Reviewed by Steven H Silver
Bite Me is the third volume in Christopher Moore's vampire series, which began with Bloodsucking Fiends (1995) and continued in You Suck (2007). In this volume, Moore brings his story of vampiric lust in San Francisco to a satisfying conclusion, incorporating many of the characters who featured in the earlier novels, but centering mostly on Abby Normal, the teenage Goth who is enraptured by the idea of serving her dread Lord Flood, as she called Tommy Flood.
At the end of the previous volume, Abby and her friends, Jared and Steven, had imprisoned Jody and Tommy in bronze, following the solution earlier supplied to the vampire who had originally turned Jody. Unfortunately, they hadn't expected the monstrous cat, Chet, to have also turned into a vampire and suddenly find themselves having to defend themselves, and San Francisco's indigent population, from attacks by Chet and his vampiric offspring.
Just as Moore increased the vampire population of San Francisco in You Suck, his addition of the vampiric feline horde in Bite Me is a focal point of the novel. However, his ever expanding cast of characters don’t allow him to adequately incorporate his signature humor. The anarchic mayhem of the Animals is mostly missing and Tommy and Jody, who formed the core of the second novel, spend much of Bite Me either off stage or separate. Abby, Moore’s narrator for Bite Me, simply isn’t a strong enough character to carry the novel.
The plot isn’t as tight as in the earlier novels either. Moore includes Abby’s desire to become a vampire, a key part of her established character, but also focuses on the cats, Abby’s boyfriend Steve’s desire to understand the biological mechanism behind the vampirism, the San Francsico police trying to find out what is happening, an elderly Japanese man, and Jody’s vampiric siblings bent on vengeance together in what comes out as a hodge podge rather than a story. Details of the plot are fleeting and unimportant.
However, ideas that Moore incorporates, which first affect the cats, allow him to provide closure for the story that started with Jody in Bloodsucking Fiends. Tommy discovers that his own vampirism is different than Jody’s, who created him, and Moore’s characters must figure out how to deal with that difference. It is this information, offered too late in the novel, that first provides the reader with a feeling that something could actually happen to the characters who Moore has so skillfully created, and whom the reader has come to sympathize with over the earlier novels.While Bite Me may not measure up to Moore’s other novels, it still provides an entertaining look at vampires at a time when their popularity is at an all time high. Although the earlier novels did not lend themselves to allow Moore to parody the rise of the urban vampire novel, per se, his setting does allow him to puncture some holes in the genre in a way which allows the reader to see the underlying absurdity of the genre, made even more palpable by Abby’s Goth obsession with Tommy.
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