Setting speed records did seem to be a hallmark of most of the readership for the book. Me, for example. 558 page book and I not only finished in time for the meeting, I finished early. When I last saw Jim at work that week before, he hadn't even bought the book yet. He got it Saturday and finished it over the weekend. Even some of the people who didn't like it admitted that it did have a way of pulling you through the pages.
Both the biggest thumbs up and thumbs down about the book was that it was a popcorn read. All story and nothing to think about. Our Elliott Bay leader found that to be a relief and relaxation. Two mainstream readers, who were there because that meeting was the only one that fit in their schedule, said that they felt they were wasting their time and they couldn't finish. Tori was madly conflicted. She was embarassed to be seen reading it, but she still couldn't put it down; and said that even if she didn't think it was that good of a book she won't be putting it out on the free table at work, and when the sequel comes out (yes, there will be) she probably will buy it and read it too. Not only does she know there is going to be a sequel she knows what it's called: Queen Vex. (Doesn't that just speak volumes of future turns of plot?)
Comparisons were made to Buffy and to the Stepanie Meyer vampire romances. The latter brought one of the mainstream ladies out of her shell to protest vociferously. Oh no, this book was NOTHING like the Twilight books, those were GOOD. I tried to get her to compare and contrast. She said that she thought Meyer's writing style was better, "I like her ideas." (???) She did admit that the basic appeal of the Twilight books was Meyer's spot-on ability to capture what pushes women's erotic buttons. And that, apparently, is what makes her a better writer.
Where the Buffy comparison works the strongest is the degree of characterization. The Lonely Werewolf characters aren't fleshed out in a way that a literature professor would acknowledge as being fully three dimensional, but they aren't completely flat either. Like characters in favorite comics they do have recognizable qualities that make people latch on to them and love them. The Fire Queen and her fashion traumas was mentioned and the cool, white, deadpan Dominil.
There really turned out to be a lot to talk about, which we kind of doubted going in. It was fun. Sorry you couldn't go. Here are my minutes. Hope this helps.