The Dark Heroine by Abigail Gibbs
Grade: 1.5 stars out of 5
Published: March 5, 2013; trade paperback; William Morrow
FTC: ARC was provided by publisher for blog tour
Oh how I wanted to love this novel. My favorite genre is paranormal romance, and this was up my alley. The synopses was something that I wold pick up in a heartbeat, but as I've learned, the synopses does not always agree with the book.
When Violet Lee witnesses a killing in front of her, she is taken captive by none other than Kaspar Varn, heir to the throne of a vampire kingdom. Together, Violet and Kaspar will succumb to fate and their passion.
Smack dab on the cover of The Dark Heroine, it is claimed that this is “The Sexist Romance You’ll Read This Year”. Quite honestly, you might say this is indeed sexy; it is full of kisses, sex, rape, and don’t forget the orgies. Vampires, however, don’t seem consider the time and place for most of these actions though. Just a fair warning, all of that does occur. The book was not graphic though, but there are many cusses.
I do enjoy Gibbs’s world building. Her idea of multiple dimensions and parallel connections and a prophecy of nine women tying them all together were intriguing. It is something a little different from the other paranormal romances I’ve read. I also appreciate her slow introduction into the world; there’s nothing more boring than reading pages and pages of information just thrown in your face. The Dark Heroine, however, has only covered 1 dimension in which the vampires reside. The sequel will cover where the magicians reside, so it is a slow world building, but definitely more gratifying than word vomiting.
The pacing to The Dark Heroine was awkward and clunky. The shifts between politics and romance were abrupt. In one chapter there’s talk about going into war and fighting hunters, the next chapter some vampire guy is hitting on Violet and asking her to a dance/ball. What?
Anyhow. Violet Lee is not one of my favorite heroines. She’s a damsel-in-distress and constantly forgets that is a hostage that may cause a war. She’s spunky and has plenty of lip, but I find Violet so frustrating and too naïve. In a hypothetical scenario where I was held captive in a building full of people who can kill me and happily drink my blood, and my death can cause a full on war, I would not play a prank on someone who does seem to like me very much. I love sleep and all, but if it was between my life and not getting a good night’s rest, I would choose life. There is a time and place to play pranks. There is also Violet’s thinking that they should treat her better. I laugh and laugh because she is a hostage and that thought pattern eludes her. Throughout the novel, the vampires do treat her kindly, but when they threaten and are physically rough she cries. Get over it. (As a side not, Violet’s eyes are violet, but there is no real significance to her eye color so I do not quite understand why it was mentioned so often.)
Then there’s Kaspar. I have few more colorful words than jerk, a term most commonly used by Violet in describing Kaspar. (Really, is jerk all that you can come up with?) Kaspar is the typical bad boy turned good guy by the right girl. He is obnoxious, a manslut, arrogant with an ego that can fill the room, with bits (tiny bits) that show him to be gentle and caring. There are some chapters when Kaspar’s emotions are at a high that it will be in his POV which offer some insights. I wished these chapters were more frequent as many of his actions were at odds to what he says and what (he says) he feels.
The romance between Violet and Kaspar appeared to be forced. Riding on the fate track works and calling it love was contrived. I found the foundation of the romance to lean more on lust and the rest (conversations, intimate moments, commonness) hastily thrown on top.
The side characters on average were eh. I liked some, but many were cliché. Violet’s best friend is of course beautiful and flirty. To the readers, she doesn’t sound like a very good friend. Kaspar’s best friend, Fabian, doesn’t sound quite a great friend either. And I do not, do not, understand why being rejected by a girl is a good to participate in an orgy. I would name more, but the list will get too long.
In all, I would most likely not read the sequel toThe Dark Heroine. While I find the world building fascinating, the characters and writing style did not click for me. I rolled my eyes and scoffed too many times for me to consider this book something I would want to read again.
On another note, The Dark Heroine is pitched for lovers of Twilight and A Discovery of Witches. I have not read A Discovery of Witches so I can vouch for that comparison, but comparing The Dark Heroine to Twilight is pushing it.
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