Rating 4.5 stars (out of five)
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Summary: A sequel to the novel You Suck A Love Story, about Jody and Tommy, a vampire couple who try to survive in San Francisco. In Bite Me, Jody and Tommy are minor characters, who support the main characters, Abby Normal and Foo, a scientist who is working on an antidote to vampyrism. While Abby and Foo work to rid the city of a vampyr cat problem, other efforts to rid the city of the vampyr problem run in parallel, but not necessarily in harmony, to theirs.
Brilliant. Fast paced, tongue in cheek humour. Complex, rich in characters and plot.
Much of the story is written from the point of view of Abby Normal, a teenage girl. Moore has completely nailed her dialect, including the constant use of ‘Kayso’, a staple word in her vocabulary. He also cleverly replaces ‘he said/she said’ with ‘he’s all/she’s all’ . It took me a moment to adapt to this, but only a moment, and thereafter set the tone for the story.
Moore brings back a number of memorable characters from the first book. For example, there is the Emperor, a homeless man who possesses the wisdom of a king. It strikes me that several of my favourite writers have a sage, street-living character who appears in several books in a series. I suppose this is much like the Gandalf or Radagast characters in the Hobbit. Other returning characters in Bite Me include the Animals, a group of young men who work the night shift stocking shelves at a grocery story. These characters are easy to love because each in their own unique way has a twisted view of reality, and how to deal with it. But since their goals make sense, they are credible as characters.
The return of interesting secondary characters in subsequent stories is also something many of my favourite writers do. It builds community between the reader and the world of the novels.
I find it strange that Christopher Moore’s books are shelved in the general fiction section of the bookstore. As in most of his books, he blends his genres with ease. In Bite Me, I like the combination of traditional vampyr concepts with the scientist who is studying how to reverse it.
The story to Bite Me is artfully delivered. Each of the first few chapters adds more urgency to the problem the characters face, making it seem insurmountable.
There are plenty of clever ideas here (e.g. traits of various vampyr animals) and great writing. Moore comes up with several metaphors that are so good I stop reading and savour them for a while. For example, ‘like angry chipmunks humping a kazoo inside a sealed mayonnaise jar’. I know, right. Some people might not be able to relate to this as a good metaphor or think that taking the reader out of the narrative is a good thing. But I do. There are memorable, laugh hysterically scenes in Bite Me, too.
Every word, every sentence, every scene and every chapter of this story shows masterful art, craft, characterization, plotting and imagination. I wish the story was longer.