Review: Bite Me (Demon Underground series #1) by Parker Blue
Val Shapiro is a kickass, part-demon vampire slayer. When her parents kick her out, she decides to join the Special Crimes Unit, where she discovers the existence of an underground vampire movement. Will Val be able to find whoever’s behind the recent killings before more humans are killed?
Title: Bite Me
Series: Demon Underground Book 1
Author: Parker Blue
Prominent characters: Val, Fang, Dan
Recommended Reader Age: 14+
Sexual Content Level: light, some kissing.
Genre: Young adult, urban fantasy
*** This review contains some early plot spoilers! ***
Val Shapiro’s eighteenth birthday hardly goes as planned. First, her half-sister sneaks out at night and follows her on a hunt, and then Val’s mom and step-dad blame Val for the whole thing. They believe Val is a bad influence, and that her inner demon is too dangerous and unpredictable. Their solution to keeping Val away from her sister is to kick Val out of their house and fire her from the family bookstore. Crushed and heartbroken, and feeling extremely unappreciated, Val is forced to move out and find a place and a job of her own. I really felt for Val here, as I can’t imagine being treated so terribly by one’s own family. I like that she didn’t just obediently comply, even though she still had to leave; she got angry and stood up for herself. If I were in her place, I would have been furious and hurt, too.
Val decides to join the Special Crimes Unit, where she’ll be able to put her exceptional vampire hunting skills to good use. Being part-demon gives Val enhanced powers and senses; she’s fast, heals quickly, and is immune to vamp mind control- and all of these things come in handy in a fight. She’s partnered with Dan, a twenty-something guy who’s recently lost his last partner to a vamp attack. I feel like his character fell a little flat. I don’t think he was a good love interest, though he had potential. He had his moments, but he spends a lot of the book being judgmental towards Val and other vampires. Then again, I can’t blame him too much for that due to how he lost his last partner. Honestly, I just didn’t feel the chemistry between him and Val, even though I really wanted to.
I liked Val as a character, though. Her snarky and sarcastic sense of humor, plus her tough yet vulnerable attitude, made her interesting and entertaining. She wasn’t boring by any means, unlike Dan. I also sympathized with her struggle to fit in and her desperate wish to be accepted for who she is. Trying to control her inner succubus is something she has to deal with constantly, and since her biological father is dead, she’s had no one to teach her how to master her powers. And her hellhound sidekick, Fang, was fun, too. I loved his relationship with Val.
The mystery of who was behind the killings was a bit predictable, in my opinion, but it was fun to read about Val putting the pieces together and growing as a person. There was also action throughout the novel, which I liked. Val is badass, and isn’t afraid to take on a challenge. I also think it was great that she didn’t abandon her family when they needed her, even though they treated her so poorly. I think that says a lot about what kind of girl she is. Although the pacing was somewhat slow at times and some of the secondary characters were a little two-dimensional for my
taste, I still recommend Bite Me for those who love a kickass female heroine and a light read.
Val’s got some great comebacks…
“What are you?” he demanded. “A slayer?”
I rolled my eyes. “The name’s Val, not Buffy. Do I look like a blond cheerleader with questionable taste in men?”
What is it with guys showing affection by being insulting?
Sullivan just smiled. “This is Detective Horowitz, and the other scuzzy is Fenton.” He nodded toward a lean Hispanic man who was a little older, a little grayer, and seemed to carry the weight of the world—or at least San Antonio—on his shoulders. “And this is our fearless leader, Lt. Ramirez.”
“Scuzzy?” I repeated.
Was this one of those weird male bonding things where they called each other rude names and beat each other up?
If you liked Bite Me…
Strange Angels by Lili St.Crow, the first book in the Strange Angels series. The main character, Dru, is just as badass as Val. Both hunt supernatural creatures and there’s plenty of action in the series. The amount of violence is pretty much the same, as well.
Bite Me was an enjoyable book, but probably not something I’d read again. If Parker Blue had given Dan more depth, as well as some of the other characters, I think it would have made a huge difference in the book’s quality. Engaging characters are what make a novel so compelling to me, and I want to be able to care about them and have an interest in them. Aside from Val, I didn’t particularly care about anyone else in this book. But, like I said, Val was the best part of Bite Me, which helped improve my overall opinion of the novel.
Rating: Bite Me
Buy Bite Me: Amazon
http://www.parkerblue.net/ (Parker Blue’s website)