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Tuesday, June 06, 2006

***** Twilight Hunger by Maggie Shayne. Contemporary paranormal romance.

Wow. This is one of those cases where I seriously underestimated what to expect from a book. I was expecting a typical vampire romance--an entertaining 4-star read. I got instead a fairly complex story and characters whose lives don't begin and end within the pages of the book.

There are two plot lines going on simultaneously, which could have been confusing at first, but was handled well. In one, Max is an adventurous/foolhardy young woman who finds evidence that the government has been studying vampires when their facility burns down. In the other, Morgan, a young screenwriter with writer's block and a terminal disease, discovers a vampire's diary and transforms it into a series of films.

The threads come together five years later when Morgan receives an award nomination for the vampire screenplay, attracting attention from the vampires and their hunters.

The romances: Max with the cop she's loved for years, and Morgan with the vampire she'd thought existed only in her imagination and that of the diaries' author, proceed apace with the paranormal suspense plot. Events on one level affect events on the other.

I'm not going to put any spoilers here, but there are plenty of twists and turns, and all the characters, both main and secondary, have believable emotional motivation for what they do.

*sigh* I suck at writing about books I really like. It's hard to pinpoint exactly what grabbed me, and when I try, the details don't seem proportionate to the reaction. Of late, intensity of emotion and depth of POV seem to be what I'm looking for--not in everything I read, that would make me nuts, or at least slow my reading way down--but in a 5-star read. Twilight Hunger has that.

And then I made the mistake of looking at the reviews on Amazon. An average of 3 stars?? What am I missing? Am I developing a taste for melodrama? The consensus seemed to be that it was a departure from Shayne's usual style (which disappointed me--I was looking forward to finding more of her books--I still will, and I'll hope they were wrong), and that there was too much mucking around with subplots (one of the things I liked about the book), and there wasn't enough Hot Vampire Nookie (gee, what a shame). Oh, and they didn't like vampires to have any weaknesses, which the ones in this book do (I find invincible characters pretty boring). Frighteningly, I found myself agreeing with Harriet Klausner, which must be one of the signs of the apocalypse.


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