Thursday, July 11, 2013

Book Review - Sex and the Single Vampire

Sex and the Single Vampire (Dark Ones, #2)Sex and the Single Vampire by Katie MacAlister
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

What drew me to this book was the paranormal element - Summoner Allegra Telford is under the gun to produce a ghost for her boss... or she's out of a job. So the idea of introducing a vampire wasn't so far-fetched and I went with it. Apparently there's a first book that I missed in this series, but frankly, the info dumps led me to believe I didn't miss anything by skipping it.
Which unfortunately brings me to the substance of my review. This book was a hot mess. And not in a good way. Aside from the aforementioned (and numerous) info dumps throughout the book - and done in a way that was much too convenient for the lazy plot - the book just seemed to be all over the place. Like it didn't know what to do next, so it just did everything. Verb tenses changed A LOT - sometimes within the same sentence. And I'm sorry, but as a fellow writer (and an editor, I just cannot condone that. The dialogue was ridiculous in places, with characters talking over each other about completely unrelated things. Seriously, what purpose do Joy and Roxy serve except as really obvious comic relief? They are not integral to the plot AT ALL. Allie would have met Christian all on her own and she's a smart girl - she would have gotten a pretty quick read on his situation.
Let's take a moment and ponder names: I'm sorry, but since 50 Shades of Crap, I'm forever allergic to a name like Christian. And I must admit at times this book read like reworked fan fiction. So it made me wonder... And I looked up Love Spell online and found out it was defunct. It was also published by Harper Collins ebooks, but I have to wonder about the circumstances. I also found a number of silly typos (things like typing a z instead of an s). Not to mention so many awkwardly worded and way too long sentences that had me doing double and triple takes to see if I'd read them correctly.
Technical edits aside, I feel like this book could have benefited from a good developmental edit. Plot points seem to tumble out as after-thoughts, explained away via info dumps and long narratives. Magical "rules" in Allie's world are explained only when she's doing something and the reader doesn't know why or how. It's certainly a good lesson for other writers: get your world-building and lore down BEFORE you get working on the book. Talk about wasted opportunity. Also wasted is a potential glimpse into Christian's likely-sordid past. Nothing! Oh, Allie mentions as a side-note that somewhere along the way, he told her he was once a knight. Seriously? Just throw it in as explanation for his "heroic" qualities? I'm not buying it.
And regarding C.J. Dante's "charms" - seriously, people, when are we going to stop worshiping men who prefer to dominate and control their women? I do find it redeemable that Allie doesn't put up with his crap, but it's only because she was the victim of spousal abuse. Really?! Why does everyone have to have the sob story? Why can't women just be strong when they want to be, and men be flexible in relationships? Why do we romanticize these things? But I digress.
Another thing that kind of bugs me about this book is the title (and the cover design). Frankly, this book has little to do with sex. Or a single vampire. It has to do with the relationship and connection between a Dark One and his Beloved. Are there female Dark Ones, I wonder? Don't know. The book doesn't focus at all about Christian's world. I'm throwing in my vote for this book to be renamed to something like... Beloved? The Bloodsucker and the Ghost Hunter?
Thankfully, this book didn't take long to read. Now I'm going to check out Chuck Wendig's recommendations for good reads. I'm tired of stumbling around in the dark.

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