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Thursday, September 24, 2009
Review: Scent of Darkness
Title: Scent of Darkness
Author: Christina Dodd
Page Count: 400 pages
Genre: Paranormal Romance
50 words or less: Years ago, a bad dude made a deal with the devil- changing into a wolf in exchange for a buttload of souls. Ann wants more out of life. Jasha wants to keep his family and their secrets safe. They have to work together if they want to end up together.
Scent of Darkness is the first book in the four book series Darkness Chosen, and overall I'm pleased with the book and how things turned out.
The cast of characters is very well developed and the gaps in characterization lead to questions that can be answered in future books. To be fair, I think I would find this annoying if I was reading this book right when it came out back in 2007, but now that I know that there are three other books I don't mind it at all.
Ann Smith, the heroine of the story and Jasha Wilder's administrative assistant, is a pretty complicated lady. She has a very tragic past that's had a huge role in shaping her present reality, but it hasn't stopped her from being successful in her own right. And yet, she's not really all that happy or content- what she really wants is a relationship and love from the dude that she's seriously ga ga for- her boss, Jasha Wilder.
Jasha, on the other hand, is successful, talented, handsome, and with business acumen to spare, but he's got a nasty, dirty little secret: he and all the dude in his family can turn into predators because of a deal one of his ancestors made with the devil. Ever since, all of their souls have been in jeopardy because part of the deal was the destruction of holy objects held dear to Jasha's family. When Ann inadvertantly discovers one of the holy objects previously thought to be lost forever, all hell brokes loose (no pun intended) and a host of problems and possibilities immediately present themselves.
The sparks definitely fly between Ann and Jasha, even though they both try to deny certain facets of their relationship, albeit in their own way. One of my favorite things about the book, though, was the dynamic that existed between Jasha and the other members of his family, and the unique and funny way in which Ann fit right into that dynamic. They joked together, stood by one another, annoyed the crap out of each other, and basically acted just the way that lots (dare I say, most) families act in real life. The family dynamics alone made me want to read the
rest of the series.
I waxed positively vitriolic in my review of Desire Untamed about victimization of characters in books. Scent of Darkness is a good illustration of how a book can feature a strong hero and an on-the-timid-side heroine without either of those characters being demeaned. Do both characters screw up and make decisions that are misinterpreted throughout the course of the book? Sure, but there was never a moment while reading that I felt as grossed out and disgusted as I did with my previous book. Ann is struggling to find out what she wants from a relationship; Jasha is struggling to be a better person than his pedigree allows for. Both of them find strength and encouragement from the other, which is always nice.
My biggest criticism of the book, and it tends to happen for me with most first books in a series, is that there are a lot of loose ands and facets of the story that don't fully get explained. What's up with Ann's tattoo? What's the deal with Firebird? The fourth son? The dude at the end of the book? Hopefully all this will get explained in the next three installments.
Overall Grade: A-