Review: Wild Darkness by Lauren Dane

Format: Mass Market paperback
Pub Date: November 2013
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
Length: 277 plus glossary
POV: 3rd, past
FTC: Received for free at an RT Convention.

Given my current head space post-election, this was probably THE WORST book to read. Really. It's a paranormal romance, sorta, set in the middle of a political war where the US government is considering trying to strip anyone with paranormal characteristics of their citizenship and shipping them off to camps or exterminating them. Hate crimes and bigotry abound.

Yeah. Definitely the wrong book for right now, but I finished it anyway.

This is apparently part of a series, and although I've read plenty of other Lauren Dane books, I hadn't stumbled across these before. The series part is a tad important, because this book drops you pretty much in the middle of everything: political and civil unrest, relationships, etc. The backstory is pretty thin, so it feels like you've missed a bunch of set up. Because you have.

Another weird thing about the book is that the romance is secondary and almost-but-not-quite-fated-mate fast. I mean, we're told the two main characters have known each other awhile, but there is so little page time devoted to the relationship that it just feels odd. Also, the conflict is completely external in the book, so the relationship goes from zero to married by midway through the book. Which is, well, weird.

I've read other action books by Dane, so I know she can pull off some very complicated stuff and not drag it down, but this book, considering its length, was a drag. Even with the multiple tangents and secondary story lines, the pacing felt off. Scenes that should have been exciting were slow. Scenes where I expected a slower pace were rushed.

The characters were a bright spot, though, particularly the secondary ones. Faine, a shifter of sorts, and Helena, a security expert and witch, are ok, but I was far more interested in the romance between two Senators. Maybe that was on purpose, but those scenes stole the show in both emotion, pacing, and characterization.

Bottom line is that if you're in the right mood, this book will probably be just fine. For me, though, it was just too on point with what's going on in our world right now, and I struggled to finish. I wanted some more optimism, and more romance, and I just didn't get it.

My Grade: B-

The Blurb:

The bombing that almost killed Owen witch Molly Ryan has worsened the tensions between the humans and the Others. While the Others desperately campaign to prevent the passage of a law that would strip their people of all rights, the human separatists develop an agenda far worse than anyone imagined. With her position more precarious than ever, security head Helena Jaansen finds herself relying more and more heavily on her personal guard, Faine Leviathan, and, despite her better instincts, falling more deeply into the intimate connection that they share.
As Helena and Faine’s explosive passion grows, a deadly separatist plot is discovered, one that could mean ultimate destruction for the Others, and war breaks out between the two opposing factions. With the Others forced into hiding, Helena must overcome her fear of repeating past failures to save her people—and her heart—before it’s too late…

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