Darkness in the Shadows by Chris Little

Natalie’s parents weren’t the nurturing type—and she has the physical and emotional wounds to prove it. For sixteen years she’s hidden behind a wall of sarcasm and decadent desserts, but now her father is back, and she has only one thought: to kill him before he can hurt the family that took her in.

But there’s more to his darkness than even his own daughter can understand, and a gun is no defense against magic that can raise the dead.

It turns out those scars he left on Natalie’s back were more than just a sadistic hobby. Now her father demands that she finish a ritual so ancient, so terrifying, that even the vampires and werewolves are nervous.

Can anyone protect her?


Rating: 2/5

I received this book from Netgalley a couple of days ago. I was intrigued by the dust jacket description, and was anxious to dig right in—after all, I enjoy a good bout of necromancy now and then.

Unfortunately, I genuinely believe that if I hadn’t read the description, I wouldn’t have had a clue as to what was going on. The writing seems to assume you already have a decent idea of Natalie’s history, which would be fine if the teaser bits of information made a little bit more sense. There were points where I think we slipped into Natalie’s memories rather than present-day, but I found the switch unclear and jarring. I’m generally fine with bouncing back and forth in the time stream to tell the story, but the execution is critical. I found myself generally confused.

As far as characterization goes, I quite liked Natalie’s voice, but I found her very flat as a character. I didn’t feel that she had realistic reactions to the events going on around her, at least at the beginning—at times I felt like she was completely void at emotion, and at other times she was getting angry for something that wasn’t entirely clear to me.

I had similar issues with the dialog. I frequently had to guess at who was talking because it both wasn’t called out by anything other than a pronoun (which is of little help when two females are talking) and the supporting characters had a similar voice at Natalie. Again, I didn’t understand her motivations enough to be able to pick her apart based on her reactions or knowledge.

This was an interesting concept though—the story builds up to be somewhat of a mystery/horror, I guess, though the pacing is a bit off to be particularly effective at either. I think making the background info a little easier to follow would have helped with that, as well as some practice at building suspense. I don’t need a particularly high amount of action to be satisfied with a book, but I need something to keep me engaged.

I ended up skimming most of the book once I resigned myself to staying confused and lost. To be honest, I think Little has a lot of potential as an author, but I would highly recommend some practice with dialog (I might try my hand at some screenwriting-esque scenes where you have just dialog and no narration to be able to show who is speaking). I think just that would go a long way toward cleaning this up, because if you can pull that off successfully, everything else I’ve commented on should improve with it.

Posted on September 2, 2013, in Urban Fantasy/Paranormal and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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