Saturday, December 3, 2011

Jessica Got a Little Darker

Jessica Rules the Dark Side
The first book in Fantaskey's series had a ridiculous title and an awful cover. So why did I read it? Not quite sure, but I am glad I did. It was hilarious. It was a serious story peppered with the rantings of a persnickety vampire prince who just wanted his betrothed to come back to Romania with him and rule. What he didn't expect before he came for her was a vegan who worked on her family's small town farm and only dreamed of going to college- not becoming a vampire princess and settling a centuries old feud. After absolutely adoring Lucius' hilarious ramblings about lentils in the first book, I was looking for more of the same from Jessica Rules the Dark Side.

Jessica, who is known as Anastasia now that she is a vampire princess, loves Lucius, but hates Romania. The other vampires think she is weak, she only has one friend, and she can't even order food from the kitchen because she can't speak Romanian. To top off the horrible experience, she knows her inability to be the ruthless princess makes her husband vulnerable with the rest of the vampires he is trying to rule. When one of the vampire elders is murdered, Anastasia takes the advice of her friend and suggests all the vampires produce their stakes to catch the murderer. What she doesn't expect is that Lucius' stake is covered in the murdered vampires blood, but he swears he did not kill the man. Anastasia believes him, but the Elders insist he is locked in the dungeon until he can go to trial... without the blood he needs to survive. Now Anastasia must solve the murder to exonerate her husband, but with the return of old friends and the revelations of many secrets, she isn't sure she can be the princess (soon to be queen) Lucius wants her to be. If she can't, her husband's life ill be over.

I was a little surprised when I first read this book and saw just how dark it was. Don't get me wrong, it was a really good story, but compared to the light-hearted wit from Lucius in the first book, this one was much more serious. There were occasional moments of levity, but I definitely missed the Lucius you fell in love with in the first book. This story dealt much more with Jessica/Anastasia and her crippling fear of being the princess she needed to be. In fact, I was a little annoyed with her at times. At one point, her husband is locked, starving, down in the dungeon and she is lying in her bed feeling sorry for herself. I wanted to scream: "Get out of bed you twit! Take care of business!" Eventually she did rise to the occasion and take charge, but it was frustrating to watch her flounder so much.

While the main characters were the focus in the first book, they faded into the background with this one. The supporting characters, like Lucius' childhood friend and Anastasia's friend Mindy from home, made up a lot of the meat of the story. Luckily, it was an interesting part of the story, and Mindy's fun take on the situation was a welcomed touch. This story is appropriate for a wide range of ages and will still hold the attention of anyone who liked the first story (as long as they could ignore the silly title). It is a good, easy read for any struggling reader to be successful with. 

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