on January 22, 2010
In my rave review of Moore's last novel, Fool, I implied that his novels inspired by Shakespeare and the Bible are more substantive than his fluffier San Francisco/Pine Cove novels. This latest novel, Bite Me, has me rethinking that statement. Funny, it is. Fluffy, it is not. Bite Me is the third (and final?) novel in the Bloodsucking Fiends series. The first novel in a great series is always special because it's our introduction to a new world. That said, this latest installment just might be the best. What I can tell you is this: I found it to be darker, scarier, more suspenseful, and at least as funny as the previous novels. And in addition to all of the above, it's genuinely moving. These characters have been my friends for more than a decade now. I've grown to care about them.
The novel opens pretty much in the immediate wake of You Suck. The opening chapter is the first of many that are narrated by the unforgettable Abby Normal, self-proclaimed "emergency back-up mistress of the greater Bay Area night." Abby begins by providing a dizzying (and helpful) recap of the first two novels, but I'd strongly suggest you read Bloodsucking Fiends: A Love Story and You Suck: A Love Story before tackling this one. She and Foo Dog still inhabit the "love lair." Jody and Tommy are still encased in bronze. Chet, the huge shaved vampire cat is on the prowl. And all of our favorite San Franciscans are back: the Emperor, Bummer, and Lazarus; the Animals; cops Rivera and Cavuto; the folks from Asher's Secondhand Store; and others. And Moore fans, a beloved past character who's never shown up in San Francisco before makes an unexpected appearance in a supporting role. Be careful what you read about this novel. It would be a shame to ruin the surprise!
I don't want to summarize the plot. It's too crazy, it lurches in all sorts of unexpected directions, and why should I ruin your fun? What I can tell you is that I was completely surprised by the novel's ending. Earlier I said this novel is darker, scarier, and more suspenseful. (At this point I should admit that I'm a total wuss who's afraid of horror movies and rollercoasters.) Still, characters are placed in real jeopardy. Not all will survive. And I was definitely on the edge of my seat for large stretches of the novel. That Moore can maintain this level of tension while being spit-milk-out-your-nose funny is astonishing. I didn't actually spit any milk out of my nose. I read this novel while laid up with the flu. Every time I laughed out loud it started a coughing jag. I nearly coughed up a lung, but I just couldn't put it down! If that's not a recommendation, what is?
Despite aphorisms about old dogs and new tricks, I have to say it: I think Chris Moore is getting better. I've been a hardcore fan for years, and that is saying quite a bit.
on January 30, 2010
Who, but Christopher Moore, can give you a book with both tender moments, and fart jokes? Nobody I can think of, and that's one of the things that makes him so brilliant.
In Bite Me, we return to the streets of San Francisco, (as much a character in the book as the humans ... and the various assorted other creatures), picking up where You Suck: A Love Story left off. Much of the book is told from the perspective of Abby Normal, and OMFG I LOVE HER!
I found this book to be slightly more sophisticated than the previous two. A novel you can really (ready?) sink your teeth into. And I'm not just saying that because the pun works. With all the vampire fiction out there these days, vampire lore can get really tired. There were some unique aspects in this book which really put a fresh spin on things, and frankly some fun kind of sciencey stuff that gave it some of that aforementioned substance.
Never to be taken for granted, and always worthy of mention is Moore's humor. The book started funny, it stayed funny, it ended funny. So many "comic" novels have laugh out loud starts, which sort of dwindle away as the story progresses. Not so with Bite Me. Many, many, laugh out loud moments.
Do you have to have read Bloodsucking Fiends: A Love Story and You Suck to read this one? Probably not, there's enough background information given, but why wouldn't you?
on April 1, 2010
Tell me, what other book can you find the Emperor of San Francisco being saved by a samurai who slays vampire cats? That alone should make this book worthy of a purchase, but it amazingly gets better.
"Bite Me" is the third in Christopher Moore's "Vampire Love Story" trilogy and it's probably my favorite now. "Bloodsucking Fiends" (The first book in the series) previously held the title of my favorite book by Moore. It was the first one I read and the book that made me seek out his other novels and pick up every new one as it was released. The sequel titled "You Suck" was a bit of a disappointment, not bad by any means, but nowhere near the level of comedic delight I got from the first book. This one on the other hand, this one is perfect.
