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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Awaken Me Darkly

***½ Awaken Me Darkly by Gena Showalter. Futuristic paranormal romance.

This book seems to lend itself to high-concept pairings. I've seen "Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Alien Nation" and "Eve Dallas meets Anita Blake." Personally, I'll go with Men in Black meets Romeo and Juliet... but without the tragic ending. It's about star-crossed lovers and finding an alien killer.

Mia Snow is an Alien Huntress--she works for the Alien Investigation and Removal agency. It's a future Chicago where aliens live, for the most part peacefully. But due to their unearthly abilities, when aliens become a threat to humanity, it's not possible to simply throw them in jail. Which is where Mia comes in. (hence the Anita Blake comparisons, which, I admit, are apt--at least for the first several Anita Blake books)

There's a murder that Mia determines was committed by a certain kind of alien, and the trail leads her to the Arcadians Kyrin and his sister Lilla. But the more she investigates, the more Mia finds herself falling in love with a man that duty says she should kill.

It's a fun concept--add a star-crossed romance to Men in Black. The mystery is appropriately convoluted. I enjoyed the worldbuilding and the emotional intensity of falling in love with the absolutely wrong person. And I very much enjoyed that Kyrin is written in shades of gray. So often in this kind of book, the alien (or werewolf or vampire or whathaveyou) is not only peaceful but altruistic, and is simply misunderstood. That's not Kyrin.

However, it got a little too convoluted, and at times I was overwhelmed with the details. And there was that back-and-forth with the hero and heroine having the same fight over and over that always drives me nuts. Mia was also a little too willing to use asskicking as a first resort, and a little too undefeatable.

I've been hearing that the second book in the series is a big improvement, and I did really enjoy the concept, but this book didn't wow me, and I have that monster TBR pile.... I haven't decided yet if I'll pick it up or not. Leave a comment and convince me.

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