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DNF Explanation: Dark Kiss


I kind of hijacked this idea from Small Review, because I think it's such a smart way to write up my thoughts without actually reviewing the book in question.

Dark Kiss by Michelle Rowen
Stopped at 72% in e-ARC

CON: Typical paranormal book
You know how it goes: Ordinary girl plus equally ordinary best friend have a lifelong, sisterly bond which triumphs over boys and stuff, OBVS. Girl A discovers herself to be a paranormal creature one way or the other, and *gasp* WHAT DO YOU KNOW? A boy with all the answers and a weird—to say the least—background crops up just as things begin to get wonky. He’s a supernatural creature, there’s this ugly, daunting mess, a divine mission, yada yada. And, OF COURSE, Girl A finds herself thrust in the middle of it. And, no, she doesn’t take her issues or this wacky situation to Girl B though they are THE BESTEST FRIENDS EVER. But Girl A does go off with this strange guy she just met to be part of his lunatic quest.

And it goes on. I don’t know if it’s the paranormal romance genre in general that’s driving me bananas with its formulaic plot lines or merely the books I’ve been reading, Dark Kiss by Michelle Rowen included, that has me so displeased with this story. All I know is: I kept waiting for originality to strike, but Rowen kept dropping the hammer.

CON: The oh so special heroine who is actually not
I keep seeing Samantha described as “perfect” or “nice,” when, in actuality, I perceived her as neither. She’s the ordinary girl desperate yearning for male attention so that can feel complete loved. She has a crush on the totally obvious good-for-nothing popular boy who turns out to be more bad news than she could’ve expected, and gets herself into a deep load of shizz after only a minimal acquaintance. She’s naïve and definitely not up to par on her Creep-o-Meter when it comes to this hot, dangerous loser guy.

She has a hearty dose of sarcasm in the blood, but what YA paranormal heroine doesn’t these days? Either it’s getting harder and harder for characters to come off as original, or Sam has nothing about her that sets her apart. She is ordinary, but not in that fascinating way that makes you want to read about her and her escapades with supernatural beings of otherworlds. I could see sparks of bravery or smarts in her depths, but nothing about her particularly jumped out at me. She seemed far too gullible and distressed over the male species to really appreciate her. Her appeal, the chemistry with the love interest—none of it makes sense, because she isn’t really an intriguing person but for her background and involvement in the Big Mission.

CON: The love interest
Which brings me to Bishop. I didn’t get what was so awesome and attractive about this guy. WE BARELY GET TO KNOW HIM. All we do know is he’s some lost celestial being who has very nearly lost his marbles and has been especially selected for the Big Mission. All we do really know is how wonderful he looks, and all we’re exposed to is his demanding nature and that innate goodness about him. His personality came across as so bland, and rarely livened up the dialogue throughout.

My interest in Bishop really lay with his connection to Kraven, and they’re long, entangled history that no one seems to want to share. He carries many mysteries and the answers Samantha craves, but he didn’t stick with me, fill me up with neither desire nor swoon as opposed to a mild annoyance at the steady reminders of his physical perfection.

PRO: Dark, urban setting
For some reason, when I think of Dark Kiss by Michelle Rowen and its setting, I visualize cities like Chicago as the backdrop. Kind of dark, edgy, and, for some reason, rainy as well. It feels very atmospheric, sort of consuming your focus with wandering imaginings of what this place might actually look like. But dark, urban settings totally rock for these equally dark paranormal stories. It gives the story that much more of an edge, and so much playing room.

PRO: Kraven
I know it’s so cliché of me, but there’s a reason why I liked Luc Caine from Lisa Desrocher’s Personal Demons so much. The bad boy with the clever, snarky quips and dangerous, intimidating demeanor always wins out over the (relatively) nice guy. Kraven is a demon and one of the two who make up the team of four supernatural beings responsible for this divine mission to restore balance and blah blah blah. The point is this guy knows how to burst a moment, anger, deflate, put down, fight—I can’t say I love the guy, but he is certainly an improvement to the rest of the cast. He has a presence in the story where the others do not, and I found myself forming a quick attachment to his character.

Bottom line

However, even Kraven and all his smart ass remarks were not enough to keep me from throwing down the white flag and metaphorically shutting this e-ARC. What’s worse, I had such high hopes, such is the way with all brand new paranormal romance releases.

I wasn't impressed, wasn’t moved or stimulated. It’s not as if Dark Kiss by Michelle Rowen is a bad book, completely poorly-written. Because that isn’t true. It’s just so been there, done that that I couldn’t bear to keep wading through the predictability.
Have you read Dark Kiss by Michelle Rowen yet? Do you agree? Disagree? With what? Let me know down below with a comment!

Got something specific in mind? Dare I believe I might NOT have covered something you wish to know? If so, let me know down in the comments section. Don't be shy!


Sam @ Realm of Fiction said...

It's difficult to really appreciated something once you've seen it done over and over again. I can understand why this was a DNF for you from your points there. I read a character interview somewhere and Kraven stood out to me quite a bit, so I think I might still give this a go just to meet him. ;) It doesn't sound like one to rush out for though. 

Caitlin said...

I really enjoyed this post Asher! It was funny and yet didn't cross the line into rude, and you completely outlined WHY you didn't like it, which is good. I find it so hard with paranormal books atm, some of them are amaaazing and others are just cliche after cliche, and the problem is you can't usually tell which one the book will be until you've started it! Such a shame you didn't enjoy a book you had high hopes for

Cait x

Jessi @ Auntie Spinelli Reads said...

So glad to see I wasn't the only one who didn't like it. I had about the same problems, especially with Bishop. Kraven was the only character I actually liked. I was somehow able to finish it, and you're not missing much. I felt nothing for this book and was bored by it. 
It's a shame, really, because I read Nightshade and Bloodlust by her and loved them.

Andrea Modolo said...

I'm sorry to hear you didn't like this one. Your review definitely makes sense though. A lot of paranormal books are taking on the same kind of plot. Thanks for being so honest :)