you’ll like ‘Bite Me’ by Parker Blue. As far as moving on in the series, I really would like to, but the next novel, which I assume is ‘Try Me’ (I can’t find anywhere that has a reading order, I’m going by published date alone) is priced at $8.95 for the eBook. The inner cheap-ass within me refuses to purchase an eBook for over $7 and with it being a small press I might have a hard time finding this at a library. I don’t know who has these prices inflated so high, most likely the publisher — but they might sell more if they weren’t so expensive. Just my little suggestion. I do recommend reading this though – especially if you like me, enjoy a bit of guilty pleasure every now and again. This is suitable for young adults, 15+, but do note there is a relationship with an older guy and sexual type overtones.
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