Abigail Gibbs’s young adult novel Dinner With a Vampire, the first installment in The Dark Heroine series, is another addition to the popular vampire genre. Full of romance and beautiful prose, Gibbs offers the reader a more creative, better detailed, and slightly less naive version of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight. It is inevitable that the two are compared, since they both touch on the romanticization of vampires.
I admit that this is a guilty pleasure book, especially because of how it treats its female counterparts. I did my best to read straight through the disempowerment of female characters and the cliches that sprinkled the pages. For the most part, I allowed myself to be swallowed by the gothic romance and sexy male protagonist.
The unappealing aspect of Gibbs’s novel is how female characters are portrayed. This vampiric world introduces hierarchies full of men, as well as passing comments of female vampires hoping to one day have an equal say. The female protagonist, Violet, for a good portion of the story, is treated like an object, rather than a person, which unfortunately mimics the disempowerment of females in young adult novels.
What the reader will like about this story, however, is Gibbs's awareness of how weak Violet is in the novel. She points out flaws by having other characters comment on them, which is superb. This realization and commentary gives the novel comedic relief, whether intended or not, because Gibbs is showing her readers that her story takes place in a world aware of Violet’s frivolities.
Considering Gibbs is 18, most likely younger when she first wrote Dinner With a Vampire, this novel is a very impressive piece. The prose is nearly effortless, the diction well beyond expectation, and the pacing is quick, but not distractingly so. The story reads like a Jane Austen novel full of vampires and risque moments.
Gibbs also has a way of building anticipation for the reader. Certain scenes are very well crafted, luring the reader into the moment, rather than just telling him/her what happens next. In a way, Gibbs is seducing the reader with her prose, much like Kaspar, the male protagonist, is seducing Violet.
Dinner With a Vampire is a must-read for fans of vampires in young adult novels. Though sexy enough to be inappropriate for readers younger than fourteen, it is a quick and tasty treat for readers craving a romantic paranormal novel.