Do you know that feeling of counting down the days to something, say your birthday or a party or your first day back to school, and your friends ignore you and the cake is so not the cheesecake you were promised, and instead is of the thick frosting variety, and all your classes are out of whack, so that you’re having lunch first and then 4 back-to-back classes? Well that’s what this book was like.
As you may or may not already know, I love Meg Cabot, ever since reading Princess Diaries in high school, during my own awkward teen years. She’s funny and an engaging storyteller, and I’ve liked all of her books (usually), YA and adult alike.
You may also remember that I was extremely excited about this title, maybe even counting down the days until its release, because I loved Insatiable so much.
So what happened? you ask. Good question.
Was there a plot? I’m sorry, but this is actually a genuine question. I don’t like being snarky to authors who I love, but this time, Overbite just warrants such snarkiness.
First off, when I (finally) received my copy in the mail, the thinness kind of put me off. Insatiable had been such a big, juicy read, so I felt a bit wary as I opened it. I had read to more than half of the book, waiting for the story to begin, before I realised: it had begun. Duh.
Unlike Insatiable, Overbite had no clear sense of direction or focus. The story starts of (strangely) with Meena’s ex-boyfriend, whose name is mentioned briefly in the first book and who I’ve already forgotten, as he also turns out to be a vampire.
After the creepy ending in Insatiable, with a promise of him haunting Meena constantly, I was waiting for a bit of cat and mouse with him and Meena, to set the story up and creep the readers a bit more. But nope, Lucien appears right in the first chapter, helping Meena kick some vampire butt.
Ok, cool, I thought to myself. We’ll start the real vampire hunting soon and get on with the story. I was halfway through the book before I realised this was the story.
The plot then continues to veer off in strange directions after that, neither here nor there, or anywhere for that matter. Cabot never really explains fully what’s happening with the Palatine being taken over by vampires (what?!) as no one happens to notice that the new priest also happens to be a vampire, despite the fact that Alaric is boasted as the best vampire hunter ever.
Then Meena’s co-workers are kidnapped and held hostage in a boiler room, until the book culminates in the strangest fight (in a courtyard?) with a bunch of other random people, as all of a sudden the ‘pieces’ start coming together.
Not sure why or how, but Meena suddenly realises that the only way to get rid of creepy vampire priest is by Lucien sacrificing himself, which he promptly does.
He dies, Meena’s in shock, Alaric gets ready to go to Antiguia (like he mentioned somewhere earlier in the book), him and Meena kiss and they both head off to the equator, leaving everything behind. The End.
One of the reasons why I love Cabot’s books is because her female characters are strong, and also fun women to be around. Not so much with Meena.
She was all right in Insatiable, fun and funny to be around. But in Overbite, I just wanted to punch her. She’s so whiny and keeps crying all the time, for no reason. I could get it if, say, her brother gets bitten by a vampire (which he does, when Meena doesn’t even bat an eye), but no, she’s sad because of Lucien and Holtzman and Alaric and about things that don’t make much sense.
Speaking of Lucien, he suddenly transforms into a monster, which may or may not have something to do with an ancient underground stream of evil (?), so that he promises to embrace his evil side, despite Meena’s urgings of the danger of this.
I’m not sure if he’s supposed to be the romantic hero, or even a main character, because I felt nothing for him. I care when he died, and I’m not sure if that was how I was supposed to feel.
Alaric was my favourite character in the first book; full of brashness and bravery, I loved reading his scenes and getting into his head. There weren’t that many opportunities to do so in this book, and even when there was, it was all about how worried he was about Meena. Which might make sense, but it didn’t. Which brings me to…
In Insatiable, the romance between Meena and Alaric is hinted at. It’s done in a subtle way, but one that had me excited about what was going to unfold between them in this one. With that said, there are hardly any scenes between them. Cabot gives no exposition to their relationship, or any interactions. 6 months have passed since Meena has joined the Palatine, so obviously there’s parts of their relationship we haven’t seen. But considering where the story starts off, it doesn’t really make sense that there are big statements of burning love at the end.
Throughout the book, both Alaric and Meena are constantly worrying about each other, which makes sense. But there’s no ‘oh-no-I’m-worried-why-do-I feel-like-this-d-I like-him?-no-I-can’t-possibly-like-him-ok-maybe-a-bit’, which is the best part. And I know this progression is stereotypical, but there’s absolutely no progression from strong dislike, at the end of Insatiable, to the massive declaration of love, which essentially comes out of nowhere!
The build up of the relationship, which I had been so looking forward to, doesn’t happen at all. And this is why the romantic happy ending does not satisfy me at all.
Like I already mentioned, I’m not sure of Lucien is supposed to be one of the romantic heroes, because I don’t feel anything for his character. Meena constantly tells him that she loves him and is doing what she’s doing for his own good, but I never see why she loves him, because he’s such a big jerk.
I just didn’t get it. After all my excitement and counting down, Overbite proved to be a big disappointment. The characters, plot, romance, and action all fell flat and I didn’t feel excited or scared or worried at any point during the book.
The ending especially was anti-climactic. Lucien dies (boo hoo) and Meena loses her job and Alaric goes off to an island at the equator and Meena tags along, after admitting they love each other. There is no character growth or development, or any feeling of focus or depth in the book.
So for that: 1.5/5
I have Abandon by Meg Cabot waiting on my desk, but now I’m not sure how eager I am to read that one…
That’s all there is; there isn’t any more.
Thanks for reading,