Review of Kissed by Darkness by Shéa MacLeod
There are some books I love to tell everyone about and others that I’m not so pleased by. Unfortunately, this one falls into the latter category, but I wouldn’t say everyone should rule the book out. It does have a lot to recommend it. I’m just a bit more picky about my heroines than I realized. This is one of the rare times the main character brought down an otherwise excellent story. I debated heavily as to whether the book would get two or three stars, before settling on three. The review doesn’t contain every complaint I had, but hits some of the highlights.
One thing I will say is that my qualms will not be everyone else’s. You have to decide for yourself if the things that bothered me would be a problem for you as well. If they aren’t, then you might want to give the novel a chance because the rest of it is quite good. Plus that cover looks great! Anyway, this is the review I posted on Amazon which should hopefully show up in the near future if they don’t gig me for saying “badass”. It couldn’t be helped since the character insisted on using that phrase numerous times to describe herself. If it doesn’t go through, I may have to edit it out, but here on my blog you all get the full version!
Morgan Bailey is a bounty hunter who kills vampires and demons for a living. She has gotten quite good at it over the years and feels confident there isn’t a job she can’t complete. Now she is up for the greatest challenge in her career yet. Hunting down a mythical sunwalker and finding an ancient amulet he purportedly has in his possession. Morgan is used to dealing with regular vamps that can’t go out in sunlight, but this one will be a bit trickier for her to track, not to mention kill. She doesn’t let the details get in the way of her job, though. It simply means it will be more challenging than usual. What she doesn’t realize is there is a lot more going on than originally anticipated and as old, dark secrets are revealed, she may learn some things about herself that she didn’t know.
Kissed by Darkness is the first novel in the Sunwalker Saga. While it may have been written by a new author to the Urban Fantasy genre, there is much to recommend it. It starts off with a bang, introducing key characters and giving the reader a good idea of what the world they have entered. Most humans are unaware of the supernatural elements around them and there are those (human or otherwise) who work in secret to keep it that way. This novel is not light reading. It certainly has dark and bloody elements that make the story fit right into the genre it was written for. A lot of questions are brought up early on, some answered by the end, and others left for later novels to deal with. All around, the plot and world building were in-depth and fascinating.
There is a colorful cast of characters as well. Kabita is the woman who runs the private investigation firm Morgan works out of. She is cool, calm, and collected. The perfect foil for her subordinate, who is the complete opposite. Then there is Inigo Jones, Kabita’s cousin, who is a clairvoyant that helps out on jobs when needed. Though he appears to only be twenty years old, his abilities and talents, as well as good looks, make Morgan lust after him in ways she knows she shouldn’t. There are other characters introduced as the story plays out as well who hold vital importance. It all makes for an intense and suspenseful story.
The one thing that held me back from truly enjoying this novel is the main character, Morgan. While I liked all the others in the story, her personality and attitude didn’t work for me. Now, I have no problem with most snarky, confident, tough female heroines- Cat, from Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress series, is one of my favorites. Yet Morgan rubbed me the wrong way. She is supposed to be a twenty-nine year old vampire hunter with years of experience under her belt. I expected a certain level of maturity from her. Yet she constantly bragged about how tough she was, how much she enjoyed killing things, how great her breasts looked, and how scared everyone was of her. In much of this, showing instead of telling might have alleviated some of my concerns. Instead, the reader has to listen to how great of a badass vampire hunter she is (yes, in those words, multiple times). Not only this, but she has major hormonal issues throughout, practically jumping all over several guys because she can’t control her libido. There is probably an explanation for this that was not given in book one, but it reaches the point of being extremely annoying. Mac, in the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning, has some libido problems around Fae princes, but she acted far more mature about it than Morgan does in this book. I simply couldn’t get past this character’s behavior to fully enjoy the story being told. It made for a difficult read when it shouldn’t have been.
Having said all these things, I don’t think this is a bad book. There is a lot to recommend it and most likely the series does continue to get better. It just isn’t one I can keep up with due to my reservations about Morgan. Clearly there are others that didn’t have the issues I did, based on the reviews I read prior to buying the novel. If the traits I mentioned about Morgan’s personality don’t bother you, this might be a book worth checking out. I just want to warn those that may have preferences closer to my own. Otherwise, feel free to check it out and make your own call on whether this series is one to follow.
Three whips for this one.