SubterraneanCatalyst's Reviews > When Darkness Comes
by Alexandra Ivy (Goodreads Author)
bookshelves: paranormal-romance, vampires, werewolves, b-movies, hot-book-cover, reread, junkfood, guilty-pleasures, zombies
This was my second time reading this and as noted below on my comments, I'm realizing my cheesy fun doesn't hold up well under the scrutiny of a second reading.
That said Ivy is a capable writer. Launching the Eternal Guardian series, I originally rated this book 4 stars. What a difference a year of reading PNR and UF makes!
The plot is not super original but it's fun. Abby Barlow, our heroine, is a young woman with a pure soul (so claims any vampire that gets a look at her, otherwise we readers have no idea how she is pure or why, or what the hell that actually means except what we can assume) who is slaving away at a Girl Friday/companion kind of job for Selena. Selena is a bazillionaire who happens to enjoy the company of a beautiful pirate (not my description but Abby seems obsessed with his pirate likeness) seeming kind of man named Dante.
Abby and Dante have spent months slobbering over each other in Selena's mansion. Within the first chapter or so Selena dies and Abby ends up acquiring the "Phoenix" spirit and becoming the Chalice. I don't consider this a major spoiler because it happens very early on in the book- within 50 pages or earlier I believe. Dante is automatically leashed to Abby once she accepts the spirit within her and the search is on for answers, looking for witches, fighting demons and wizards and meeting a few slightly interesting characters.
One of my biggest nitpicks about this book is that the dialogue yanked me out of immersion- Abby is supposed to be a girl raised by the school of hard knocks in Chicago, yet she says things that aren't largely believable for someone who is repeatedly noted as street savvy but not terribly intellectual. As we learn, Abby "isn't stupid", but she uses words like "horrid" and says things like "what of you?” . Now- this seems very nitpicky but someone in America that is a working class kid who works her butt off doing two jobs and getting by isn't going to speak like that. I can forgive vampires in books talking in any number of ways because of the assumption that they are a few centuries old or from a different country/era. I do not need Abby to smack gum constantly and check her smartphone for updates on Facebook to seem believable, but her dialogue was off.
The other issue which many reviewers have mentioned is that the horrible childhood Abby endured is mentioned ten too many times. I actually grew up in an extremely dysfunctional household, I am a card carrying member of child abuse and divorces and misfortune. What I find hard to read is someone who literally seems to make every decision referencing her crappy parents. Oh my! Can I do this/make this choice..but but I might be like my parents who were evul! No, that usually isn't the way we unfortunate children of abuse operate. At least no one I know that has lived that kind of childhood. I'm not sensitive in that I read this and am offended in the lame way her childhood is presented, but it irritates me as going overboard and being gratuitous. Also it seems lazy. Why do characters need to have a sad childhood for me to be prepared to think she has a pure soul or think she's a giving person? I can understand a character having this type of past and her POV being colored by this in her adult life but not the way Ivy chooses to handle this for Abby.
The better things:
-Viper: you meet him, don’t get to know too much about him but he’s fun. You don’t get enough of him. Yeah yeah, that name. It makes me cringe but I like his character.
-The Shalott demon and the Imp, Troy, I enjoyed the secondary characters as briefly as we see them. I have read the rest of the series and these are the things that continued my interest.
I give Ivy points for not giving us a stupid cliff hanger and providing an HEA even if it seems pat. So read this if you want definite HEA’s, are desperate for another vampire PNR series, don’t want to have to think too deeply, and you like cheesy movies.