Sunday, October 12, 2008

Night Falls Darkly Review

Kim Lenox has arrived on the scene with a news series that takes place in late 19th century Victorian England. Her Shadow Guards series is about a selective group of immortals who have the responsibility of eliminating those souls who are wicked and so very evil. I guess you can compare this series to a paranormal Law and Order or CSI with a historical twist. The first book in this series, Night Falls Darkly, is about the killer, Jack the Ripper who wants to transcend into the Inner Realm and wreak havoc among the immortals there, just like he is doing to the human mortals in London. For some reason he is only targeting London’s East End prostitutes to murder. Since the London police have their hands tied with this killer, there is only one who can stop him, and that is Archer Black, an immortal who works as a Reclaimer for the Shadow Guard. Archer is not alone and has back up in the form of two immortal siblings, Selene, who sleeps with snakes and eats documents, ink and all, to become more knowledgeable against those they must destroy, and her brother Mark, who is Archer’s second in command. Mark likes to one up Archer so he can come out on top and receive the praise he thinks he deserves. These three can hardly stand each other, but because they are trying to achieve one common goal, they must try and get along.

Archer comes across as dark, broody and cold, but he has a weakness, and that is Elena Whitney who he brought back from the dead. Two years ago he was chasing after a rapist, and Elena was caught in the middle. Elena has amnesia because Archer erased all her memories. She is the ward of the mysterious Lord Black whom she has never met. Elena has quite the life of luxury because Lord Black is obscenely rich and she has many things at her disposal. Elena wants to meet her benefactor to thank him, and make him aware that she wants to become a doctor. For the time being she volunteers as a nurse in a hospital close to Whitechapel where most of the Ripper’s killings have taken place. Elena doesn’t care that her life could be in danger because she must help those unfortunate enough not to have good health care. Then out of the blue Lord Black comes to pay a visit.

Elena is already half in love with her guardian because she has imagined what he looks like and how things will be when they will meet. Archer and Elena’s first meeting does not go the way Elena thought it would because he insults her by acting as if he doesn’t know who she is and can’t even remember her name. Elena is heartbroken. Archer feels the same way because he is lusting after Elena, but can’t act on his desires because he is this immortal with all the weight of the world on his shoulder. But that never stopped two characters such as these from denying themselves just because of a bit of an age difference.

For the next few hundred pages or so, Archer and Elena go on their merry way where Elena will continue to find herself in dangerous places just because she feels the need to be super nurse, and Archer goes out late at night where he tries his best to locate Jack, but always fails. Jack is always one step ahead, and not Archer or his fellow underling crime fighters can stop him. Things go from bad to worse when Jack realizes how much Elena means to Archer, and then begins to target her.

Night Falls Darkly should be a chilling atmospheric tale with great action and a wonderful romance. I have no doubt that readers who enjoy the Jack the Ripper legend will enjoy this twist that Kim Lenox has written. And it was also nice to see a change in the setting, especially with Victorian England rather then the same old Regency wallpaper reads being published. But even with these pluses, I found myself finding too many minuses to really want to continue on with the next book in this series. I simply could not keep myself interested with the characters or even the mystery itself. Simply put, I was bored.

My main pet peeve was with Archer and Elena. Archer is just like every other hero I have read in past paranormal romance. His motivations were not clear enough for me to understand. I felt like Archer arrived on the scene and you take him as he is. We had no back story of who he was or why he acts the way he does. We know he cares for Elena, so much so to save her life, but why? What is about Elena that makes him care? I found Elena to be too perfect, especially with her, “I have to save the world!” Mary Sunshine attitude. When we are first introduced to Elena, she is much like Archer, where we have no clue who she really is because of her accident. And when she finally remembers everything, because Archer gives her back her memories back, I felt I was robbed. This build up was very weak in regards to Elena. I also found the chemistry between the two lacking. The majority of the time these two hardly interact with each other, and when they did, Elena would snipe at Archer. He in turn, would just stand much like a little boy with his head down because he had to deny his feelings for Elena. He can’t have Elena because of who he is. Well, we all know where that will go. And when these two have their love scene that is expected, it was not the bells and whistles I was expecting but more like a kazoo that lost its wax paper, as you blow, hardly any sound can be heard. Perhaps it was just me, but my reaction to their love story was more “meh” than anything.

The horrible serial killer, Jack, pops up every so often to taunt Archer. Again I couldn’t find any real enjoyment in that part of the story because Jack is a one-dimensional character with no real traits. This may have been done on purpose because Jack the Ripper is still very much an enigma that has never been solved.

I still give credit to Kim Lenox for coming up with the idea for Night Falls Darkly, but for this reader, I found it just a bit too flat for my reading tastes. (Penguin, October 2008)

2 stars out of 5 stars

Katiebabs (KB)


Brie said...

I've been looking forward to reading this book. The reviews have been a little mixed, though. I'll probably still give it a try. Thanks for the honest review!

Shannon said...

"Like a kazoo that lost it's wax paper" I love it! Great description. I'm sorry to hear that this wasn;t to your liking. The plot sounds like it had potential, but she missed the mark on execution.

Anna said...

I almost picked this one up the other day. But I'm kinda burned out on the Jack the Ripper story.

I have awarded you & Kristie with the I love your blog award, check out my latest post. :)

Ana said...

Oh, I think this is the first time we disagree so much! *g*

I loved the setting, the atmosphere, loved the whole mythology surrounding the Shadow Guards and yep, loved Archer and Elena too!

I felt Elena's need to be a doctor a very interesting choice for a Victorian heroine- I felt her urge to be someone out of her own accord very poignant. The same thing goes for Archer - a man who last lived countless lifetimes without connecting to hardly anyone - until he meets Elena.

Yep, I loved it alright. : )

Amy C said...

I'm in total agreement. I was sadly disappointed with this book. I loved the cover and had high hopes for it. But it didn't do anything for me. I might still buy the second. Have to see when it comes out.

Katiebabs said...

So Ana, your kazoo was working better than mine? LOL

Barbara said...

Great review, Katie. I have to say I'm disappointed this book sounded good. I'm also a sucker for covers and this one looked great :( But, like they say, never judge a book by it's cover.

Oh and BTW, I have awarded both you and Kristie with the "I Love Your Blog".

kmont said...

Oh, sorry you didn't like it, but glad you gave it a try!

AnimeJune said...

I've been reading the reviews, too, and they seem kinda mixed - but from what you say, I might not want to read it. I have a pet peeve against romantic heroes who cover their hidden feelings by being rude or insulting. What's to like about a guy who would rather be a jerk than admit his feelings?

Katiebabs said...

Archer was sure broody. I gues after a few thousand years, you get cranky.

naida said...

I have been reading mixed reviews on this one. The cover does make it look good. If I dont like the characters, I wont enjoy the book.
Great review.