Lady Rogue's Reviews > The Better Part of Darkness

The Better Part of Darkness by Kelly Gay
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Jan 02, 2010

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Review courtesy of: http://escapebetweenthepages.blogspot...

The cover is appealing, as it definately has the urban fantasy look to it, giving the impression of a confident and strong woman in a dark and grungy world.

The story starts off strong. Charlie Madigan arrives at her daughter's school, after she overhears a call for paramedics being needed. (As a mother myself, I can relate to the urgency, to make sure that her daughter was alright and safe.) Once there, she discovers the body of her daughter's friend/babysitter on the girl's bathroom floor. The good news, she isn't dead. The bad news, an underworld narcotic called, "ASH" appears to have reached the uptown schools. Charlie, along with her sexy Siren partner Hank, make it thier misson to get the drug and those who are behind the drug off the streets.

Charlie has the mentality, determination, and heart of a good cop. But she is too stubborn and self absorbed. There is too much emphasis on her self analyzing everything, it gets boring. Yeah...yeah....get on with it already. This happens many times throughout the book. What I do like, is Charlie being a divorced mother. It gives her crediablity and makes her a bit more likable. I also appreciate her not being able to push aside years of feelings for her ex-husband and the inner struggles that those feelings cause. Her relationship with her partner is refreshing as well, they genuinely care for each other. Their bickering interaction, is well done. I have come to the conclusion that they are both smartasses. Charlie's and her daugher's relationship is endearing. I do like that, at times, it seems like the daughter is taking care of the mother, than the other way around.

With exception of Hank and Emma, I feel the remaining characters lack depth, substance and are unnecessary. None are very engaging and feel as if they are just thrown in to fill up space. Those who do have a purpose, don't have enough back story to make me find them believable.

First, we have Charlie's twin. Why is he constantly being brought up? Yes, I get it, he was her twin and he is dead. I am spending much time focusing on this and waiting for the repetitive reminder to be more relevent. What little is given, falls flat.

Llyran is another character, that should be involved more into the plot or left out completely and saved for another time. It reads like a taunt. Like holding candy out to a kid and then locking it up in front of them, because it doesn't go with dinner. Poor kids....poor me....that is how I feel in this instance. I know the story is there, and the potential looks good, but can't have it, because it doesn't go with this particular plot. It feels like he was going to be part of the story, but then Kelly Gay changed her mind and said, maybe later. So why bring it up at all?

Zara, Rex, and Aaron, join in the battle...why? I just don't find it crediable that these people will jump on board so quickly. These charcters feel as if they are thrown in to the story to be immediately paired with another character for a potential love interest, and so that it can complete the whole sterotypical "Scoobie Gang" scenerio, (The gang is all here, now they can fight the bad guys). There is even a good/bad brooding guy named Carreg and a genius doctor who can concoct miracle cures. It is all a quick fix and I feel cheated.

Although, the character depth isn't the greatest, the world building is cleverly done and perhaps the book's strongest attribute. The world is not what it used to be, since the "discovery" of two other planes of existence. Kelly Gay's universe has alot of potential, that has room to grow. I really dig the possible religious ramifications and the idea of a Heaven and Hell on Earth, and the mention of Legend, darkness, demons, angels, aliens, etc... It supports the unending struggle of good versus evil, thus giving it a strong base for a plot. If only, it is the main focus. Unfortunately, to many subplots and not enough main plot.

All in all, it is a good read, but not a great book. Turning the last page, I am left feeling unsatisfied. There are too many subplots still open, that leaves me without closure. Most of the characters lacked depth, substance and purpose. I did feel that the protagonist wasn't so much ass kicking, but smart mouthed. That being said, as urban fantasies go, it didn't suck. For me, it is probably a one time read.
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