Review for Love is Darkness (A Valerie Dearborn Novel) by Caroline Hanson

I’m on a paranormal romance book kick right now.  For whatever reason, this seems to be the thing that has my attention for the moment so bear with me for those who do not follow this genre.  I found this novel while browsing Amazon recommendations.  It is by an indie author and worth the time to check out.  I had a few small problems with it, but overall the novel was good.  Those of you that are into the genre can check out my review below and see if it is something you might be interested in!

Love is Darkness begins in the past, rather than present.  It takes the reader to an important scene among some key vampires that will affect the main character, Valerie Dearborn, even if she doesn’t know it yet.  From there you will follow brief periods of Valerie’s life until reaching the present.  This helps give more background to the story, but also slows down its progression.  You learn that the death of Valerie’s mother to vampires changed everything in her life.  Her father became a stranger bent only on revenge, so she has little emotional support.  She gained a “foster brother” of sorts, named Jack, who she slowly falls in love with as they grow up together.  The main reason they don’t become more is Jack’s parents were murdered by a vampire (just as Valerie’s mother was) and he has turned cold, bent on revenge.  That makes him a better companion for her father, as they work together in hunting down vampires.  Yet she wants no part of it.

All the while, the most powerful vampire on earth, Lucas, has been watching over Valerie with future plans in mind.  He is dark, sexy, and enigmatic.  She is drawn to him, and though she cares for Jack, it is the vampire who calls to her in ways she has never felt before.  Lucas teaches her new things and gives her a purpose, even if it is one she resents.  Their personalities clash, but the sparks fly between them.  This leaves Valerie confused, as she knows she loves Jack, but doesn’t know if there can ever be anything more with him.  Now that she is an adult and on her own, she must decide what is best for her life and whether she should let anyone force her into doing things she doesn’t want to do.  Whether those dictates come from the humans or vampires in her life.

I have mixed emotions about this book.  From the beginning, Valerie came off as young, immature, and weak.  You give her a break because she is a teenager and this is somewhat expected.  The only problem is once you reach present day, she still acts the same way, even though she is now twenty-one and in graduate school.  Eventually, part of the reason for this is revealed.  She is an Empath, which means she is affected by the emotions of others around her.  Without knowing this about herself, or receiving training in her abilities, it has made Valerie emotionally vulnerable.  This is understandable to a certain extent, but it doesn’t mean I have to enjoy the way it has shaped her personality.  Just to caveat that, though, she wasn’t all bad. I enjoyed the way she clashed with other characters in the book at times.  Valerie wasn’t just some girl who let people walk all over her, she had great moments where she really stuck up for herself, no matter the opposition.  That made her endearing and helped me to keep reading the story.

Most of the early part of the book is back-story and covers about a ten-year span.  Once the novel reaches present day, things get more interesting.  Lucas gives Valerie a job helping him track down supposedly extinct supernaturals, which brings them into closer contact than before, but it begins a rather rocky relationship.  The main problem I had with this book is not a lot actually got accomplished.  It was more of an introduction which focused on world building and character development, without progressing the plot very much.  A ton of questions got raised and few of them were answered.  There are moments of action and danger, but they pretty much involve Valerie’s life being threatened and Lucas saving her.  To give her credit, she did save herself in a couple of instances.

Though I have these few complaints with the book, I actually did like it.  The characters were endearing.  I felt genuine interest in what would happen next and I was completely sucked into the ending.  I wasn’t happy it came as a cliffhanger, but the next book releases in December so I don’t have to wait too long to see what happens next.  One thing I will warn is that this book may be considered adult paranormal, but it really reads a lot like YA.  Plus there were some occasional errors that need to be cleaned up.  These things may bother some readers, but I believe the potential for this series is great and have every intention of continuing it.  I’m curious to see where everything goes and have high hopes for Valerie maturing over time.  For the purpose of this review, I give it 3.5 stars with the hopes of a greater rating on the next one.  If you like dark vampire tales with (mostly) human women as main characters, then you might try this one out.  It isn’t a bad read and certainly has the prospect of getting even better.


~ by Suzie on November 11, 2011.

6 Responses to “Review for Love is Darkness (A Valerie Dearborn Novel) by Caroline Hanson”

  1. Hi Mistress, I’d like to leave a free Smashwords coupon for you and your readers for my new novel, Johnny Oops 11 – Timeless. # ES34D. Hope you enjoy.

    Arthur Levine

  2. Another beautifully worded and thorough review, Suzie. Definitely looks like a book worth reading 🙂

  3. Another thorough review, Susan! Keep it up!

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