Lady & The Vamp
by Michelle Rowen, fantasy (2008)
Grand Central Publishing, $6.99, ISBN 978-0-446-61863-2

Michael Quinn was first introduced in Michelle Rowen's adorable debut Bitten & Smitten and you may want to read that book, at least, before you tackle this one. That book is a much better book than Lady & The Vamp, though.

Somehow, as the Immortality Bites series progresses, Quinn mutates increasingly from a pretty cool foil to the whiny emo himbo hero of Bitten & Smitten into this... this... ugh. Let me put this way. Louis de Pointe du Lac needs to take only one look at Quinn before running off to the nearest shrink ASAP to get some much-needed prescription of Prozac. Quinn is all about the me-me-me, woe-is-me stuff that I suspect that he's the kind of man who will weep uncontrollably and wail for his mother after having sex with a woman. Quinn is the kind of fellow who deserves to have a montage of his incessant cry-baby facial expressions recorded and put up on YouTube with Janis Joplin's Cry Baby playing in the background. The author's heroes so far have been annoying emo crocks in varying degrees, but Quinn is easily the worst of the lot.

Oh yes, the story. Quinn hates being a vampire and he also hates to drink blood, but that is when he's not brooding over the fact that he has no idea what he wants to do if he's no longer a vampire. My suggestion is that he can always go chew on some bricks. Any way, Quinn believes that a legendary gem called the Eye will help him become human again. Therefore, he escorts his adorable (if cowardly) werewolf buddy Barkley to his hometown where Barkley will try not to wet his pants as he challenges some angry werewolves to be the alpha. Quinn plans to abandon Barkley halfway to go find his Eye, which leads to more of his angst-ridden guilt-ridden posturing. After all, it is better to let the whole world know that he is an emo instead of, say, buying a ticket to the short bus that will take him far, far away from me.

Our heroine Janelle Parker is a "supernatural assassin" ordered by her boss to retrieve the Eye or her sister will be suffering a gruesome fate. Alas, Janie has had a crush on Quinn for so long that the moment she sets eyes on him again, the few of the brain cells that she can afford to lose simply die. As she sighs in anguish about she can't kill him, Quinn moans in angst about how he may have to kill her in order to get the Eye because he'd rather die than to live as a vampire. Don't ask me why Quinn doesn't just sit on a stake if he hates being a vampire. I suspect that deep inside he's just a crybaby pansy desperate for attention. He has issues with his parents, after all.

I've already mentioned my issues with Quinn. My goodness, and he keeps up his "Leave me alone! I wanna die!" emo drama for so long in this story, ugh. Janie, on the other hand, isn't an emo crock. She exhibits some sass and wit, but she's hopelessly incompetent. Throughout the story, she behaves more like an infatuated dingbat who has problems remembering the names of the days in a week rather than some kind of assassin who can kill in cold blood. I mean, she actually gets disarmed and knocked out by a vampire because she thinks that he's an old man and therefore he's harmless! Were I not told in this story that Janie had killed a werewolf before (a lucky shot, I guess), I'd think that her job with the Corporation involves something intellectually undemanding, such as opening the main door for visitors. There is a huge disconnect between what Ms Rowen tries to pass Janie off as and what Janie ends up being that I can only suspect that we have never heard of the Corporation today because they were completely wiped out a while back, outsmarted and mercilessly pulverized by the Teletubbies.

I love the author's backlist but Lady & The Vamp is just too much for me. Pair an irritating emo crybaby with an incompetent bimbo and you have me screaming in terror as I run for the hills. Please, Ms Rowen, be a dear and don't pull this kind of creepy stunt on me again.

Rating: 49

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