We start out with the fascinating information that Betsy loves her cat. I suppose this is something to point out, as later on she claims she and her cat have always been indifferent to scornful of one another, but whatever. Right now, chapter 11 of book 1, Betsy apparently loves her cat and is a cat person.
This is pertinent because she suddenly discovers that now dogs suddenly seem to find her irresistible! And she doesn’t even like them, oh the irony!!
Yeah, dogs from all around the neighborhood swarm and slobber all over her, licking her ankles and giving her big, goofy, slobbery grins, even after she turns around and kicks them! Yes, our heroine is a person who proudly and unabashedly kicks dogs for the crime of liking her, and we are supposed to find this information charming.
She is walking towards Barnes and Noble, whining and whining about how hard her life suddenly is because dogs like her, and claims her ears are still ringing from the scolding Jessica gave her. When she left the house, dear Jessica was rearranging her cupboards, knowing that would drive her crazy.
Before she can make it inside the Barnes and Noble, a big, black limousine pulls up and “all the limo’s doors popped open…and several pairs of hands grabbed me…and stuffed me inside. The door slammed shut and off we went.” Yes, I am pointing out she specifically says all the doors open, and a sentence later she says it was only one. Because that is a stupid detail to immediately forget! Maybe I am petty, maybe all of the mistakes herein have made me overly petty towards MJD and her editor, but it is still a fucking stupid detail to immediately forget.
She tells her captors (four men who “made The Rock look puny,” holding crosses and holy water) she knew it was a trap, and asks who called her. No one says a word, so she keeps talking, “…I’m not scared, y’know. Actually this is sort of bringing me back to prom night. The rough handling, the over-the-top limo, the sullen expressions…ah, it all comes roaring back”
She tells us that they all sort of resemble each other; broad chests, big hands, big feet, well over 6 feet tall…all are unshaven, have dirty blonde hair, brown eyes, and smell like a mix of Old Spice and cough syrup. “Are you guys all brothers? Well, then, do you all have cocker spaniels? Because you know that saying, about how people start to look like their pets after a while? Because you guys look like cocker spaniels, if spaniels could walk erect and shave most of the hair off their bodies. And talk. Assuming you guys talk. Which I shouldn’t assume, because none of you have said a word. It’s just me doing all the chatting. Which is fine, I don’t mind carrying the burden of conversation, though it’s just this sort of thing that drives my stepmother up a tree. It–”
“Shut up,” the one on the end said.
“Really is unbelievable, I mean she can talk about clothes and dinner parties and pool maintenance ad nauseum but god forbid anybody else gets a word in edgewise, it’s really–”
“Shut up,” they said in sullen unison.
I folded my arms across my chest. “Make me,” I said fearlessly, if immaturely.
Then one of them shoves his cross closer to her face. She contemplates breaking it, but decides that’s sacrilege and that it would tip her hand early, as they seem to believe crosses and holy water make them safe. She thinks about it for a while and comes to the conclusion maybe they do work on other vampires, and perhaps she is just special, eventually realizing he’s still waving at her and dryly says “No, ah, no, please, it burns,” which somehow seems to satisfy them well-enough.
They get to a cemetery, and Betsy whines some more about this being both cliché and stupid, especially once they head inside a mausoleum, although she points out that it doesn’t creak from rusty hinges so they’ve missed an opportunity there. There are several people milling about inside, but of course this is a vampiromance, so her eyes immediately fall upon one man in particular:
“He was unbelievable. Easily the most amazing-looking man I’d ever seen outside of Playgirl. Not that I read such trash. Well, hardly ever.
Tall, very tall–at least four inches taller than me, and I’m not petite. He had thick, inky black hair that swept past his face in lush waves. Not many men could have pulled off the Elvis hair swirl thing, but this guy had it. His features were classically handsome: strong nose, good chin, nice broad forehead. His eyes were beautiful and frightening: deepest black, with a hard glitter to them, like stars shining in a dark winter sky. And his mouth was saved from being tender by a cruel twist of the upper lip. He looked mean and he looked bad.
And his body! He was so broad through the shoulders I wondered how he’d fit through the door, and his arms looked thick and powerful.” I’m getting tired of directly quoting the book, and she just rattles on some more about how he has pianist fingers (long, slim, and straight) and he’s wearing a fancy charcoal suit and Ferragamos, which of course makes her swoon because oh my god, shoes.
Anyway, Betsy also notes that he looks annoyed to be there, too, so of course they’re soulmates. But then an overly booming voice rings out, and she sees that there is another male vampire who seems to be the leader. He’s talking to everyone all condescendingly, and Betsy looks around the room, thinking that the other vampires seem too pale, too thin, too cold, too ragged–she thinks they are definitely vampires, but they must be ill somehow.
She eventually gets around to describing Mr. Booming Voice, who is still talking: “He wasn’t nearly as impressive as the other guy: medium height for a guy, about a head shorter than me, slightly chubby around the middle, a cleft chin (what Jessica would call, with unfailing tact, an “ass-face”), watery blue eyes. And–(groan!)–dressed in a black tuxedo. Not a cape, but almost as bad.” He kisses her hand, and he’s even colder than she is, and balding. Yes, balding. She’s totally grossed out by the hand kiss, because of the balding. And, y’know, the general unattractiveness–in Betsy’s world, you can still be evil if you’re attractive, but you cannot, I repeat cannot, be both unattractive and good. If Betsy thinks you’re ugly, you’ll definitely turn out to be the bad guy.
