Jane Jameson lives a pretty low-key life in her hometown, Half Moon Hollow. She loves her job as the juvenile librarian at the local library, so when she’s let go due to budget constraints, Jane has one too many drinks at the local bar. Although a mysterious stranger helps her sober up, on the way home, Jane is mistaken for a deer and shot dead by another local. Luckily, Gabriel, the stranger, was following Jane to make sure she made it home, and he offers her the choice of eternal life as a vampire. Rather than die, Jane accepts his offer and begins her life as one of the undead.
Having already read and/or listened to the Molly Harper’s spin-off Half Moon Hollow series, I’ve already met Jane, Gabriel, her BFF Zeb, and most of the other characters who appear in Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs. So it was a bit odd at first, listening to Jane talk about becoming a vampire and having so many awful things happen to her. And she does run into a lot of bad luck within the first few months of being changed over to a vampire. Someone is out to get Jane, but who? and why? It took listening for a few hours to feel comfortable with Jane’s persona and how she tells her tale, and I think that’s partly because I’ve read/listened to books that chronologically come later in the world, but it’s also Ms. Harper’s narrative style. It’s as if Jane as ADD and jumps from one subject to another while telling her story. At first I didn’t like when Jane would suddenly jump into a recollection or, worse, telling us something that was yet to come, but by the midway point, this jumpy story-telling didn’t happen as often and/or didn’t seem to bother me at all.
Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs is the story of Jane’s life after being changed into one of the undead. There is romance involving her sire, Gabriel, but it’s not the primary storyline. Gabriel finds himself fascinated by Jane and doesn’t always understand her crazy ways, but he’s completely head-over-heels for her. Unfortunately, he just doesn't know how to let Jane know this in a way she understands. Their romance is slow building, and I’m certain we’ll see more of it in the books to come. Gabriel and Jane, in this book, aren't the same characters of the later books, so I look forward to seeing each develop and their relationship grow.
This is also the story of Jane adjusting to her new life: how to come out to her friends and family, how to get around at night, how to find a job and become self-reliant again. The romance is part, as is the mystery of who is after Jane (which is pretty obvious to the listener, although it takes the rest of the community quite a while to figure it all out.) But it’s the day-to-day mishaps and learning experiences that make Jane enduring to me. I did get frustrated at the Vampire Council, which wanted to make an example of Jane of what not to do as a new vampire, regardless of her innocence. I don’t like “unfair justice," and luckily, things are resolved before the end of the book; however I have a feeling that Jane’s troubles won’t end in the near future.
This is the third book I’ve listened to that was narrated by Amanda Ronconi, and she’s got enough southern charm in her performance to rock all the characters’ voices. I especially love her main voice - that of Jane - which is comforting and friendly, making Jane feel like a long lost best buddy. The only thing that bothered me occurred during the bantering dialogue scenes when Ms. Ronconi would have to fit in the “she said” and “he said’s” over and over. I feel like the story would have flowed more smoothly without those prompts, but she can only read what is written.
Regardless of the slow start, I was completely engrossed in Jane’s story after the midpoint, and look forward to listening to more from Half Moon Hollow.