After so many “serious” pnr / uf books sometimes it’s nice to take a walk on the lighter side of the genre. So many vampire books now seem like copies of each other, and it takes something special to stand out amongst the crowd. The Jane Jameson books do this with their humour, intelligence and take on what it would be like to be turned vampire in a small(ish) town in Kentucky.
Humour, librarian heroine, creative ways to test if you are undead, interesting world building, family.
Quote that best sums up the lead (female) character:
“I am your sire. I am to guide you through your first days as a vampire. Your first feeding is a rite of passage, a sacrament. It will not be wasted on some hormone-driven frenzy. This is why I wanted you to feed from me.”
“I will not drink it in a house, I will not drink it with a mouse. I will not drink it
here or there, I will not drink it anywhere,” I wheezed, hoping I was able to communicate adequate sarcasm through the crippling belly cramps.
“Did you just quote Green Eggs and Ham?”
Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs is the tale of a librarian who is turned vampire after she is shot by a drunk hunter who thought she was a deer. And I don’t mean “hunter” as in the usual dark heroic hunter of evil that normally occurs in vampire books, I mean hunter as in… well I’m picturing a drunk Elmer Fudd. The first book of this series deals with Jane’s being turned and how she adapts to her new lifestyle including how to tell her parents.
This author has a talent for writing everyday people in extraordinary worlds. Jane is such a refreshingly normal character. I don’t mean normal as in a hyped up version of normal, I mean normal as in I could easily see knowing this person. Hell, who am I kidding, some of Jane’s personality traits I have to admit to having myself. She is snarky, funny, smart and refreshingly normal. She deals with her new condition in ways that most of us could relate to, although I don’t know if I would keep trying to kill myself because it’s cool that I don’t die, even if my best friend was there egging me on to test my new “powers”.
Her vampire sire is Gabriel, who fulfils the tall dark and handsome quota for the book. Oh, and mysterious… and he remains mysterious even when the book finishes. This is urban fantasy, so there’s not a HEA at the end of the book, instead the romance shifts along at a steady pace. The hero is not slick and sophisticated, and is at times utterly bewildered as to how to deal with Jane.
The secondary characters in this book are rich and full of depth and humour. The family situation has enough tension in it to give a sense of realism without seeming overdone and the friends are interesting without being sterotypical sidekicks. Part of the charm of the book is seeing how those around her deal with her change. And I have to admit to loving the concept of support groups for the friends and family of the newly turned.
Molly Harper’s version of what a world would look life if vampires were discovered to be real is one of the most realistic I’ve ever seen. She deals with so many of the issues that would actually occur that you can tell the amount of effort she has put into her world building including issues such as jobs, taxes and dealing with government paperwork. It’s one of the most light hearted, funniest books I’ve read in a long time, but because of the thought put into the world building it’s filled with charm and warmth and no-one comes across as fake or shallow (except those who are meant to be of course).
Amanda Ronconi’s narration brings the Jane Jameson world to life. It would have been so easy to make Jane sound like a flake or like a snarky b***h, but instead the narration adds to the warmth and the humour in the story.