And I’m sorry for all of the quoting, but I must quote again. He’s been saying that he will allow Betsy to feed soon, and everyone else, “First, however–and I require this of all new Undead Children–” That’s just how he said it, too. You could hear the capital letters, “You must get down on those dimpled knees of yours and swear fealty to me. Then we will feast, and you will rest at my side, our newest undead child and my current favorite.”
She of course thinks this is ridiculous, and can’t help but laugh and laugh. Everyone is shocked and appalled except for “Mr. Gorgeous,” who doesn’t smile, but he arches one eyebrow and his lips “twist.” The Vampire-Eventually-Revealed-To-Have-Named-Himself-Nostro commands her to stop laughing, she can’t, he says something else pompous and stupid (“sacred throats” is the dumb part) which makes her laugh all the more, and she keeps laughing and mocking him and what an idiotic cliché he is, although she never, ever, ever will acknowledge that “Mr. Gorgeous” (okay, his name is Sinclair) is an even bigger frickin’ cliché being that he is literally tall, dark, and handsome and only wears custom-made suits. Betsy herself made a mention of the fact that Nostro apparently didn’t get the memo that vampires are supposed to be insanely gorgeous, and yet minutes later she’s laughing at how cliché everything about Nostro is despite him breaking said cliché by being short, chubby, and balding, while the real cliché is standing right across him, the supposed most handsome man in the entire universe. And not just in Betsy’s opinion, either…every single character who makes any mention of Sinclair’s looks essentially says he’s the most handsome man to have ever lived.
An!Y!Way! Nostro tells “the Cocker Boys” to punish her, and they throw holy water in her face. This causes her to sneeze between giggles. She giggles and sneezes and giggles and sneezes and nothing else happens, to everyone’s surprise. Everyone is all, b-b-but y-you’re a v-va-vampire and she agrees that she is, asks who the hell called her here (no one seems to know what she means), keeps pointing out clichés and keeps mocking them and their outfits and finally shrugs and walks off, contemplating how “The evening had been mildly educational, but ultimately disappointing. I couldn’t believe vampires were so boring and uncool. I had set trends when I was alive…apparently it was up to me to carry the coolness torch when I was dead. Too. There was no rest for the fashionable.”
Once outside, Sinclair (she still doesn’t know any of their names, if that matters) coolly calls on her to wait, and so she waits. She whines about not wanting to, though, so I don’t know why she bothers (except that she thinks he’s hot, I suppose). He ends up peeling her lips back and sticking his fingers inside of her mouth to check for her canines, and says she truly is a vampire. She’s all like duh, of course, and he demands he come with her. She complains about how stupid and cliché all of this is, again, and refuses to go with him. They speak back and forth about this for a couple pages, just over and over him sexually harassing her, calling her stupid, and demanding she come with him for her own safety, and to talk “and other things.” She keeps complaining and saying no, while her inner thoughts all want to fuck his brains out despite the fact she also thinks he is a jerk, inwardly and outwardly. Finally she ends up shoving him, which somehow causes him to fly away from her “as if shot out of a cannon,” and into a giant stone cross–through it, even. Before he has a chance to get up, she runs away.
Again, this is the best book, and the funniest. Perhaps you’ve even thought some of what I’ve described sounds like it would be funny and maybe a bit subversive, and yeah, it kinda is. This is not a terrible book. This book does not promise a terrible series, although it is an extremely light, fluffy read. I started rereading the series before I committed to writing reviews for it. I committed to writing reviews for it a few books from now, because it gets progressively worse, and even that worse manages to get worse. I am now reading book 10 in between writing this, and if I weren’t writing these I may have ended up quitting. Despite the fact I started rereading these simply because I wanted to see where it finally ends, these books become so bad and Betsy becomes so unlikable that it still doesn’t feel entirely worth it.
In this book, she describes herself as having been cute in high school, and carefully maintained that cuteness through adulthood. That may even be a direct quote. She goes out of her way to tell the reader that she is cute, not gorgeous, and not the type of woman who could get anyone she wanted, although still able to string along some. By book 10, she’s essentially a goddess, she talks about her tits almost nonstop, she’s mentioned to be insanely, absurdly gorgeous almost every single chapter–even gay men think to themselves she is the only woman they would go straight for. And she just gets more and more dumb, more and more petty, more and more unreasonably whiny, and they even do that thing where another character starts voicing all of this and truly is becoming the voice of reason, yet is claimed to simply be a jealous fool (and jealousy, even if just accused jealousy, cancels out all good points in this world) and thus is the wrong and wronging party, just like LKH does with that bullshit conversation between Ronnie and Anita after fans started really complaining about what absolute shit that series becomes. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again here: Ronnie is the only person who notices and cares that Anita’s entire personality has shifted basically an entire 180 degrees, and we’re supposed to think she’s just a jealous poopyhead by the end of that dumbfuck chapter. The ardeur is basically a date rape drug, and truly is the worst thing to ever happen to a series.
Betsy starts to remind me of the latter books in the Anita Blake series, and that is not a good thing.
Now, I meant to write more than just one chapter here, but I think I’ve gone on long enough for a post. And so without adieu…
COMING UP: Suicide isn’t all that serious, friend jealousy is the dumbest kind of jealousy, and Betsy walks right into a trap…again! Like the cover says, “All hail the vampire queen!”