Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Review of LOVE IS DARKNESS by Caroline Hanson

I hereby award this book 5 wings!

Read from September 29 to October 02, 2011

What to say about this book? Well if it was possible to give it more than 5 stars, you can trust me, I would. Why? Well let me explain:

When I first heard about this book, I took one look at the cover and thought it was SMOKING hot. That was the initial draw for me, because I like a book to have an enticing cover. Yes, I know you can still get a good story even with mediocre cover art, but it always helps if the cover is aesthetically pleasing.

Second of all, I read the 'blurb' on Amazon and it sounded like the sort of thing I would enjoy reading.

Valerie Dearborn is just after a normal, quiet life, but isn't likely to get one. Her father Nate and Jack (the boy she loves) are Hunters. This means they hunt and kill vampires.
Nate wants Val to help them, but the last thing she wants to do is get caught up in that life. It's dangerous, it's chaotic, and she just isn't that kind of girl. Or is she?

Val loves Jack and would do anything, give anything for him to be hers. He's 19 years old and is her father's apprentice. He came to America with them at the age of 13, and has been hunting with her father for the last 3 years. His own parents were killed by vampires and now he wants revenge.

One night, Jack takes Val out to hunt a vampire. She assumes he'll be her back-up and help her if anything should go wrong. So of course, when he doesn't help her out and she kills him herself, she is less than pleased.

Val has applied to the University of California, UCLA, UCSD, failing that she'd go to UD, anywhere that was away from home. She waits for the admission letters to arrive, knowing that if she's got in somewhere, she can get away from home, away from hunting vampires. The only thing that hurts is that she'll also be away from Jack. Oh how she loves him.

She gets into university, and is packing her stuff ready to leave, when Jack asks if she wants to do something for her last night. He suggests they play scrabble and order a pizza. She says she'd rather play Monopoly. So this is what they do. Only, Val decides she wants to play the drinking game version, so she grabs a bottle of tequila and two glasses.

I won't say any more about that particular part as I might spoil if for potential readers. All I will say is I laughed and I cried at this point of the book. In fact I cried twice within the first 25-30% of the book.

Val goes away to university, and for a while has the normal life she wanted. Until, that is, Lucas the 1600 year old vampire comes along. He wants her to do some work for him and leave her life behind. He agrees that if she works for him, he shall protect Nate and Jack. After all, he is a vampire, the very thing they hunt and kill.
Even though working for a vampire isn't Val's idea of fun, she has to agree, if only so that Lucas will not allow other vampires to kill her father or the boy she still loves.

I won't give away any more of the story. I just know you will enjoy it as much as I did. I laughed out loud, I cried, I wanted to rip Marion's head off (no I won't tell you who she is).

My favourite laugh out loud line from this book - "I paid for a croissant. If it is a human heart I shall be quite put out. And you would be required to share" - Lucas to Val after bringing her breakfast.

Caroline Hanson writes an intriguing story. It has twists and turns, ups and downs. I have to say, I read a lot of books in the same genre as this, and would make comparisons between this and Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse novels, and Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series.

My reasons for these comparisons? Well, Lucas has attributes that I could see in my mind's eye as very 'Eric Northman'. Although Eric is a viking and Lucas is not, I could definitely see Alex Skasgard playing the role of Lucas if Love Is Darkness were to be turned into a movie. The Lucas of my mind's eye suggests he has the same sort of features as well as the same no nonsense attitude.
Also, the way Val loves one man, but is intrigued by another, that is very Sookie-esque.
As for Anita Blake, well similar could be said really. Lucas has an attitude a little like Jean-Claude and is just as enticing.

I have to say, to me, these comparisons can only be thought of as complimentary, as both Charlaine Harris and Laurell K. Hamilton are amongst my favourite authors. If you also enjoy their work, then you MUST read this book.

For lovers of this genre, there is nothing within this book that would challenge your perceptions, there is nothing new per se, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. There is a time and place for the tried and trusted, every bit as much as there is a time and a place for the new and challenging. What this book is, is proof that Caroline Hanson
is an accomplished author and a "safe pair of hands" within the genre,
capable of taking the accepted conventions of the genre and weaving them into a tale that is compelling enough to make you not only forget but be glad that the author has not felt the need to bring anything new to the table.

The plot is clever, engaging, fast paced, funny and intriguing.
The characters are sassy, hot, funny, with relationships that make you unsure who to root for between the Hunter and the Hunted. This combination makes the book a real page turner in the best sense of the word and my inital thoughts upon finishing the book were "Thank God i only have to wait until December for the next installment."

Caroline Hanson has the makings of a best-selling author, and I look forward to Love Is Fear, the next book in December, as well as any future works she may produce.

All in all, I wish I could give this book at least 5 more stars. It was an action packed, fun filled story. With a sassy heroine, a hot-as-hell love interest, a bad-ass vamp whom you couldn't help but fall for. I don't know what to expect from Love Is Fear, or even what I want to happen. All I know is, this book ended on a bit of a cliffhanger, and it bodes well for the next book.

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