Book Reviews of The Better Part of Darkness (Charlie Madigan, Bk 1)

The Better Part of Darkness (Charlie Madigan, Bk 1)
The Better Part of Darkness - Charlie Madigan, Bk 1
Author: Kelly Gay
ISBN-13: 9781439109656
ISBN-10: 1439109656
Publication Date: 11/24/2009
Pages: 384
  • Currently 3.8/5 Stars.

3.8 stars, based on 104 ratings
Publisher: Pocket
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

15 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

mreneerouser avatar reviewed The Better Part of Darkness (Charlie Madigan, Bk 1) on + 127 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 5
Charlie is a stong minded, physically strong ITF officer. The problem with Charlie is she died. Then she came back alive and now she is dealing with powers she never knew she had from the beginning, and some that shouldn't be there at all. While the plot focuses on the mystery behind Charlie's "death", and a drug called "ash", it is also about Charlie's insecurities and stubborn will.

The supporting cast in this book is great especially her sister, daughter and partner. You'll also love Rex (think Dark-Hunter "Simi"). If you aren't used to Urban Fantasy you might want to make notes of who's who so you don't get confused because they are all in this book.

I loved the book right from the beginning. It was a fun, fast, heart-racing read. I'm still trying to figure out the connection between this book and Three Days to Dead by Meding. They both came out same day, have similar plots, same type of writing style but different authors? Weird. Oh well, I enjoyed them both!
FantasyDreamer avatar reviewed The Better Part of Darkness (Charlie Madigan, Bk 1) on + 10 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
The Better Part of Darkness, told from Charlie Madigan's point of view, was an exciting, fast-paced read for me. I finish this book in nearly one sitting. What kept me glued to the pages was how clues were dropped at just the right place, and the mystery just kept building. The pace of was perfect. The unique world and atmosphere of this book had the right combination of dark and gritty paranormal aspects.

The biggest attention grabber for me was the colorful personalities of the characters. From Hank, Charlie's gorgeous off-world partner to Byrn, her eclectic sister who runs a herb shop in the Underground. Charlie, a mother of a pre-teen, is a gusty heroine, who has heart. But she's tough as nails when the situation calls for it and it's called for many times. She presents everyone with a tough exterior and acts like she can handle whatever comes her way on her own, but on the inside she is always questioning herself. I could see Charlie as a real person.

The thing that can make a book really pop for me is when the bad guys are truly evil and vile. You get that kind of scary here. So when your reading a scene with the bad guys, your on the edge of your seat with worry and dread. More than once I was wondering how Charlie was going to save herself.

The ending left me feeling very satisfied but full of anticipation for the next book. This was a story that left me thinking about it long after I finished reading it. I will be picking up the next book in Charlie Madigan's universe. This one is going down in my top 10 reads of this year.
reviewed The Better Part of Darkness (Charlie Madigan, Bk 1) on + 77 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
A bit of a unique set-up to this urban fantasy. Instead of the usual vampires, werewolves and ghosts, we've got angels and demons. Well, not quite. A bit over a decade ago scientists proved the existence of two other realms tied to ours. One matched a lot of descriptions of heaven, while the other similarly matched hell. Visitors from those realms have been coming to Earth for a while in secret. Now humans have to learn to openly live with them.

Charlie Madigan is an officer for the Integration Task force in Atlanta (police that deal with anything dealing with immigrants or visitors from the other realms). She and her partner start the book trying to track down the source of a new drug that's going around. Of course they stumble onto a deeper plot relating back to Charlie's death experience almost a year back.

The world is very well done, and quite original. The plot was so-so. Things seemed to happen a bit too conveniently sometimes. Things didn't quite wrap up neatly at the end of the book. The characters were interesting, though again seemed to occasionally do things because they were convenient for the plot and not because that's what the character would do. Overall a good book. I look forward to reading the next one.
jai avatar reviewed The Better Part of Darkness (Charlie Madigan, Bk 1) on + 310 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
In this urban fantasy series, the existence of races from other worlds became known when scientists discovered two parallel planes of existence called Elysia and Charbydon. Charlie Madigan works for Atlanta's Integration Task Force (the ITF) with her siren partner, Hank, to take down any off world offenders. Charlie and Hank begin to investigate an off-world drug called ash, and complications arise when the investigation unearths problems that personally involve Charlie and threaten those she loves.

This is one of those urban fantasies where the heroine has a dark side. Think Dante Valentine in the series by Lilith Saintcrow. The story is in the first person POV and her personality colors the story. There's a lot of angst in Charlie's life and although she has a support system to balance that, I never warmed to her character. She was too impulsive for me, and in her anger did things I found at odds with her job as law enforcement. And she often mouthed off too much for my taste.

It's too bad I couldn't warm to Charlie in the book because I did enjoy the writing and the secondary characters a lot. The side characters all had distinct personalities and depth. I think I was particularly fond of Rex and his sarcastic comments. The world building felt unique and interesting. And the plot and pacing felt like it had the right amount of action versus downtime.

A note on the romance: I saw reviews that suggest there is one, but although Charlie appreciates many men in this book, there really isn't a romantic interest for her so far. At least for this book, this is an urban fantasy without a romance for the main character, although there are complicated relationships and secondary romances to keep things interesting.

