Saturday, 28 July 2007

When Darkness Comes by Alexandra Ivy

This book is unspeakably awful. The clues are there from the very first page.

First clue. The copyright is owned not by Alexandra Ivy, but by Debbie Raleigh. Which probably means Debbie who lives in Raleigh NC. A whole different ballgame from Alexandra Ivy.

Second clue. On page 13 the heroine says she's an idiot 'when it comes to choosing men.' That means she's had a lot of relationships. That many of them have gone bad. And that she's chosen to blame herself entirely. In other words...a doormat tenement ho'. Well. If you make your partner choices based entirely on looks no wonder things can go a little wrong.

The heroine says she's 'passably average' in the looks department. Passably? Does that mean she is plug-ugly? But all the handsome vampire warriors think she's lovely. Are they blind or just stupid?

Both Dante and Viper talk about the heroine Abby's 'innocence and purity.' Ha, ha, haaa. On nearly every page she's using a phrase like 'Holy hell, holy crap, freaking this, freaking that.' She's a D.O.G. (with capitals) I know some romance readers get very excited when a no-class dog has a handsome guy fall for her. I'm not one of those readers. I tend to feel sorry for the guy. Saddled with a hag as a partner. Or in Dante's case; a nag hag. Because, boy, does Abby whine and like to have the last word. Which is usually a curse. So actually, Dante ends up with a potty-mouthed nag hag.

And who on earth still eats pancakes, eggs and bacon for breakfast?? Apart from our heroine Abby that is. She will be a 20-plus size before she is 30-years old.

Just why does Abby find it so hard to get proper work? Her cultural references seem to be TV soaps, Buffy, Dawn of the Dead and shopping in malls. So obviously she's not had an education. Why is she so convinced she'll end up as a bag-lady pushing a shopping cart around? Ok, her parents were not the greatest but it's not as though either they or her six siblings are still around to weigh down her life. At one point Abby says she's afraid of becoming 'a cheap hooker servicing drunks in a sleazy motel.' But that is exactly how she talks and behaves for the whole of the novel. This is not a heroine who has any good aspirations of what she is going to do with her life. I thought Buffy was a middle-class teenager not a no-class loser.

Later there is a petty squabble between the main couple about whether he thinks she is stupid. The poor guy has to spend time stroking her horrible, shallow ego. How is that of any relevance to the plot?

There is a mystery in this story. Why did Selena, the supposed all powerful previous Chalice, die? But this question is dragged out for the whole of the book. The hero, Dante, who's mission is to protect the Chalice, hasn't a clue. Or a clue about getting a clue. He confesses that he spent his time lusting after Abby instead of carrying out his job. Jerk.

This novel has everything in it. Witches, zombies, lightning-bolt shooting wizards, onion (?) demons, and vampires who are not afraid to sink their fangs into their enemies. None of it amounts to anything like a coherent plot. Just one lightweight TV episode after another. Suddenly in chapter 12 the chief baddie, up til that point known as 'The Master' changes into someone called 'Rafael.' So he promptly loses all his charisma and mystique, becoming just another expendable bozo in the process. And around this point it also becomes clear that someone changed their mind about who was going to be the chief baddie in the story. The focus becomes the witches not the wizard.

Like I said. Awful.

Sometimes authors put just a little too much of their own life experiences into their novels. Which is what happens in this case. Unfortunately all of that experience is sordid and most people would be better off without reading about that kind of life and the attitude that blames others for all personal failure.

For readers who like no-class heroines with a bit of style and dignity, I recommend Eye of the Beholder and On a Wing and a Prayer, both by Jackie Weger.

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