Meredith's Reviews > Overbite

Overbite by Meg Cabot
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Sep 09, 11

bookshelves: 2011, chick-lit, contemporary-fiction, humor, vampires
Read from August 06 to 11, 2011


Originally published on The Librarian Next Door:

Meena Harper has never been normal. All her life, she’s had the ability to tell when and how a person will die, which doesn’t exactly endear her to others. But Meena’s life became exceptionally more complicated when she fell in love with Lucien Antonescu, son of Dracula, the prince of darkness. After turning down his offer to become immortal, Meena started working for the Palatine Guard, a secret unit of the Vatican intent on destroying vampires – especially Lucien. But even when her co-workers and friends – like Alaric Wulf – dismiss her ideas as crazy, Meena is convinced Lucien can be redeemed. As she tries to prove her theory, Meena realizes that the truth is much more complicated than she imagined and there are some people who will do everything to make sure the truth stays hidden.

Overbite, Meg Cabot’s sequel to her first vampire novel, Insatiable, is classic Cabot: snarky, witty, funny and clever. Filled with flawed, complex, yet ultimately lovable characters, Cabot fills her novel with sly pop culture references and jokes without ever being too over-the-top or obvious about it. (I’m personally quite fond of her subtle digs at New Jersey, making it the home of a hellmouth.) From the very first chapter, Overbite launches into a wild and exciting story that doesn’t let up until the very last pages, a feat that’s impressive considering the action of the story takes place over the course of only two days. Meena has hidden meanings to decipher, mysteries to unravel and motivations to uncover, all while trying to figure out exactly how she feels about Lucien and Alaric – and, oh yeah, stay alive.

In my review last year of Insatiable, I called it Cabot’s “best book yet,” which in retrospect might have been a bit presumptuous because Cabot keeps writing fantastic books and has given no signs of stopping. But there is some truth to it; taken together, Insatiable and Overbite tell a smart and amusing vampire story without being one of those “vampire stories.” Overbite is a bit darker, and slightly less humorous than Insatiable, but it’s just as much fun while taking the characters in some unexpected directions.

In Overbite, Cabot builds on the Dracula vampire lore she established in the first book and adds new twists and turns. Aside from demonstrating that she has clearly done her research and knows the Dracula story (and the historical people behind it), I especially like how Cabot weaves real New York City history and landmark into the story. As the novel progresses, a lot of the action remains unpredictable; even when you thought you had figured out the twist, Cabot still managed to surprise you a few pages later. And, without giving too much away, I liked the choices Cabot had her characters make towards the end of the novel. Considering the circumstances and the emotions of the characters involved, not only did they seem like the right choices, but it felt like those were the only choices they could make.

And, for me, that sentiment extends to the resolution of the love triangle between Lucien, Meena and Alaric. I’ve read a few other reviews of Overbite and there’s a real split between readers who prefer Lucien and readers who prefer Alaric. I wasn’t overly attached to either of them at the end of Insatiable, but I’m now firmly an Alaric fan. What girl can resist a guy with a sword AND a crossbow? Mostly, though, I liked how much stronger Meena was this time around. Even if she wasn’t always aware of how she felt about either guy, she was able to stand up for herself and call them out on their bad behaviors.

It seems to me that people either adore Meg Cabot’s books (as I do) or they’re simply not a fan (unfathomable!). Since I am a fan, however, it’s easy to say that Overbite is, along with Insatiable, high on my list of favorite Meg Cabots. It’s got an intriguing mystery, creatures of the night, and enough sarcastic humor to make Lily Moscovitz proud. It also has a sense of finality to it, which, might make it part of a two-book series, as opposed to a trilogy. Based solely on the overwhelming glut of book trilogies (especially in YA), this is a refreshing change. If you’re a Meg Cabot fan, well, you’ve probably already read this book, so give it to someone else and share the love!

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