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Sunday, June 04, 2006

Wicked Nights by Nina Bangs

Birthday the 16th for the middle minion, but I've got a couple minutes here while he's watching one of his presents--a Godzilla DVD from his brother.

½ Wicked Nights by Nina Bangs. Paranormal romance.

Donna, a radio talk show hostess is broadcasting for a week from the Castle of Dark Dreams, where she meets Eric, a vampire. Aided by matchmakers, they fall in love while dealing with his old enemy and her feeling responsible for her family's welfare.

It took me a while to get into this story. I'm not sure if it was because I wasn't sure what to expect, or if the tone was uneven, but I couldn't figure out if it was supposed to be tongue-in-cheek, like MJD, or more serious, like Feehan. The cover quote from Feehan made me expect the latter, so some of the over-the-top bits confused me.

Like the presence of not one, not even two, but several sex-obsessed supernatural matchmakers. There's a ghost, a talking cat, two plants, a candy store owner and her apprentice. Total overkill, even though the plants' interaction consisted of leaves drooping or not and the others talking about them.

I didn't believe the romance part, either. First, the h/h are strangers, then they're ready to die for each other, with no in-between other than intense lust. I'd have been happier if some of the matchmakers' explicit but unsophisticated advice had been cut to make room for the development of some emotion between the h/h. And you know, I love chocolate-covered cherries, but I got really, really tired of the many, many times melting them in navels was mentioned. In great detail. Once would have been lovely, and sensual. Over and over again was tedious.

And what was up with all that candy? Both the h/h are buying a pound of candy, nearly daily. That's a heck of a lot of candy.

Both characters do get a character arc, though Donna's journey from feeling responsible for her family and trying to direct their lives to stepping back and trusting them to take care of themselves is given short shrift. Eric's learning to be more... human, for lack of a better word, is explored in more detail.

By the time Eric's old enemy showed up, the book gained focus and I enjoyed it much more. The emotions from all the characters--Eric's friends & co-workers at the castle and the enemy, as well as Eric & Donna--were clear and realistic, and they all had depth.

I also liked the worldbuilding--the different kinds of vampires and other supernatural beings were introduced with enough detail to make me accept them, but not so much detail that it got in the way of the story.


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