Without a doubt the funniest in the trilogy and probably my new favorite book by Moore. All the old characters are back, Tommy, Jody, the Emperor, the Animals, Abby, Rivera and Cavuto. They all have their own personal crowning moment of comedy too.
Though the real star of this book, in my eyes at least, is the newcomer to the series, Katusumi Okata the Samurai of Jackson Street. A man of few words (he literally only knows only twelve words in English) he is probably the best character Moore has ever written. Okata comes off mostly comical at first, but as the novel progresses, he becomes sympathetic, likeable and frankly the most human character in all of Moore's novels. His emotions are expressed subtly at times, but his backstory (and the scene where he gets out the kimono) are genuinely touching. With only twelve words, he manages to say more than most characters do in long conversations and his actions speak even louder.
The plot of the novel takes place shortly after the last book. Tommy and Jody are still stuck inside a bronze statue and while Jody is able to deal with this situation by turning into mist, Tommy is not so fortunate. Meanwhile, vampire cats are prowling the streets, feeding off of the homeless, birds and unwitting meter maids. Behind this invasion of bloodsucking felines is Chet the Shaved Cat. He made an appearance in the previous book, but he's smarter now, almost at human brain level. With all this going on, and the return of a few older vampires as well, the night has never been more dangerous...
Narrating our tale once again is Abby Normal, a (don't call her perky) goth girl who may exaggerate the truth slightly, but no doubt tells the tale how she remembers it. Like the second book, her commentary on events makes for some of the funniest sequences, though I can easily understand how it might annoy some people. (She has a tendency to throw out "OMGs" and "WTFs")
While the book has its faults (in a book with so many jokes, some are bound to fail) it makes up for it with Moore's sheer enthusiastic glee in his writing. He's able to take scenes that could be terrifying in another novel, such as creatures coming out of the fog with red eyes , only to cheerfully subvert this with them meowing at the door. Each actual "horror" sequence becomes so ridiculous that one can't help but laugh.
And who can complain about that?
But I didn't dig this installment as much as the first two! "Bloodsucking Fiends" was great! It had just the right amount of snarky sarcasm. It wasn't over the top, but it pushed the limits and almost went there. "You Suck" introduced us to Tommy and Jody's minion-Abby Normal. A little goth girl with a hankering to be 'nosferatu' (as she puts it). And finally, we get "Bite Me" and I have to say, I am a bit disappointed.
This book is told from Abby's point of view, and along the way she discover that Abby isn't quite as Goth as she wants us all to think. She is a confused, silly little girl. That isn't to say Moore doesn't slay with a few one liners, and he introduced us to a lonely old man-Okata-that I want to know more about. (Truth be told, he was the most interesting character in the book to me) Jody and Tommy didn't do a whole lot here, but then neither did Abby.
Chet, the giant, shaved vampire cat had a bigger role, but we didn't get to the crux of the story until about 80% of the way into the book, which means for me the ending was a little rushed, and a little too predictable.
It was funny, I will say that, but it didn't have that edge that the earlier two did, not for me anyways.
I really like Christopher Moore's vampire trilogy series, but I think "Bite Me" is definitely the weakest of the three novels. The main character and narrator, teenager Abby Normal, is funny for the first few chapters, but she is so unbelievably annoying that she sucks all the fun out of the entire book. (If I ever hear the word "'Kayso" again, I am going to scream.) I didn't think this book was at all as funny as "Bloodsucking Fiends" or "You Suck," and I also thought the plot was kind of all over the place. (Although I did like the concept of vampire cats...until bad things started happening to them. Poor kitties!) A lot of people seem surprised by the ending, but I pretty much saw it coming since Jody and Tommy first hooked up in the first book, so no frustration on my part with that. I do think that it's time Moore abandon his vampire series once and for all and move onto bigger and better things.
Look, I love Christopher Moore's work. I have nearly every book he has written as autographed first printings. I generally find him witty, insightful and hilarious.I love his use of continuity and my two favourite books by him are easily Practical Demonkeeping and A Dirty Job: A Novel. I've always found his vampire books to be his weakest writing with You Suck: A Love Story being his worst. Until now. Bite Me lacked a lot of Moore's usual comedy genius and in truth, it was a book that really didn't need to be written considering how You Suck ended. Still, it's here and after reading the third (and hopefully final) book in the "Bloodsucking Fiends" trilogy, I really hope it's the last. There were snippets of Moore's brillance but the truth is the book feel slike it was written for the sake of be written than any real passion or care being put into it.
