Tuesday, June 4, 2013

DARK CHILD by Adina West

Dark Child
Adina West

Rating: D
Perfect for fans of The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, this intriguing urban fantasy follows the story of Kat Chanter, who discovers that the world she knows is controlled by ancient creatures who feed on blood. And she might just be one of them ...

Lately things have been getting weird for pathology technician Kat Chanter. She’s been craving raw meat, and having dreams so realistic they’re scary. When she accepts a job offer from the prestigious Hema Castus Research Institute, she hopes she’ll have the chance to discover what’s wrong with her, but instead, her move to New York thrusts her headlong into a treacherous hidden world, where the wrong move could be fatal . . .

Tarot, witchcraft and astrology all take on a frightening resonance in Dark Child's richly imagined alternative reality where vampiric beings live among us, hidden by magic. Dark romance tangles with paranormal fantasy and page-turning suspense in this enthralling tale of ‘dark child’ Kat Chanter, half-human and half-vampire, who has woken an ancient prophecy and must face a formidable destiny.

My thoughts on the book:
Dark Child: The Omnibus Edition is a collection of the four small installments that make up this series. While the concept is unique and intriguing, and the pacing is pretty spot on, this novel lacks in character and relationship development. Also, the writing is lackluster at best, and the plot is scattered and illogical at times. I didn't have the highest hopes for this book, but I thought it would be better than it was. 

The character development was non-existent, as was the relationship growth. I still don't feel like I got to know Kat at all, and she was supposedly the main character. Likewise, the romantic interest, Alek, also remained a mystery, as did their relationship. I didn't care what happened with them because I didn't feel like I knew them. Also, the whole attraction thing seemed like a waste of time. Then there was Amarok, and I'm not sure what he had to do with anything either. The only thing I know is that he somehow had even LESS of a personality than Kat and Alek. The characters clumsily navigated their spaces, but they were just a series of actions. The characters personalities and physical characteristics were lacking to the point that I couldn't even picture them in my mind. So much more could have been done with these characters to make them believable and at least somewhat easy to relate to. 

The narration style is third person limited at times and third person omniscient at others. Unlike Jane Austen who used free indirect discourse and switched seamlessly through the characters' consciousnesses, West clumsily navigates the narrative, leaving the reader unsure of who they are supposed to be following at the time. Furthermore, West uses many British/Australian English colloquialisms, yet the book is set in West Virginia and New York for the majority of the story. I could not obtain a willing suspension of disbelief due to the fact that these colloquialisms caused me to think, "this can't be set in America with an American citizen as the main character." Additionally, some of the phrases, such as "pot plant" instead of "potted plant" left me thinking that people were growing illegal drugs in corporate offices. All of this detracted from the story. 

The plot itself was scattered, and I'm not entirely sure that West actually knew where she was going with this book. It was clear early on that the story had not been outlined in the slightest, and the world-building was completely lacking. West tried her best to explain things, but her explanations were not clear, concise, or believable. The pacing was all right, but the ending was awful. Instead of having a satisfying conclusion for the series, the story just stopped. Nothing much was really resolved, and I felt like the point at which the narrative stopped should have been in the middle of the book, not the end. Obviously this ending irritated me, and at that point (after wasting 3 days reading this novel), I decided that I will not read anything else by this author. 

Overall, I'd say steer clear of this book. While I read the entire thing because the concept intrigued me, and I kept hoping things would actually develop and make sense, the ending left me feeling as if I wasted way too much time on a book that has no development or conclusion. Unfortunately, this is a book that needs to be missed. The only reason I gave it a D rating instead of an F is because it somehow managed to hold my interest until the end. 

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