Wednesday, 19 February 2014

First Drop of Crimson (Night Huntress World #1) by Jeaniene Frost

 

So, I read the first two Night Huntress books, and they really did not work for me. But, for the most part, my flist is into Frost's writing, so I thought, "Maybe I just didn't like the main characters, it's been a while, with two other protagonists it's possible I'll like her writing." As it turns out I was wrong.

Anyway, on to the plot. 
Denise, Cat's bff, lost her husband a year ago. Since then she's lost her aunt, cousin, and she's just returning from said cousin's funeral with another cousin when a demon attacks him, kills him, and turns into a dog.
She tries calling her bff Cat, but all her numbers are disconnected, as are Bone's, and Cat's mother's, because apparently Cat is in New Zealand but couldn't give her bff her new number. Great friend!

So Denise is forced to call Spade, a vampire with whom she's uncomfortable but who, of course, is totally taken with her for no reason whatsoever. 
End the call after he promises to check in on her, and the demon, Raum, shows up, Denise blabs like a little snitch, and then he brands her. She now has to find her ancestor Nathanial, who promised the demon his soul and then didn't pay up. What happens if she doesn't find Nathanial?
"A shudder went through Denise. “Then Raum’s essence keeps growing in me… until I turn into a shape-shifter like him.”"
That is... AWESOME! Why are you upset?!
Are you telling me this demon branded her by effectively giving her access to his power?! What. That is the dumbest thing I've ever read.

Anyway the thing is, 3% in and Denise is already tstl... 
You just saw a member of your family be murdered by a shapeshifter after they told you two other family members were murdered as well, and you go home and open the door to a creepy child covered in blood without thinking twice?
Obviously, in the real world, yeah, go ahead help the child. But this is a woman in a fictional universe who is aware of vampires, ghouls, and now a SHAPESHIFTER OUT TO KILL HER FAMILY, AND WHO JUST MURDERED ONE THAT VERY SAME NIGHT. I mean...

Then we have Spade, or Charles, or whatever. Whose "hair was pure black, lifting in what looked to be a natural spike off his crown to hang in shiny waves down to his shoulders" and whose skin "had the beautiful crystal paleness that marked him as a vampire". But hands down my favourite descriptor:
"Brows the same inky color framed burnt-amber eyes."
Shut up, it's fucking brown.



The British slang, as in the Night Huntress series, is cringe worthy to the nth degree.
Another problem: this supposedly should be possible to be read as a standalone, being a spin-off? But I'm often lost, Denise has a number of flashbacks to things I either didn't read that far, or completely forgot about. Spade does the same thing.

There are some books which do a lot of tell instead of showing, this book does telling, and telling, and telling, AND SHOWING: "The growl in his voice told her how furious he was."
“No one knows you called me. No one knows where you are. I could have your body buried before sunset, then I wouldn’t need to fret about Crispin risking himself for you. So you might not want to dare me again to prove that I care for my friend.”
Wow this dude is an asshole... And just to drive it home, when she's laying down ground rules as to what interactions between them she is comfortable with:
“Are you done?” Her chin thrust out, as did her shoulders.
Spade’s smile widened. If she knew how her aggressive stance made her breasts jut out even more enticingly, he rather doubted she’d keep it.
Not only is he an asshole, but the writing is littered with cringe worthy PR lines...
"Would she taste like honey and jasmine if he kissed her? Or would she have a richer, darker flavor, like the depth of her spirit he caught glimpses of in her eyes?"


But for ~some reason~ Denise finds herself wanting his attention?
"The least he could do was take the time to appreciate how the costume he’d foisted on her looked. Or notice that she’d done her hair and makeup in a very flattering way, if she said so herself. She might be getting introduced as property, but she’d make sure people knew this property was high-end, dammit."

Then we're told Denise suffers from PTSD. Okay, vampires killed her husband, it's plausible. But she has panic attacks only when they're plot convenient, and just brushes them off and ~bravely~ faces things that are so triggering for her, they just gave her a panic attack mere moments ago. It's not just a matter of having to go through these things, she purposely chooses to witness triggering events because... because.
That's not how these things go. This is a sensitive subject and was treated very poorly.

Not only that, it cements Denise as a tstl character: "Denise couldn’t tear her eyes away from the two vampires circling each other, even though her common sense screamed at her not to watch." Girl... I don't even know...

But this book's crowning glory has to be:

Spade placed the driver’s accent. “Possa-o ir devagar guiar, por favor?” he said, speaking louder.
The driver gave him a wide smile that revealed a lack of recent dental attention. “Oh, fala portuguesa? Nenhum problema,” he exclaimed, easing off the accelerator.
“What language is that?” Denise asked, distracted enough to unclench her fists.
“Portuguese.”
She looked impressed.


LOL IRL NO, IT'S NOT!
Ms. Frost, there is a difference between Portuguese and Google Translate Portuguese, and this just perfectly illustrated to your readers that you cared so little for this book you couldn't even bother with proper research or, at the very least, consulting a native speaker.

Embarrassing mistakes aside, this book is just one PR cliché after another...

There is practically no world building, no character development - in fact the characters are just the usual PR cardboard cliché, the plot is boring and predictable, there is a lack of basic research...
Even if I'd just started reading PR this wouldn't have cut it. Frost's Night Huntress books (which I disliked and gave 1.5 stars tops) were better than this, so I don't even know... Did her writing abilities devolve from merely bad to cringe-worthy?

I can not recommend this book to anyone.

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