Merit is attacked one night, and a vampire saves her life by turning her. Now, instead of writing her dissertation, Merit has to deal with a whole new identity and a whole new set of problems.
This book should totally satisfy my id. Merit and I are both grad students living in the same neighborhood, with best friends with colored hair and a penchant for Buffy. She becomes the bestest vampire ever, all the boys want her, and all the girls are either her bestest friend or are jealous and evil. Her family is super rich but they don't understaaaaand her. She runs around in a black leather bustier carrying a magical katana, for goodness sake! It really does not get much more obviously focused on wish-fullfillment than this. Perhaps if I were fifteen, I'd have been able to dive straight in. But as it was, I just could not suspend my disbelief. Merit is supposedly super smart and loves English lit, but when she's forced to drop out of UofC (no vamp can attend), she just takes it. She doesn't petition the school, doesn't meet with her advisor, doesn't continue writing her diss...She's introduced to people who lived hundreds of years ago, and is too busy cataloguing their clothes (why do all
vampires wear designer labels in all-black?) to wonder if they saw a play at the original Globe, or how they feel about language shifts, or what songs or folk legends they know that have been lost to history. I just plain don't buy her as someone who cares about literature (putting aside her absurdly vague claim that her focus is on "Arthurian legends"). I don't buy her as a character. And I don't buy her surroundings, either. Merit supposedly lives in Chicago, but there's no mention of public transportation, of the terrifying potholes, of the great and cheap Thai food, elotes on every corner...The majority of people who live in Chicago are non-white (and the neighborhood Merit lives in is actually mostly Mexican and Puerto Rican), yet every single character we meet in this book is white. Every single one. I think one of the vamps might be an Asian lady (based on her "uptilted eyes"), but that's it. And naturally, no one is queer.
And the vampires. Oh ye gods, the vampires. They live in what is basically a dorm. They even have a cafeteria. The hottest boy--er, vampire--has a crush on Merit, for no reason except that they have an instant "connection." They all speak modern English, complete with our current slang, even the ones who are over a thousand years old. They are all the most beautifulest things ever (their eye color, hair color, and clothes are described ad nauseum). They revealed themselves to the public a mere 8 months ago, but apparently this didn't shake up human society at all. The existence of supernaturals is accepted without protest or disbelief. No one seems to care. All sorts of supernatural creatures exist, from sorcerers to nymphs, but nobody *does* anything. Sometimes one vamp will pyschic message another, but that's about it. We meet nymphs of the Chicago River at one point, and they spend several pages catfighting over a boyfriend before making up over promises of pedicures. The big vamp betrayal is revealed when the evil vamp monologues for a number of pages about her Evil Plans. It's all so banal.
This book seems to have been churned out as quickly as possible to capitalize on the paranormal romance trend. Unfortunately for Neill, her book isn't good at providing paranormal adventure or