BOOK REVIEW: Team Human, by Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan

Posted 21 September, 2012 by Kristilyn in Bookish Things Event, Features, Romance, Supernatural, Vampires, Young Adult Fiction / 25 Comments

Team Human, by Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan

Date read: August 26 – 29, 2012
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy, Humour

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Just because Mel lives in New Whitby, a city founded by vampires, doesn’t mean she knows any of the blood-drinking undead personally. They stay in their part of town; she says in hers. Until the day a vampire shows up at her high school. Worse yet, her best friend, Cathy, seems to be falling in love with him. It’s up to Mel to save Cathy from a mistake she might regret for all eternity

On top of trying to help Cathy (whether she wants it or not), Mel is investigating a mysterious disappearance for another friend and discovering the attractions of a certain vampire wannabe. Combine all this with a cranky vampire cop, a number of unlikely romantic entanglements, and the occasional zombie, and soon Mel is hip-deep in an adventure that is equal parts hilarious and touching.

Acclaimed authors Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan team up to create a witty and poignant story of cool vampires, warm friendships, and the changes that test the bonds of love.

Why I Read This Book
I had been reading so many good things about this book, that it was an urban fantasy, but FUNNY! I wanted something that would make me laugh, but something that also included vampires in it. It was due time that I read this one.

My Thoughts
Unfortunately, while this book was indeed funny in parts, I just didn’t find myself wanting to rave about it once I finished. I think this was due to the main character, Mel.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

I actually really liked how this book started out. I loved how society was one where vampires were accepted. It was kind of funny how they could go out in the daytime, so long as they wore these crazy suits that blocked out the sun — and they could go into buildings with lots of windows because the windows blocked out the harmful rays of the sun. 

I even really liked the characters when I started reading. It was fun to read Mel being snarky, or Francis being the weirdly proper vampire, or even Cathy, mooning over Francis. But after a while, this all wore thin.

Mel got to be too snarky and I found myself unable to relate to her because of her shitty attitude. In a way the book made me think about all the people who are different in the world, but in reality we’re all the same. The world that Larbalestier and Brennan created is similar to ours, but it included vampires. I hated Mel’s attitude towards them because her outward hatred made her borderline racist. I know, I know — it’s a VAMPIRE! A blood-sucker! But still, it’s like anyone with differences who’s accepted in society – it just didn’t make sense to me that her attitude would be so welcome.

I was also kind of annoyed with the fact that Cathy let Mel stick by with her attitude towards Francis — if it were me, I would have ditched her until her attitude changed. In a same sense, Cathy acting all moony over Francis got to be tiring after a while. I wanted her to have a bit of a backbone, but it’s like she turned to jelly whenever he was around.

I also really didn’t understand the vampires. Part of me thought it was quite unique that once a person is turned into a vampire, they have no feelings whatsoever. They can’t laugh and they don’t tell jokes. Another part of me thought it was just unrealistic having the vampires act like this. Why would a vampire suddenly turn proper once they’re turned? That I couldn’t understand. Or, why would they suddenly not get jokes?

BUT, one thing I really liked about this society was the fact that a person had to go through a whole PROCESS to turn into a vampire. There was also major consequences if your body rejected the vampire venom. THAT was cool. I felt like the whole novel could have been less satirical and a bit darker with the way that this world was created. Instead, I felt like the authors were trying to just create something totally opposite of what’s already been written, for no other purpose than that. I wanted something deeper and more meaningful.

Another thing that I liked, though it was crazy weird, was how humans could live with vampires. Kit was a very unique character and I really liked him. I also liked how he introduced a second romance to the book. Dual romances is something I’m seeing in books lately and I can’t say whether it’s welcome or not — in a way, it makes things tie up just a little too nicely (you have your guy, I’ll have mine). There’s an element of drama that’s taken out of a novel when — dare I say it — a love triangle isn’t involved. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.

I hate to admit it — though you can probably already tell from my review — but I finished this novel with a bit of an annoyed look on my face. I really wanted to like this! I wanted to finish it and share it with my friends! Instead, this book went into my donation pile. If you’re looking for a read that’s a little more parody and a little less serious, then you might like this one — I’m definitely in the minority in disliking this book. When read with the right frame of mind, it could be a great, fun read!



© 2012, Reading In Winter. All rights reserved.


About Kristilyn

Kristilyn is a Canadian book blogger, music listener & creator, proud mama, and general lover of life. Her necessities include fuzzy socks, a library full of good books, a fully charged Kindle, copious amounts of tea, and chocolate. Swoon-worthy book boys are also welcome.

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25 Responses to “BOOK REVIEW: Team Human, by Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan”

  1. Booo I was super excited for this one, I’m always looking for paranormal books that have humor in them. But after reading your review I think I would want to punch Mel. She sounds terribly annoying. Great review!

  2. Ugh, just typed out a whole paragraph and it didn’t go through :(

    I think I might pass on this one for now, Mel sounds annoying and that’s not something I like, plus I have a lot of other books to go through right now

    Thanks for the review!

    • It came through! For some reason it’s been doing that. *kicks WordPress*

      Yes! Mel was kind of annoying. I would wait a bit before reading it. I had way too high expectations.

  3. This book doesn’t appeal to me, based purely on it’s cover! I don’t know what it is, I just don’t like it so I unless I hear so rave reviews on it, I wouldn’t even pick it up if I was browsing the bookstore shelves.

  4. hmm! i’ve heard mixed things about this book but i don’t think it’s for me. i would probably get annoyed with it too but i like that there’s a process to becoming a vampire too. yay for actually thinking about y’know, BECOMING AN ETERNAL CREATURE. great review!

  5. Ugh…vampires in high school. Aside from that, it does sound interesting that there is a mixing of the undead. But I don’t think I could make myself get into this. Vampires in high school plus snarkiness to an annoying extent sounds like a punishment.

  6. This one was a so/so for me, too, Kristilyn, and I agree that it was mostly because of Mel herself. I started to like her more near the end of the book, but she honestly was a supernatural racist. I didn’t like how cruel she was to Francis…it just got to be too much lots of the time. I really liked Kit though. He was just so adorable, and I loved his relationship with his “mom”…I just really enjoyed how complicated their relationship seemed like it should have been, but was really simple actually. She may have been a vampire, and shouldn’t have had feelings, but she still loved him. :)

    I was disappointed too, though. I had this one seriously built up in my head…I’d read raving reviews, too, but it just didn’t turn out how I thought it would. I’ve actually stopped being friends with people because they were a bit like Mel, so I can totally relate to you saying if you were Cathy you would’ve told her to stop or take off…I would’ve too. :P

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Kristilyn, and it’s too bad that this one just didn’t live up to your expectations.

    • I know! Mel was a total supernatural racist and I thought it was weird to have a book that pretty much wanted us to root for a main character like that. It definitely got to be too much.

      And I liked Kit, too — he was one of my favourite characters, who totally redeemed the book.

      I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who thought this was just okay!

      • She really was. I agree. I’m not sure why the authors chose to make her so unlikeable. :S Or maybe they felt snark wasn’t really racism…although, it totally is. By the positive response this book has mostly gotten, most people seem to find it funny rather than cruel. Guess we just don’t fit in with that. I’m hoping in the future books, since I’m pretty sure this is a series, she won’t be so bad.

        Agreed! :)

        Me, too!

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