The thing that annoyed me most is we had 300+ pages of a book that ends in nearly the same way the second book ended - with C. Thomas Flood (who has lost his author-esque fake C) and Jody realizing that they want different things in life...er, death...er, undeath. Whatever. This whole book felt padded, drawn out and in search of a real plot only to come back to what the same plot resolution as You Suck. Sure there are a few differences, like some characters dead and some romantic entanglements ending while others begin, but for the most part the book was pretty unnecessary and there really was little to no character to developement at all. It was just dredging up old characters and letting them have crazy hijinx for no real reason.
Second, the writing was by far Moore's worst. Usually I laugh nonstop at his books and also marvel at how well written the plot and characters are. Not here. As I mentioned in the previous paragraph, there is no character development. There are only brief glimmers of comedy gold, but for the most part, and I hate to admit it, I was bored throughout the entire novel. I was waiting for something interesting or amusing to happen and it never did.
Third, there was just a lot of stupid stuff going on. Abby Normal somehow graduated from unlikeable in You Suck to the most annoying character I've had to read in a long time. Any chapter she narrated was like fingernails on a chalkboard to me. Then there was the plot of vampire cats with the lead cat, who was perfectly normal in his last vampire outing, starts turning into a half-man, half-cat vampire and another character later becomes part rat. If it was supposed to be funny or even interesting, it failed miserably. It's also an example of a rare lapse in Moore's usual continuity. The main vampire cat was shaved bald before becoming a vampire, yet when it was turned into a member of the undead, it stayed bald. Yet if a human is turned into a vampire, they lose any hair dye, tatoos, breast implants or anything else that isn't natural, and their hair goes back to normal. Yet this didn't happen for the cat, even as it becomes part human. This was a minor annoyance, but it's a great example of how poorly this book was written and put together compared to everything else Moore writes.
There is no way I can recommend this book to anyone who hasn't read the first two books in the series first and even then I would advise them it's Moore worst novel yet so perhaps they should try something else like The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror or Fluke: Or, I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings (Today Show Book Club #25) before picking this up.
Now I've bashed this book pretty hard and by Moore standards, this is indeed his worst book yet, but it's still a decent "thumbs in the middle" read compared to a lot of other fiction I've slogged through. Characters are consistent with their previous renditions and I'm always happy to see Rivera, who even as a mid-carder, shows up in more of Moore's books than anyone else. I also liked the nods to A Dirty Job and other bits by Moore, showing how contained this universe is. It's not an awful book, just one that pales when compared to the other books Moore has written. It's forgettable and at times dull, but it does have its moments.
on April 6, 2010
I am a fan of Christopher Moore. I discovered him last year after reading "A Dirty Job", and have been working my way through his catalog. Having read both "Bloodsucking Fiends" and "You Suck", I was eager to read "Bite Me" - his return to the world of vampires in San Francisco.
If you have read any of my other reviews, you know that I am NOT on board with the current vampire craze. As I have said before, I am eagerly awaiting the day that zombies reclaim the pop culture spotlight from vampires. (As a complete aside - after reading "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, I would like to see someone mash zombies into the Twilight saga. Zombies feeding on the brains of Bella, Edward, and Jacob MIGHT be enough to get me to read one of those books...but I digress). All that being said, I do not have a complete embargo against vampires, so I felt free to enjoy "Bite Me".
If you are new to Christopher Moore, this is most definitely not the book that you want to start with. Over the years, Moore has built up quite an interconnected world within his writings. You will see echoes of, characters from, or references to most of his earlier works in "Bite Me". You can still enjoy the book without reading most of them, but make sure that you have read "Bloodsucking Fiends" and "You Suck" before tackling "Bite Me". If you are a Moore fan, I won't go in to too much detail on the plot for "Bite Me". Suffice it to say that it picks up shortly after the end of "You Suck", and carries the story on from there. All of your favorite characters are back - Jody, Tommy, Abby Normal, the Animals, even Chet the vampire cat. Picking up the story is in many ways like putting on a pair of old jeans. It's familiar and comfortable.
