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4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but didn't hold up as well as "Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side", 2 Nov 2013
"Jessica Rules the Dark Side" picks up where Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side left off (sort of). In the interim between the two novels, author Beth Fantaskey posted online chapters detailing the preparations for Jessica's wedding to Lucius in Romania. Sadly, much of the romantic spark between Lucius and Jessica is absent in the sequel. Jessica is having difficulties adapting to her role as a vampire princess; she struggles with learning Romanian, can't communicate with the kitchen staff, and her parents are conveniently abroad in South America. A high-profile murder in the castle casts suspicion on Lucius, and Jessica is forced to take over in his absence. There are several narrators here in addition to Jessica and Lucius, so the POV switches rather frequently (sometimes jarringly).

The original novel was snappy, witty, and engaging. Sadly, this is absent here. Jessica is almost a secondary character; instead, it's Mindy's turn to shine. Mindy's summer fling with Raniero (Lucius's cousin) has her moping her way through most of the book. Raniero makes a poor stand-in for Lucius, although we learn that his history is just as violent, if not more so. His pacifist Buddhist surfer-boy facade is just that, and when he lets it slip, it proves to have terrifying consequences. Granted, Mindy and Raniero do have chemistry, and they provide some comic relief, but the emphasis should have been on Jessica (the title *is* "Jessica Rules the Dark Side," after all...). Instead, she engages in Bella-esque moping (see: New Moon (The Twilight Saga)) for much of the novel, feeling sorry for herself and her situation. She fears she's going crazy as she begins to have vivid hallucinations. By the time she finally gets her act together, it's pretty much the end of the book.

My biggest issue with "Jessica Rules the Dark Side" was that I'd figured out the mystery (if not the villain(s), almost immediately, so it was frustrating to see several characters struggling with adding up two and two. And the missing "chapters" in preparation for Jessica's wedding add some insight; it would have been nice if they had been included, or at least the major points, as you feel like you're being dropped into the middle if you haven't read the chapters online.
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Jessica Rules the Dark Side
Jessica Rules the Dark Side by Beth Fantaskey (Hardcover - 10 Jan 2012)
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