Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Jessica Rules the Dark Side, by Beth Fantaskey- Review

From Goodreads:
It’s one thing to find out you’re a vampire princess. It’s a whole other thing to actually rule. Newly married Jessica Packwood is having a hard enough time feeling regal with her husband, Lucius, at her side. But when evidence in the murder of a powerful elder points to Lucius, sending him into solitary confinement, Jessica is suddenly on her own. Determined to clear her husband’s name, Jessica launches into a full-scale investigation, but hallucinations and nightmares of betrayal keep getting in her way. Jessica knows that with no blood to drink, Lucius’s time is running out. Can she figure out who the real killer is—and whom she can trust—before it’s too late?

So Beth takes a 90 degree turn with the second book of this series and becomes much more serious paranormal/mystery than tongue in cheek YA love story.  To be frank, at first I wasn't into it.  Jessica is wasting away, she's whinny and hopeless, Lucius is loving and sweet and doting.  All I kept thinking was WHO ARE THESE PEOPLE? And what have you done with the fun characters from Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side?  However, I didn't give up, because of Mindy and Raniero- well mostly Raniero.

Raniero, the surfer/beatnik vampire with a history of horror, is Lucius's cousin and the saviour of the start of the story.  If it wasn't for the banter, via emails, between the two and the unfolding of his past I likely would have given up on this story.  But I didn't, and I'm glad, because eventually Jessica pulls it together and this becomes a fun mystery story.  I'm warning you though, it takes awhile.

My main grievances with this book are the character flips.  None of these people felt like the same ones I'd just read about, and that was frustrating.  Yes I expected Jessica and Lucius to be money newlyweds, but I didn't expect them to have lost all of who they were.  Where was Lucius's arrogance and snottly humorous disdain of the little things? Or Jessica's mathelete prowess and funny tshirts?  Why were there no lentils and kittens, or jokes thereof?  And why did Mindy sound borderline illiterate? "I don't wanna" is maybe not the most intelligent response in a serious moment, and she's not really supposed to be an idiot- just a bit of an airhead, no?

That being said, I did get into the mystery once it finally got underway, and Jessica's final transformation was enjoyable, though a bit overdue.  I'm pretty sure this book heralds the end of the series, which is probably good as I can't see where it could go from this point on, and the ends are all tied off nicely in the final pages.

Not as satisfying as book the first, but most readers will likely be interested in what happens to Jessica post wedding and will want to pick up Jessica Rules the Dark Side.

Jessica Rules the Dark Side, by Beth Fantaskey
Published by Harcourt Children's Books, January 2012
My copy kindly provided by Houghton Mifflin
Buy Jessica Rules the Dark Side on Amazon


  1. Maaan, the first book is one of my all time favorites and I've been so excited for this one. I just ordered it and am still waiting for it to come in, but I keep hearing it's not as good. :(

    1. it's not really the same, but it has it's own charm.