Sunday, March 20, 2011

Lyn Benedict: Sins & Shadows

In her debut novel (back from 2009 but still a debut) Lyn Benedict introduces the reader to what can happen to the world when a God needs a favour from a human.

Sylvie Lightner (aka Shadows) is not an your ordinary PI, she specializes in cases involving the unbelievable and is known for doing whatever it takes to get the job done. But she is quitting, closing up shop. After witnessing the murder of one of her employees and having a satanic cult put a curse on her for disrupting their summoning ceremony, she wants to all her friends and family to get as far away from her as possible, even if she has to hurt them to do. Sylvie should have realized that it would not be so easy for her to close up shop, especially when a man comes into her business claiming to be the God of Justice and needing her to do a favour for him. You really cant say No to a God right? Justice wants Sylvie to find his lover, who he cannot find, and he is not above using her friends, family and world in order to get his way. Sylvie enters the worlds of Gods, one that is completely different from the world of magic she usually deals with. With her Fury sidekicks (though sidekick might be too optimistic of a word) and a secret government agency that seems to be very interested in everything Sylvie is doing; Sylvie is drawn farther and farther in to a labyrinth of darkness and danger, Sylvie must find her quarry before Hell is actually released onto Earth.

This book is an okay debut for a series into the paranormal genre (with a slight hint of romance), in all honestly what makes this only an Okay book and not a great debut, is I had a hard time getting into the book (took me about half way so about 150 pages). It was about this time that I felt that Benedict really hit her stride as a writer and storyteller. It appeared to me that there was just more "love" written into the latter half of the book especially in her storytelling, things finally started to happen. The beginning was slow,but once it gets going the story really takes off. I had this book written off by the time the first half of the book was over, but Benedict really turns, there are some actions scenes, some romance, mysteries begin to become unraveled and all of it was done in a darker (but not that dark) style that I like.

Sylvie is your (and i hate to say it but...) typical kickass heroine, who has this darkness inside her that is always fighting to get out, and it is this rage (I would say similar to the rage that is displayed by Anita Blake in the earlier Laurell K Hamilton series), that keeps her going and allows her to do things that a human would not regularly be able to do. Her sense of right and wrong is very black and white at times, and it seems to stem from ensuring her own survival. Lets say there is a bit of a body count in this book. She does have a softer side, but the dark/survival side is what trumps everything, so there are very few glimpses to this emotional side of Sylvie, which makes her (in some sense) a hard character to like. Not to say I did not like Sylvie as a character, she was just frustrating at times.

I liked the use of Greek Gods and God in this book. They were something different, by using the combination of different Gods from different eras and religions. The war between the Gods and the mayhem it created on Earth, was really interesting as well. And that there are more Gods up there than someone may have originally thought (as some of you may have noted there is no Greek God of Justice). It was interesting too the aspect of maybe a God wanting to live with the Humans, for the freedom that it gave (even though they are Gods) but also how living with Gods on Earth disrupts the regular balance of thing on Earth. Also the Gods can be just creepy/cruel in their sense of justice and the ease in which they would use people for their own gains. I think that the God aspect as a whole, was written and described very well by Benedict.

 THANK YOU, Benedict for not having the predictable happy ending, and lets just say that not everyone comes out unscathed at the end, and Benedict did not seem to have any problem creating more hurt and mayhem within the book. I greatly appreciated that she did not take the cookie cutter way out and made things darker than I actually thought she would have So Thank you again.

As I stated above, this book is an okay beginning to a new series, and I am interested in reading the next book, however, if you are a reader that needs to be engaged right off in a book, then I do not think this book is for you. As I stated, I had a hard time getting into this book, story, writing everything, till the second half of the book. I feel that Benedict redeemed herself in the second half of the book, which is why I am hoping that has continued into her other books. I think Lyn Benedict will be a great addition to the paranormal genre, just as long as her writing and storyline keeps improving with each book.


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