If it's wrong to call a vampire novel "absolutely adorable" then I don't want to be right.
Although not a fan of romantic comedies, that clash resulting from girl-meets-very-different-boy is played out very well here. Rather than go with the usual case of anger/annoyance/disgust as a means of hiding attraction, Fantaskey plays out the rises and falls, the steps forward and steps back that come with moving from annoyance, to awkward friendship, and more. Jessica's Guide To Dating On The Dark Side
is not a case of love at first sight - and that's one thing I loved about it. Feelings grow and change, are accepted and rejected, and develop alongside their characters.
One of the best decisions Fantaskey makes is allowing us to see the letters Lucius sends home, as it allows us to see the development of Lucius's character from another angle. While we do see him change through Jessica's eyes, the letters add another, more personal layer that Jessica does not see through the way Lucius acts and holds himself around her. One good example would be his absorption of American words and phrases and putting them into practice through those letters. Through Lucius we learn about a take on vampirism that, while keeping in touch with many of the traditions, puts emphasis on the culture behind the physical traits we are more familiar with. It was an aspect that is often missed, especially when reading about vampires that do reproduce in ways other than just biting, and Fantaskey introduces sexual dimorphism
, which was a very interesting touch that I found interesting.
Despite having a premise that reads as "chick lit... with vampires
!", not only does Jessica's Guide...
run with it and do it well, it also remembers the darker side of the nature of vampires and includes it well. The way it took itself seriously, but also not seriously, was one of the reasons I could not put it down and made for a very enjoyable read.