Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Double Feature Part 2: Darker Angels by M. L. N. Hanover

Well, I suppose I can only wait so long before I have to write the second part of my double feature out. To be honest I finished Darker Angles last friday, and I've been struggling with what to say about it. So I supposed I should start with a description.

Darker Angels is the second book in the Black Sun's Daughter series by M. L. N. Hanover, preceeded by Unclean Spirits. The books are about Jayn`e Heller, a 23 year old woman with no intrinsic skills that can nonetheless do some interesting things when under stress. She has three male companions, all of which are in love with her but one (thank god, it was beginning to seem a bit self indulgent) and can all do much more than she can.

In this book, Jayn`e is still going through all of her rich dead uncles estates and gets a call from a woman named Karen Black, who is in New Orleans tracking down a killer who is possessed by a demon who uses its host to kill people its host becomes close to.  She knows who the victim will be and needs help, which Jayn`e and her friends are only too happy to help with.

The problem with Darker Angels is that I am so fresh off reading Unclean Spirits that the formula from the last book is still fresh in my mind. Jayn`e will kick something butt at one point but seem mostly inept for most of the book with no special qualities, she will get irritated, quietly, about people pronouncing her name wrong (honestly hon, just introduce yourself first instead of letting people guess), will sleep with someone she shouldn't...again, and try to take on the supernatural baddies too soon and get her butt handed to her. All of these were definitely qualities in the negative catagory, but then it came to me: what do you do when you know a formula by heart?

Well the answer, if you know anything about math, is that you start canceling everything out that you don't need, and plug in the new variables.

Unfortunately, by the time I finished thinking that way, Darker Angels stopped being this irritating story about a woman out of her depth with something supernaturally weird about her, and became a story about a woman doing little to nothing but talking about how weird it is to be rich with three men traveling with her and little to nothing else.

Don't get me wrong, having a rich girl tracking down the possessed isn't the riveting read that most Urban Fantasy novels come up with on the fly, but it does have its rich moments. Mostly I just feel like the guy who's seen a movie too many times in theater and is shouting up at the screen, "Don't go in there, you fool, the killer just went in there!". Because that's the feel that most of the book has. It's secret plot twists are so transparent that they might as well be saran wrap, and I have to wonder if Hanover thought it would be riveting to have everyone make comments about something vague and off topic and not have the reader go "well I'm sure that won't come up again in the next book!"

I could go on about how the characters are flawed individuals and that's what makes them unique and interesting to read about, but honestly there is so little about them given to the reader that I'd be lying. Not much information is given about each character, and that alone makes it hard to believe that they've been living and working together for so long. It's almost like saying you're friends with the bus driver because he comes by your apartment every day and getting upset when he changes routes.

It's hard for me to say bad things about a book, since I love reading so much, but the fact is that the Dark Sun's Daughter is kind of a bad book. I would only recomend it to people who don't have a lot of free time to read, but still want something to waste time while they are waiting for a doctors appointment or have nothing to do for an hour and a half. I certainly wouldn't want to read it for longer than that myself, had I the choice.

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