So having a two-year-old means I get to spend much less time reading and writing reviews than I used to. Therefore, I have decided that on occasion (or on a fairly regular basis perhaps, depending on my reading speed and as limited by the self-imposed rules I will list below) I will be posting reviews of books in the same series where the review is for one or two (or more) of the books all at the same time.
I set some ground rules for myself however. And so you know what they are here goes:
1. I’ll never post a review for more than three books;
2. I will never review a book that’s just come out (will define that as having been within the last 18 months) with another;
3. The last in the series will always get a review of its own;
4. I will never combine reviews where installments are written by different authors (caveat: if they are in an anthology-like single volume, all is fair for a single review); and
5. I will never combine reviews when one of the books was received from an author or netgalley (or similar) in exchange for an honest review (I always review them too – even if it takes a little while, I believe if I get the book in exchange for the review, it deserves to be written. Sometimes it just takes a little time to get to the book on my to read list and sometimes it takes a little longer for me to plan my reviews).
Now, with that out of the way, let’s talk a little about the first two of the Ancient Legends series by Jayde Scott. The first, titled “A Job From Hell” and the second, titled “Doomed”, were interesting. They certainly challenged my classification system in that they have vamps, demons, ghosts and who knows what else as part of the “Lore Court”. They had promising covers, (yes, I judge books by their covers. Or at least it’s part of how I choose what to read next, by how excited the cover gets me. Call me superficial. I don’t care.) and kinda crazy names – at least the original name of the second book was kinda crazy. It was clear from the blurbs, covers and titles that these would be right up my alley. Or at least they sit in my favorite genre. After reading them, it seems to me that they suffer a little though because it felt like the author wanted them to be adult PNR (there’s no steamy scenes it was just a sense I had from some of the disjointedness and light speed courtship that most often occurs in the adult PNR category) but they aren’t. We have an ancient vamp with a 17 year old girl (Twilight, anyone?). and, in some cases I also thought that this felt like Twilight fan-fiction… with a first published date of 2011, that’s not impossible… although they weren’t quite as terribly written as Twilight (dialogue and potential was much better here not to mention that whole stay-away-from-me-no-I-can’t-resist-you-flip-flopping-so-often-I-am-nauseated didn’t happen here) in some ways and more terribly written in others (more holes in the world building here).
As installments go, they both had some things going for them and they both had some things that made them just ok. In the first, Amber gets a job (because her brother Dallas filed out an application for her) as a housekeeper. Turns out the guy she is keeping house for is a vampire. And he’s some sort of bounty hunter for the Lore Court. He has some friends who are also vamps. It started out super spooky – with the cab driver not willing to take Amber all the way to the house and a mysterious housekeeper. And then it turned pretty campy. Yep, like Buffy campy. I was expecting it to be spookier like Anna Dressed in Blood (which was spooky and creepy, even if not THE spookiest). Instead, these turned into a caricature. Oh well. They weren’t terrible, they just weren’t what I expected. They both lacked a little in the fill-me-in department. What I mean is that the missing plot points don’t seem to be driving much of an overall mystery or anything but I still feel like I have big gaps in what I know about the world these characters are in and the rules they live by. What exactly is the Lore Court for example? And what happened with Rebecca? Still not answered. Very formulaic in nature, at least with the first, as we have Amber the mortal falls for Aidan the vampire and he falls maaaaadddddlllllyyyyy for her, like overnight. All the secrecy and rule breaking flies out the window in less time then it takes for Aidan to tell Amber that the second floor of his mighty mansion is off limits. And why the race that Amber gets swept up into even exists? Who knows and by the end, I didn’t really care enough for it to bother me.
Although I did expect to learn more in book 2. Which by the way was originally titled Beelzebub Girl – and I totally liked that title better! That one was all about Cass and Dallas. Cass, who turns out to be a fallen angel and Satan’s daughter. She is being groomed by daddy to take over the family business one day (yep, he wants her to run Hell) but she’s really still to good since half her nature is angel. There’s all sorts of shenanigans going on here, and it’s even campier than the first. Like it makes Buffy look like Oscar winning drama worthy. I mean really, telling Dallas that Hell is Disneyland? And Dallas even pretending to believe her? Sheesh. Makes those characters both seem like total idiots. But, all in all, still an amusing little read. Lucifer really makes this worth the read – he’s a typical dad trying to scare off his daughter’s potential suitor. And not in a scary “I AM LUCIFER” kind of way. No, it was a fun, I am just a typical Dad doing slightly odd things to run him off kind of way. So, it was in some ways a better read. Even if it was most fun because of the way Lucifer is written. Cass’s curse, I still don’t get. And Dallas is big trouble at the end. So, I guess it means I need to read the next books to see what happen.
They were fun, quick little reads. Not wonderfully written but not awful either. What they really lacked was the detailed world building that would set out all the rules, plug the holes of the plot, and give the characters room to grow. Hopefully the next installments will fix some of these things – or I may never make it to book #6.