Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Book Review: The Better Part of Darkness by Kelly Gay

Atlanta: it's the promised city for the off-worlders, foreigners from the alternate dimensions of heaven-like Elysia and hell-like Charbydon. Some bring good works and miracles. And some bring unimaginable evil....

Charlie Madigan is a divorced mother of one, and a kick-ass cop trained to take down the toughest human and off-world criminals. She's recently returned from the dead after a brutal attack, an unexplained revival that has left her plagued by ruthless nightmares and random outbursts of strength that make doing her job for Atlanta P.D.'s Integration Task Force even harder. Since the Revelation, the criminal element in Underground Atlanta has grown, leaving Charlie and her partner Hank to keep the chaos to a dull roar. But now an insidious new danger is descending on her city with terrifying speed, threatening innocent lives: a deadly, off-world narcotic known as ash. Charlie is determined to uncover the source of ash before it targets another victim -- but can she protect those she loves from a force more powerful than heaven and hell combined?

My Review: 
This is one of those books where I wasn't sure what to think of it or how to rate it. I liked bits of it but other bits seemed to drag and I would lose a bit of interest in it.

Charlie works for the Integration task force along with partner Hank who is a siren and an alien, one of many aliens choosing to live a new life on Earth. Now they are tracking a deadly drug that is killing and maiming users and may have come from one of the two planets now linked to Earth. Charlie's informant is killed by strange ninjas and she summons an unknown power to kill them, causing a diplomatic incident and forcing her on the run. What are these strange new powers and how did she get them? Is it connected to her return from death?

It got off to a good start with the beginning of the investigation and the attack on Charlie and her informant. There was a nice mixture of action and Charlie trying to be a good mother and juggle a dangerous job. At this point I had high hopes for the book and for Charlie but things started to go downhill a bit in places. There were parts of the book which really dragged especially the middle part where Charlie was investigating the people who saved her life and hanging out at the club to investigate. I didn't find this greatly interesting and it was becoming a bit repetitive. I actually left the book for nearly two weeks before I went back to finish it. The book does pick up a bit in the last third as we go towards the finale and parts of it were interesting again but I could not face reading that middle section again for anything.

I loved Hank. He was certainly my favourite character. I liked Charlie's sister Bryn who was a bit underused for me. I also liked Charlie at the start with her juggling being a cop and a mother, and trying to get over the trauma of being killed and brought back from the dead. Charlie's death was caused by her ex-husband dabbling in dark magic so I was really annoyed with her for nearly falling into bed with him because she can't resist his touch. Oh please! Thanks for turning what seemed to be a smart and tough heroine into a pathetic whiny little women who melts at the mere touch of a man. Gag! Jeez Charlie he cheated on you, his lover murdered you and you can't resist him??? Stop being so damn spineless!!! As the book progresses Charlie becomes very annoying with that 'I can do everything myself and don't need help thank you very much' attitude which leads to her constantly needing to be rescued. That becomes repetitive and very frustrating and I wanted to give her a good shake. She becomes a royal pain in the butt, frankly, the longer the book goes on. 

One thing I did like though was the ending. The resolution of the story was quite satisfying and overall I did like most of the characters. I also liked the fact that for once we had a male and female team working together without the need to jump into bed. That was good! The action scenes were well written and there were some really good ideas and well written characters. I have complained about a few things that didn't appeal to me but it is not a 'bad' book. It is not poorly written. It has a decent story.

Gah this book had potential but I feel it just didn't fully deliver. The author had several different threads running through it-the Ash investigation, Charlie's love life, Charlie's death. I felt there was so much emphasis on the last two that the investigation into the drug fell by the wayside by halfway through the book-and that was the bit I found the most interesting. The book was mainly about her death and who caused it and it did overshadow a decent drug plot. Yes it was important for Charlie to get answers about her death and new powers but it did drag on a bit too much for me. The whole love life ex husband thing just bored me. I feel this book would have been better if the plot was tightened a bit and lost some of the padding.

There was a decent story in there which was well enough written but the slow sections just switched me off at times. The best characters were there it seems to rescue Charlie, who went from kickass female to idiot as we progressed, which was disappointing. I did finish the book but I decided not to continue with the series.
star rating photo: Three Star Rating 3stars.png


  1. I'm listening to an audiobook right now that has some really great, funny, laugh out loud parts, but then other parts are kind of slow and I just want it to hurry up. So I can understand what you're saying about this one. Great review!

    1. Thanks Lisa! It must be much harder listening to slow bits in an audio book-it's not like skimming pages to get past the boring bits! Actually, the only audio books I have are Harry Potter. I'd like to get more but they are expensive to buy when you don't know if the narration is good!

  2. Hmm, interesting. I had it out of the library at one point, but it never tempted me quite enough!

    1. It had the potential to be something good but those boring parts just slowed it too much for me. I hate when books don't deliver on what they promise!