Moore is a very gifted comedic writer. He has a quick wit and sarcasm that I can appreciate. His style is a fast paced, at times rapid fire, delivery of observations, cracks, and barbs. This story is no different - there are laugh out loud moments. My only complaint is that, at times, he has taken the vulgarity to a place just one step over the line for me. I'm no prude, and Moore has pushed the boundaries in the past, but I found a few portions of the books (most often those narrated by Abby) to be prurient just for the sake of being prurient. Perhaps you can make the case that this is just the authentic voice of a teenage Goth-wannabe living in the San Francisco underground. Not being a teenage underground Goth-wannabe myself, the authenticity of voice was lost on me, and just made for a few un-enjoyable passages.
Overall, I liked - not loved - this book. It was a very quick read - almost too quick. Moore did not add much to the overall story he had spun in the two previous volumes. You could say he added some closure to the story - but even that wasn't all that I had hoped it would be. In reality, you could probably take all three books - "Bloodsucking Fiends", "You Suck", and "Bite Me" - mash them together, and end up with two very good books. Still, I highly recommend this book to fans of Moore. It's nice to spend a few days with old friends like Tommy, Jody, Abby, and the Emperor of San Francisco. I just wish that I could have spent a few more days with them, grabbed some dinner, and maybe visited the Golden Gate Bridge while I was in town.
on September 30, 2011
This book continues the adventures of our new favorite characters. Sadly it just doesn't live up to the first two books, and regretfully doesn't really make sense or follow the rules that the author establishes. In the end it just really disappoints. In the end, it may have been best to just leave the lovebirds as they where when book 2 ended.
on February 9, 2015
I like Moore more with each of his books that I read. This is the third and probably last of the Love Story series. (I would NOT recommend reading this without having read the previous two.)
Most of the chapters in this story are told from the perspective of Abby Normal. How Moore learned to write from the perspective of a spoiled suburban adolescent wannabe-goth girl is beyond me but he carries it off perfectly. She is funny, endearing and utterly alien all at the same time.
Jody and Tommy take on more mature roles (though it would be hard not to see them that way given the comparison) and finally seem to have grown. The story ends really nicely. It's not the 'happily ever after' that I expected - and in a lot of ways, that makes it better.
He's back! Christopher Moore returns to the city by the bay with his latest chapter of love, absurdity and vampirism in his uniquely original take on the underbelly of San Francisco. Moore's demented vision of the city he loves is a common denominator in many of his novels and several of its wacky environs wander into and out of unrelated books. But "Bite Me" reassembles all the players of his previous success stories "Bloodsucking Fiends" and "You Suck" and continues all the drama (OK, not so much), the romance (sort of) and the farce (definitely) that only Moore can deliver.
If you've read the prior books in the trilogy--you pretty much know what to expect from this lightweight comedic romp. If you haven't, however, this is NOT the place to start! Go back and sample "Bloodsucking Fiends" and proceed from there. "Fiends" set the standard for modern slacker vampire love stories and fans of that book and its sequel will surely be eager to devour (nifty pun, huh?) "Bite Me." Countess Jody, Dark Lord Tommy Flood, Goth minion Abby Normal, and all the other eccentric characters are back to do battle with a new calamity threatening San Fran. Chet, an enormous shaved vampire cat, is creating an army of hungry vampire kitties that are stalking the most vulnerable of the city's inhabitants. They've got to be stopped to keep the supernatural underworld from going public. I was going to say "in the dark" but let's not overuse those delightful puns. Adding to the problem, some previous foes also show up to keep things quiet in a most foul-intentioned way. Will our love starved heroes prevail? Will they even survive?
"Bite Me" is action packed and filled with laughs. It is ridiculous and delightful--the conception of Chet alone is worth the price of admission. "Bite Me" will breeze by as a quick and amusing read. And that's great! If you love these characters, check it out. But as I referenced earlier, this is not a starting point to new initiates of the Moore oeuvre. To enjoy all of its charms, you should start from the beginning. More comedic style than actual substance, however, "Bite Me" falls a little short of recent Christopher Moore titles. Coming off the highly ambitious "Fool" (one of my favorites of last year) and the strangely heartfelt "A Dirty Job," which shares some of the "Bite Me" characters, this is more of a throw-back to an earlier, simpler times. But that's OK--I live in a world where any Moore is good Moore!