I didn’t hate this novel, but I also can’t give it more then one star. It’s badly written and badly in need of an editor. The writing was so frustratingly bad that I would just shake my kindle in annoyance (I’m not throwing it across the room, I like my kindle). There were some redeeming factors: it was free, there were werewolves, and there were more then a few female characters.
The plot is a fairly standard plot for the first novel in an urban fantasy series. In this case Jade, who runs a cupcake bakery, is aware of the existence of supernaturals but thinks herself low on that totem pole so far as power goes. There is a murder, or several murders, Jade finds herself somehow entangled in it. There are deeply mysterious and dangerous males involved, who may or may not be helping. And of course there are brief hints about the longer plot and Jade herself.
There is absolutely nothing revolutionary in this novel. But I don’t really read Urban Fantasy for the novelty, it’s a place to go when I want something to get lost in with minimal fuss. What draws me back to a series is my connection with the characters and the world building, and on that the novel completely fails. Jade is one of the most stupidly oblivious characters I’ve come across in a long time. This is particularly annoying because the novel is told in the first person (one of my least favorite narrative types, because it’s so rarely done well). I feel as though the author wasn’t ready for the reader to quite figure out the plot just yet so she had to make Jade deliberately disregard rather important information in order to throw the reader (red herrings of a sort). But because Jade was being so obtuse, the other characters kept bringing it up. It was annoying to be bashed over the head with this information and to see the main character completely ignore it. A horrible double edged sword, one that could have been avoided if the author had let her character be just a little bit smarter. And I’m not talking about the ‘twist’. While I saw that particular plot point coming a mile away, because I read books, I can very much believe that Jade didn’t.
And then the writing. Oh god. It was, at a word, atrocious. There were sentences put next to each other that either had nothing to do with the each other or directly contradicted each other. It all was horribly amateurish. And while that’s fine if you’re taking your book to a writing group, not so much for a published novel. And I just checked, of course it’s a self published novel. Guys, I don’t want to sound like a book snob but I’ve yet to read a self published book that’s halfway decent and so I sound like a book snob.
Also, the narration. As I mentioned briefly above, I am not a fan of first person narrators. They’re difficult to do well, and one of the favorites for Urban Fantasy/Paranormal Romance. I’ve gotten to the point where I wince whenever I see it in one of those novels because it’s so rarely well done. Well, this author takes it to a new annoying level and has the character ‘talk’ to the reader so you get asides like, “yes, I do that still” or “I know, I know….”. It’s not pleasant.
As a smaller complaint, I’m pretty sure the author is a huge fan of HBO’s True Blood. Some of the character descriptions are a little too on point for Eric, Sookie, and Alcide as played by Alexander Skarsgard, Anna Paquin, and Joe Manganiello so not so much the books as the show. Not that those aren’t some very attractive people, because they really are, but to put them all together in a novel as a vampire, witch, and werewolf respectively is a bit too much.
There were things I enjoyed about the novel. There are several other female characters. Both ones with speaking roles and ones just casually mentioned off screen. It’s very nice to read a book where I don’t have to wonder what world this female lives in because there are no other females there. One of my main complaints about Urban Fantasy novels is that so often you have one single lead female who is surrounded by men, and men only. And what few females do appear are quickly sidelined into either the slut/competition category (thanks casual misogyny) or damsel in distress category (which is also pretty misogynistic). So this book neatly side-stepped that trap.
Also, there were werewolves. I am easy, I know, but I love them in my books. I can get picky about them, as so often they’re reduced to alpha posturing and meh, no thanks. But either they weren’t in this book long enough to start displaying those traits or Doidge will also sidestep the alpha asshole problem so common in werewolf based paranormal romance.
And lastly it was free. This is February’s Vaginal Fantasy pick, and I am very glad that I didn’t pay money for it. I am still side-eyeing whoever is picking these books though.
I think I can safely say, skip this one.