Monday, July 11, 2011

Kelly Gay: The Better Part of Darkness

In her debut novel Kelly Gay introduces a new aspect to the paranormal genre in which the monsters that go bump in the night are not native to Earth but from another planet, which is dying and some are looking for a new home.

Charlie Madigan came back from being dead, literally. She is not a vampire or a zombie, but she knows that she not exactly the same as when she died. But she still picks up where she left off as a detective for the Atlanta P.D.'s Integration Task Force (ITF), however, if Charlie thought her life would go back to normal she should have known better. Plagued by nightmares from how she was revived from the dead, she is also facing problems that hit close to home when her daughter's babysitter is discovered to have overdosed on the new street drug Ash. Ash is nothing that could be made from anything on Earth and it appears that the introduction of Ash may be more than just having a new street drug. There are political actions happening behind the scene that have everything to do with Ash and Charlie. Charlie better figure everything out quick as not only she, and her family are in danger, but also her whole world.

This was an okay debut for me and from reading other reviews and the back I really wanted to love this book. There is no doubt that Gay has the ability to write and she created a good story/premise to go along with the world that she had created for this book, however, I did not have the "can't put it down feeling" when I was reading this book, especially the first half of the book. The book does become more interesting the farther in that you read. However, to begin with I thought that I was going to be reading a paranormal romance book as Charlie could not stop thinking about her partner Hank and then the first appearance and scene with Will (Charlie`s x-husband). The book really does change focus in the book and I think that is why I liked it the farther into the story I got. I feel like to begin with Grey was unsure of where she wanted to take the story.

I think that Gay introduced some different aspects within the paranormal genre and that is having the different species come from a planet outside of Earth. If a human has some for of ability then it means that somewhere in their heritage, that person has a Elysia or Charbydon ancestor. I also liked the introduction of gene therapy, in order to make an individual more powerful and immune to certain types of sickness (this does not seem really that far fetched to me, maybe the results were, but the use of gene therapy, no). I also liked seeing some paranormal species that we do not normally get to see. For example, Hank (Charlie's partner) is a siren, and he has to wear a voice modifier so that everyone who hears him talk does not become enthralled by him. I liked that this was an old mythical creature reinvented to fit this time and I would like to see more of that in her book.

I was not the biggest fan of Charlie as a character, I am unsure of what it was that I disliked about her, all I know is there were points where I wanted to slap her. I know one if the things that I disliked about her was that she always felt that she had to protect everyone, and only put herself at risk, even though there are people around her that are more powerful than she is, especially before she died. I did like Gay's attempt to humanize about Charlie with the use of her daughter and her x-husband Will, I like when there are people within the book that make the main character vulnerable in some way. I also appreciated that Gay was able to let Charlie grow and help her get out of her ego, that was standing in the way, but I question how long that will last.

As stated above, this book was an okay debut for me. I like that Gay introduced some new aspects into the paranormal genre but I question whether this was enough to bring me to buy the second book. I really wanted to like this book, but I just found it lacking. I think I will pick up the second book to see how Gay progresses the story, however, it is no a priority for me. I have read quite a few better debuts this year so the second book in those series will definitely be ahead of this one.

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