This review was originally published on The Rainbow Hub on March 30th, 2015. I have been given permission to reprint the review here. Enjoy!
A vampire walks into a bar and orders and Bloody Mary. Such is the premise of Good Enough to Eat, a novel by Jae and Allison Grey. Robin, writer and vampire, or girah as they are referred to in this book, starts her journey into Alcoholics Anonymous. Only she isn’t there for an alcohol addiction, but a blood addiction. Yes, Robin is trying to curb and handle her desire to drink human blood, relying primarily on synthetics. It’s at AA that she meets Alana, high powered divorce lawyer, 20 months sober, and hiding a supernatural secret. When Alana becomes Robin’s sponsor, the two develop a close friendship, and ultimately, develop an intense desire for each other. With their supernatural secrets on the line, the two must determine what really is most important to them.
I will start off by saying that this book is very character driven. Two people, existing in Alcoholics Anonymous, trying really hard to figure out how to be human and handle their lives while coping with their respective addictions. The characters are likable, but not necessarily compelling. The entire first half of this book is dedicated to their characters more than an actual plot. This unfortunately makes the first half of the book a chore to get through though.
The struggle for Robin and her family, which is one of the main threads of the novel, comes from Robin’s decision not to consume human blood. The struggle she faces in trying to get her family and clan to accept her rings all too familiar in the ears of a queer person. It was nice to read a story about familial acceptance and belonging that wasn’t hinged on the characters queerness. It allowed for allegory without bashing the reader over the head with the theme.
What is enjoyable about this book is the interaction between two supernatural creatures. There are many, many books about vampires falling in love with humans and resisting the desire for their blood. This, however, is entirely different. The two competing mythos culminate into a hilarious and enjoyably entertaining second half of the book, which makes it worth a read.
If I had one criticism, it’s that Alana’s supernatural abilities are very rooted in Middle Eastern mythos, which isn’t really explored at all. We as readers know a lot of the backstory of Robin, her clan, her life, but Alana is sort of a mystery throughout most of the book, leaving her world building to the back burner. It also bothered me that Alana is coded as white through the story, despite the Middle Eastern origins of her abilities. Rooting the culture in with the mythos would have launched Alana into somewhat of a better character arc and given her more development.
Overall, Good Enough to Eat is compelling and engaging enough. It certainly does take it’s time getting to the plot though. If you have a free afternoon and have a thing for lesbian vampires, I’d give this one a shot. If you have or continue to struggle with addiction though, this may not be the book for you. A lot of the drive in this story has to do with the characters struggles with addiction, and it may not be the safest read for someone in recovery.