Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side: Beth Fantaskey

What would you do if your parents told you that you were a princess?  Okay, so that question has already been answered by Meg Cabot.  Let’s try this again.  What would you do if you were told that you were a princess and  that you were supposed to marry a prince?  It’s an interesting question.  Throw in the fact that said prince is a vampire then you got an interesting set up for a novel.   But does Beth Fantaskey’s novel live up to it’s concept?


Princess Diaries meets Twilight that’s this book.

General Summary: Jessica is just your every day American girl.  Until he this dark handsome European guy shows up and tells her that not only she’s engaged to him, but he’s a vampire.  At this time you’d think that Lucius is cray cray, but it turns out that he’s telling the truth.  Will Jessica accept her destiny or will she make her own faith?

Review: The set up for this novel was fantastic.  When I read the title and summary I was expecting something funny and quirky in the vein of Meg Cabot, but this book is not like a Meg Cabot  book despite it’s princess like summary.   It’s not really much of a vampire book either.  Sure, Jessica comes from a line of vampires and is betrothed to a vampire prince.  But the overall vampire mythology here is lacking.  I still don’t get how the heck Jessica is a vampire when she’s still breathing and has a heart beating. Aren’t vampires supposed to be members of the undead?  The book instead is more about Jessica’s relationship with Lucius.  Which I guess is common in a lot of vampire books (hello, Twilight), but I prefer vampire novels with lots and lots of world building.  I will give Fantaskey kudos for the relationship between Jessica and Lucius.  It was not instant love by any means and that’s a big accomplishment considering how instant love seems to be a predominant feature with YA fiction and vampires.

Best Feature: Dual Narration: Usually I don’t like books with multiple narrators, but it works really well here.  I liked how we got to get into both Lucius and Jessica’s head. You got to see what both of them thought of each other.  And more importantly when one character’s voice got a bit annoying, you got a welcome break from that character.  Well, for a chapter or so.

Worst Feature: The Mythology: As I said before, the vampire mythology in this story does not make sense.  For one thing, how can vampires have babies?  Okay, I know how they can have babies.  But they’re the undead for goodness sake.  And for that matter, why are Jessica’s parents dead?  Vampires are supposed to be immortal it just doesn’t make sense for them just to croak like they did.  And yeah, I get that there were some irate peasants after them but they were freaking vampires.  They should’ve been able to put up a good fight with those potato farmers.    Regardless, vampires shouldn’t easily die.  And for that matter, they shouldn’t need heirs.

Blockbuster Worthy: Honestly, I wouldn’t want to see this as a film.  It’s entertaining, but it’s not a must see.  I could see it being turned into a movie though.  More than likely a TV movie, but considering how Hollywood likes vampire movies it might be a summer blockbuster.

Jessica: JoJo: I have to say I was impressed with her portrayal of Morgan Carter in True Confessions of a Teenage Scarlet and I think with a little less makeup she could be Jessica.

Lucius: Does Christian Bale have a younger brother?  Seriously, that’s who I pictured paying Lucius.  It’s too bad Christian isn’t in his late teens/ early twenties though.  But I was able to find a picture of him in his Little Women  days and this is how I picture Lucius looking, save for modern attire.

Overall Rating: Six out of ten  dates.

Blogger’s Note: It should be mentioned that this book has a sequel which I haven’t read.  Maybe it solves some of the issues I have with the first.  If any of you have read it, I’m interested to know your thoughts.


2 thoughts on “Jessica’s Guide to Dating on the Dark Side: Beth Fantaskey

  1. Alex, I think one of my problems I had with the book is I read it after reading about twenty other vampire novels. It's not a bad book. I really liked parts about it, like the subtle message about body image in the book. That was great. And I liked the way the relationship between the two characters were as well, but the whole vampire thing just rubbed me the wrong way. It was almost as if she threw it in there as a last minute to sell the book.

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