Jan's Reviews > Darkness at Dawn

Darkness at Dawn by Elizabeth Jennings
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Jul 26, 11

bookshelves: romance, suspense, z-2011, contemporary-romance
Recommended to Jan by: Dear Author
Read from July 24 to 25, 2011

This book started deliciously over the top. It had a crazy smart art historian heroine with a sad past ( including the death of her two CIA parents in a violent revolution in a made up country, and a plane crash); a Military Mountaineer Man hero, who specialized in special ops on high altitude in the snow.

The both of them are whisked away by the CIA (or Uncle Edwin for the heroine) because a bioweapon of mass-destruction (based on Ebola) has apparently been discovered in Nhala (the aforementioned made up country), and the USA's only IN into the country is the heroine, because she's been asked to restore a mythical document. The hero is meant to tag along as her fake fiancée, and serve as the muscle on the mission.

What follows is a surprising awesome romance. The hero starts out as totally underestimating the heroine (he calls her Hot Babe in his head at the start), but slowly grows impressed with the heroines intelligence, quick wits and her inner strength. He then proceeds taking care of her in various very heartwarming ways, whilst occasionally rappelling off palace walls, hiking through snowstorms and talking his dick down because 'now is not the time'.

I'm making it sound more over the top than it actually was, but the setting of Nhala had such a lovely Tintin feel to it, I was infected with glee. You know the whole Ruritania Trope with the small and slightly backwards country with the evil General planning a Coup? It was so deliciously campy.

And then the author decided to throw some realism into this fantastical tale by making the bad guys sponsored by Al Quaeda, have a Muslim faction planning to kill the entire Israeli population, and a Pakistani section planning to genocide India (the bioweapon was massively powerful and quick). As a distraction they planned to hit New York during the Macy Thanksgiving parade (I don't even know what that is, but apparently NY had to be hit again).

This totally threw me out of the fantastical and destroyed my glee, because I don't care for religion and politics in my romance novels, because I read those for escapism. And I definitely don't care for religion or politics when they are handled in such a careless, stereotyped, pejorative, indiscriminate way.

I also think it's dangerous to do this, because polarization in either politics or religion is never a good thing. Remember how everything bad was always the communists for 30 years? Don't let a few radical groups decide on the image of an entire people/religion in popular culture. It's just not right.

This also made me seriously dislike the ending of the disease plotline (the ending of the romance was sweet; and everything leading up to the ending was epic awesomesauce by his Military Manliness). (view spoiler)

So yeah, in the end this book didn't work for me, but it might work for others, so I'm not dis-recommending it. Still, if you want to read about diseases as bioweapons, read The Vector, if you want a military romance, read Games of Command, and if you want thinly disguised comments on political events, read The Adventures of Tintin
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Amanda I'm glad someone else was uncomfortable with her religious/political proselytizing as well. I read Into the Crossfire by her LMR pseudonym and it's just as bad in that respect. I think I'm giving up on her books for the time being.


message 2: by Jan (new) - rated it 1 star

Jan Religion and politics are things you touch when you've got enough room to deal with them. Not things you just glance over as an extra to your story.

It really bothers me when authors do this, and I'm glad (like you) that I'm not the only one.


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