Reviews, rants, and tidbits from an overpassionate novelist

Posts tagged ‘vampires’

Prom Nights from Hell ~ Thoughts on The Exterminator’s Daughter by Meg Cabot

I’ve always been a Meg Cabot fan–ever since 5th grade when the Princess Diaries movie became an obsession of mine. It’s been a while, though. I probably haven’t read any new Meg in a couple of years.

Considering that A) I had possibly outgrown her, B) this was a vampire story, and C) it was told via alternating narrators, never an easy trick to pull, I had a lot of doubts I would enjoy The Exterminator’s Daughter.

But I did.

I have to say, I have not outgrown her at all. Yes, she’s easy to read. That’s a strength. Lots of drive in her voice. Okay, her voice is outright addictive. I was impressed with how well she pulled off the alternating narrators. Yes, it’s annoying to get yanked out of one head and into another. But that sense of annoyance didn’t last long. I enjoyed being in Adam’s head almost MORE than I liked being in Mary’s. ‘Twas not a problem.

It was still a vampire story, though. I’m sick to death of those. And it was very predictable. Can’t give it plot points. Le sigh.

Overall rating:  3 1/2 stars.


As my blog readers know, I attended the Southeastern Writer’s Conference last month and got a bit of a shock. Miss Stephanie and–godforbid–Edward flipping Cullen did far more for me than I ever could have dreamed.

The industry is in a sad condition right now. That is undeniable. Agent in Residence Mollie Glick gave a speech about her job as a literary agent and revealed that a large part of it is keeping up with editors. Not only are editors moving and shuffling around between publishers and houses these days, they’re dropping like flies. Entire branches and houses are getting cut off.

It’s dark.

Apparently, Borders booksellers has nearly gone bankrupt several times within the past year and have survived by a miracle. (I’m very interested in this situation and there may be a post about it soon.) Without a doubt, the disappearance of a major booksellers would be disastrous to the industry. E-books would probably take off, boosting the printed word toward an obsolete state.

How do you break in when things are this bad? Where is the hope?

  1. Okay. Competition is high. It’s always been high. Relatively, it’s not that much of a difference.
  2. One market is still booming. One genre is easier than ever to break into. Respect for it is growing, and its popularity is wonderful. This is the Young Adult market, especially Fantasy. My market.

Four people–Emily Sue Harvey, Cheryl Norman, Mollie Glick, and Holly McClure–all remarked on how well the YA market is doing at the conference last month. About a week after it ended, I was in a bookstore, and I asked an employee if she was familiar with the YA section and if she could tell me what was selling best. She pointed to a few titles, naming one I’d never heard of (which made it all the more beneficial to me). “Anything to do with vampires, witches, or fairies. Actually,” she said, pausing, “that’s most of what we get coming through here right now.”

I almost cried.

If you’re a young adult fantasy writer, now is the time to step up and shoot for it. Despite the economic downturn, we are the ones who have been empowered. And it’s probably all thanks to Miss Stephanie Meyer and Mr. Edward Cullen!


Publisher:  Bloomsbury

Cover:  Gold lips

Overall Rating:  ****  Four stars.


Need was pointed out to me by a bookstore employee when I curiously inquired as to what’s been selling in the YA section lately. I’d never taken a look at it before, and I was instantly hooked by the premise:  This girl has a stalker who leaves pixie dust, and apparently he’s a creature you never thought you’d have to fear. I read the first chapter and loved the intelligent voice and the phobia stuff. Sounds fun, I thought. Sounds like a break from Twilight-formula vampire kicks.

Not exactly.

First let me deliver the good news. This story has an amazing, fleshed-out main character who develops, changes, loves. A little inconsistent at times, but aren’t we all? She’s not a vegetarian, but she does enjoy veggie burgers and constantly writes letters for Amnesty International. She knows all about the situation in Darfur. She quotes Booker T, stands up for her friends, and controls her temper. All of this I love.  I have trouble finding characters I can root for in the YA section these days, fumbling through all the worlds of rustling skirts and fancy parties.

She also loves studying phobias–something we all look up at some point or another. One of the first things she does in the book is name the fear of having peanut butter stuck to the roof of your mouth. Love her.

The bad news:  It follows the Twilight formula.

No vampires appear in this novel. I’ll give it that. Something quite similar to vampires, however, does appear–and something like a pack of werewolves emerges to fight it.  This after a girl takes a plane trip to somewhere North, remote, and miserable vaguely against her will, wears a parka, and finds a new car waiting for her when she arrives. After she goes to school and immediately has boys falling all over her.

Despite this, Carrie Jones mixes it up and keeps the voice catchy enough to keep me from gagging as I read. Most of the characters–Zara, Betty, Issie, and Devyn–are well-rounded and root-for-able. Her mother, however, isn’t. Nor is the villain of the book. Nor is, I hate to say it, the boy. He’s flat. He’s naked and heroic, but he’s flat.

I’d recommend this book for anyone who likes voice. Plenty of laughs, plenty of character development. For anyone who cares little for voice and gags at Vampires vs. Werewolves stories, I’d say pass this one up.

Hope it helped you!

Tag Cloud