Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side - Beth Fantaskey The book does take a while to get into, mostly because the major flaws are all in the beginning of the novel. The biggest thing that peeved me was that Jessica's love of "rational thinking" was used as a plot device to make her not believe that Lucius was a vampire until the moment Fantaskey needed her to. This could have been done in a much more natural way, because something just doesn't ring true about her parents not telling her about her vampyric past simply because she has a rational mind. It would have been better, perhaps, if they didn't tell her because, in today's society, no one believes in vampires, but instead, the "Jessica has a rational mind" idea is given to the reader over and over to try to write off her disbelief.

I also have reservations about the way female vampires develop their fangs in Fantaskey's world. A female has to be bitten by a male vampire before the fangs will materialize. The "meaning" of fang development is a little vague; it seems like the girl is not through with vampire "puberty" until the teeth have come in, but linking that to a bite from the male and vampire bites are depicted as very sexual makes it seem more like a loss of virginity. This means that the female cannot become Vampire until she offer ups herself to the male and gives her purity to the male.

What I found the most amusing of the story was the letters that Lucius writes to his uncle, showing how he views the world of the Americans from his rather patrician, strict and structured upbringing. Another theme that we deal with in this story is that of love and redemption. Our favorite arrogant vampire has feelings of worthlessness and feels that he is unforgivable. Yet we see glimpses of kindness and love, even when he refuses to acknowledge their existence. It is a powerful, emotionally charged story that takes the reader on Lucius's emotional roller coaster ride with him, and has us sitting in the sidelines, cheering him on and hoping he finds the forgiveness he desperately craves.

All in all, this is not a bad book but it is not wonderful either. It is a bit silly and often too predictable. I finished it in 2 days, as I found myself not wanting to put it down. Fantaskey writes with a breezy, effervescent style that lends itself to the story, keeping the various story lines -- challenges with parents, students, normal friends, the would-be normal boyfriend, and the vampire prince -- spinning. There's more at stake in the betrothal, because it was calculated to cement an alliance between two powerful feuding vampire clans.

I was highly disappointed by the end of this book. After all that happens, all the leading up to the climax, all the chasing, the drama, the surprises, the book ends in a whisper.