Darkness by Erin Eveland

I’ve been asked if I ever give a book a bad review. The easy answer is: I try to pick books to read that I think I will enjoy. Life is short, my free time is precious, and I have many books on my “to read” list, so I deliberately avoid choosing authors, settings, or genres that I dislike.

Every once in a while, though, I’ll choose a book that sounds good but just doesn’t work for me. Such was the case with Darkness by Erin Eveland. I chose it because the summary reminded me a bit of L.J. Smith’s “Forbidden Game” series, which I LOVED back in the day. But really, I think the only similarity is that they both contain Shadow Men.

Darkness Front Cover

Darkness Front Cover (Selladore Press)

THE PLOT: Catherine is abandoned at birth by her alcoholic mother and raised by her grandmother. The little girl has special powers, seeing and manipulating shadow entities. When her grandmother dies, Catherine’s mother returns in all her trashy glory to run through Catherine’s meager inheritance and use her for welfare money. Fast forward to teen Catherine, who is in love with a local boy and desperately wanting to get out of her dead-end town. But her love interest is being controlled by Artros, a magical being with an interest in Catherine and her secret powers.

MY TWO CENTS:  I feel that the prose is just overblown and pretentious. For example, “perchance” is not a word anyone normally uses to describe actions taking place in the 21st century. This is forced and unnatural, and it pulls me out of the reading experience. I might understand using archaic language for the character of Artros to emphasize how ancient he is, but even that technique should be used in small doses. The writing just feels inauthentic.

I know ARC reviewers are usually not supposed to mention grammatical errors, but this title didn’t contain a note about being an advance proof, and the overwhelming errors in this book made it a struggle to read. There are the comma errors that often make it difficult to follow the dialogue. There are other types of grammar errors everywhere.  Then there are the sentence structures that just add unintended humor. One example:

Contemplating, the car idled awhile before he turned the ignition switch off.

Yikes. At best, that’s one introspective car!

BOTTOM LINE: I’ve been an editor for 20 years, and in my professional opinion, the book suffers in many ways from lack of editing. It needs to be streamlined and cleaned  up. I only made it halfway through the book before I called it quits. I suggest the author demand a better edit from Selladore Pressfor her next book or, if this is a self-publishing imprint, that she hire a good freelance editor before self-publishing again.

TEACUP RATING: I can only give this book one out of five teacups. There might be a good story in here, but it was just too much work to find and follow it. Other reviewers indicated that they enjoyed the book, but with my apologies to the author, I cannot recommend it.

ON SALE DATE: Darkness is available now in paperback and e-formats.

Note: Review is based on an ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


The Heavens Rise by Christopher Rice


The Heavens Rise Front Cover (Gallery Books, Simon & Schuster)

I had never read a Christopher Rice book before, but the description intrigued me. After reading this book, I’ll be likely to read more of his work.

THE PLOT: The story primarily follows two main characters: Marshall Ferriot, who is a violent maniac even before he obtains supernatural powers, and Ben Broyard, the gay best friend of Niquette (Nikki) Delongpre. Teenage Nikki and her parents go missing one night after Marshall sticks a snake in their car as revenge for Nikki’s rejection of him. Marshall had arranged for Nikki to believe her boyfriend, Anthem, was cheating on her, so he could move in. Nikki befriended Marshall, but turned him away when he made his move. But it was too late; they had both picked up an ancient parasite in the pool Nikki’s parents were having dug. The rest of the book is mostly a supernatural mystery: what really happened to Nikki and her parents eight years ago? How did Marshall really wind up in a coma, and how do people die violently near him? Ben, now a reporter and helped by recovering alcoholic Anthem, works to piece together the truth.

MY TWO CENTS: This book contained elements of two of my favorite horror books: Stephen King’s IT and Anne Rice’s The Witching Hour. (My sincerest apologies to Mr. Rice on pulling his mother into the conversation, but I can’t help the comparison when this book is set in New Orleans with a rich, unresponsive, wheelchair-bound main character who also has supernatural powers.) However, it’s not nearly as terrifying as either of those two books, which gave me nightmares in young adulthood!

BOTTOM LINE: This is a good book for Halloween week. It’s not overly scary, and the reader is carried along easily through the story. And really, isn’t New Orleans a great setting for a horror story? (Yes, I’ve been watching American Horror Story–Coven. ‘Tis the season.) I really liked the character of Ben as our hero, and Marshall was a totally deplorable villain.

TEACUP RATING: I give this book four teacups…I think I wanted a little more from the ending. However, I found it a thoroughly enjoyable read.

Note: Review is based on an ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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