Friday, July 6, 2007

Scent of Darkness by Christina Dodd

Paranormal is a new direction for popular author Christina Dodd. I love almost all romance sub-genres but I'm partial to paranormal romance right now so I was jumping for joy at the prospect of one from an author like Dodd. Her historicals don't interest me anymore but I enjoy her contemporaries and the premise of this series sounded interesting.

Unfortunately, like so many of the new releases I've read lately, this one just didn't do it for me. It is actually the WORST of the three that I've given poor reviews lately. In fact, I'm not even going to spend time to summarize it.

Here's the blurb directly from her website:

A thousand years ago, Konstantine Varinski roamed the Russian steppes. Driven by his craving for power, he struck a terrible bargain. In return for the ability to change from a magnificent warrior to a predator that could hunt down his enemies and kill them, he promised his soul — and the souls of his descedents — to the devil.

Plain Ann Smith loves her handsome, dynamic boss, Jasha Wilde, but her daring plan to seduce him goes awry when she finds a black wolf warming itself before the fire. Before her horrified eyes, the wolf changes into the man she adores. She flees, he pursues, but they can't escape their destinies.

For Jasha is the descendant of Konstantine Varinski and Ann is the woman fated to break the curse that binds his soul. To find heaven in each other's arms, they have the devil to pay.

Now my rant:
First, my biggest problem was with the characters. I just plain didn't like either one of them so I didn't even CARE what happened to them. Ann is wishy-washy and whiny with some TSTL thrown in. Jasha is an arrogant ass. Plus, there was little to no real emotion or connection between the H/h. It was totally flat.

Throughout the whole book, and even in the end, it appears that Jasha wants Ann only because she found the icon and is a key to breaking the pact. Ann has adored Jasha for YEARS but we're not clued into why. He pretty much treats her crappy in small ways from the very beginning. For example: the man ADMITS that he knows she's wanted and loved him from the very beginning and yet he had her send flowers and notes to his various girlfriends and EVEN has her purchase an engagement ring so that he can propose to another woman. Come on... that's just cruel. Especially since he didn't do it specifically to discourage her from loving him or for some other 'noble' purpose... he's just a jerk.

Then there is the plot - it had a vaguely disorganized feeling about it, the pacing was choppy, and it just didn't flow smoothly. There were a lot of unanswered questions too. Like the brother that gave in to the darkness... HOW? What does it mean that he gave into the darkness? What happens then? Is he evil now? Raping and pillaging? Or does he just remain in his animal form all of the time? It's something that can happen to any of them and so is important even to this story - yet we're not told WHAT it means or how it happens. The world-building was just too vague and unfinished in this book.

The suspense was sadly lacking too, which is a bummer but Dodd has had trouble keeping the suspense going and believable in previous books so it's not terribly surprising. In past books, the romance and characters have kept me enthralled even when the suspense doesn't but since the characters and their lack of connection didn't work for me in this one, there was no help from that corner.

I know this is brief and maybe a bit vague but I'm not going to go on and on about why I didn't like this book, that's not helpful and it's a bit cruel to the author since there were so many things wrong with this book, in my opinion. I wish I could think of something positive to say about the book but I'm just coming up empty other than the fact that the premise (the legend, the pact, icons, and the mates whoare the only ones who can break the pact) is interesting. Book #2 is most definitely not on my auto-buy list anymore I'm feeling a bit pessimistic about whether Dodd can salvage the series.

Rating for this book: D

Anyone else who has read this want to chime in? I really want to hear what others think of the book!

I'm getting so frustrated with the poor quality of books that the established authors are putting out recently. The end of June/beginning of July release dates had many books of interest and so far I've been disappointed by 3 out of the 5 that I've bought.

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