My full review: http://janicu.livejournal.com/98628.html
tarheelcoin avatar reviewed The Better Part of Darkness (Charlie Madigan, Bk 1) on + 84 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I thought this book might be a little different from the usual urban fantasy - hard-as-nails heroine wearing kick-ass leather something, with kick-ass weapon of some sort, and constantly lusting after some man. I was wrong. What I found particularly annoying was that Charlie wouldn't let anyone help her, yet she took on guilt for not being able to save everything and everybody. That happens in a lot of UF, but it was particularly irritating to me in this one.
alterlisa avatar reviewed The Better Part of Darkness (Charlie Madigan, Bk 1) on + 323 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Ive got to say, this book lived up to my expectations and then some. I loved Charlie, first as a kick-ass heroine and secondly as a great mom. Yeah, she had to go out every day and do her part (and then some) in saving the world but she never forgot that she was a mom and had a daughter that needed her too. I mean just because she had died and came back from the dead (and no, not as a zombie) she didnt treat her life as expendable. I just loved the scene where she tried to convince her daughter (and herself) that she would be better off behind a desk. It reminded me a bit of Rick Castle and the way his daughter handles him. It was nice to see that the acorn didnt fall far from the tree. I image in a few more years that daughter dearest will be out there kicking some alien butt on her own. I loved the world that Gay created but often felt a little lost in the complexity of the characters. As this was the first book in the series, I expect things to even out with book 2.
donkeycheese avatar reviewed The Better Part of Darkness (Charlie Madigan, Bk 1) on + 1255 more book reviews
Atlanta, the town all the other-worlders want to make their new home. Gateways to other worlds have been opened, and all sorts of creatures you thought were myth are actually real. One particular world's moon is dying and they want Atlanta to become their new home. They make a plan and put it forth into action, but the details don't come clear until later.

But as the otherworlders make themselves at home in Atlanta, they bring with them a deadly drug, Ash. The drug is killing the humans, and the cops are having a hard time finding the source. Charlie Madigan is one hard cop, who also is recently divorced and mother of one. Her partner, Hank, is an otherworlder and they get along pretty good. But everyone worries about Charlie. She died a few months ago, and somehow was brought back. Now, things are different for her. She has new powers building inside her and she doesn't know what is going on.

A kick-butt top-notch urban fantasy, Kelly Gay has built an extraordinary world where Supernatural meets Die Hard. The characters are well-developed and the storyline is solid. A new author on the rise and one I am definitely looking forward to reading more from.
ophelia99 avatar reviewed The Better Part of Darkness (Charlie Madigan, Bk 1) on + 2527 more book reviews
This is the first book in the Charlie Madigan series. I had been wanting to read this series a while since I am such a big urban fantasy fan. While this book wasn't exceptional, it was a solid urban fantasy with an interesting world. It was a fun read and I am glad I read it.

Charlie works for the police hunting down otherworldly beings. She is also a divorced mother of a pre-teen named Emma. When one of her daughter's friends is put into a coma by the strange drug known only as Ash; Charlie is determined to find out what Ash is and hunt down its source. Previously Charlie had died and was brought back to life under mysterious circumstances, as a result of this Charlie has been having horrible nightmares and developing strange powers.

There were some things I really loved about this book. I love the world-building. The idea of two parallel realities outside of our own, one representing heaven and one hell, was an interesting one and intriguing. I also loved how Charlie started manifesting strange powers and had to learn how to control them; her powers were interesting...if not all that well explained. I also loved that Charlie had a daughter to consider. To often in urban fantasy the main kick-butt woman is single and childless...it is just easier for an author to not have to deal with a child in the story. I liked the element of reality this added to the story.

I also had some problems with the story. Charlie is very much your kick-butt heroine-developing-strange-super-powers that I see over and over in urban fantasy. She didn't have a lot to distinguish her from many other urban fantasy heroines. Charlies also had a very serious problem with rushing into situations without thinking. The secondary characters would even stop and say "Charlie you need to step back and think about this"...still she would repeatedly charge ahead despite the consequences. I am hoping that in the next installment Charlie matures a bit and starts thinking before she acts.

That being said the secondary characters more than made up for Charlie. Charlie's sister Bryn is a powerful witch that I am dying to know more about. We also meet Aaron, a powerful and mysterious mage, who was an awesome character. Additionally we meet Rex, a demon spirit, who has quite a bit of depth for a demon. Even Emma, Charlie's daughter, is plucky and packs a lot of punch to her personality.

The story was engaging and fast paced. There were some excellent action scenes. The plot was well done; with a small objective that is concluded by the end of the book and a larger plot that will continue into the next book. This book is pretty much straight urban fantasy, not much romance at all.

Overall I enjoyed this story. The world is intriguing and creative, I loved watching Charlie gain her powers, and also really enjoyed a lot of the secondary characters. Charlie herself was kind of cookie cutter kick-butt charge-ahead urban fantasy heroine, but her support staff more than made up for that. I am hoping that Charlie will grow some as a character in future books and look forward to reading the next book in this series, The Darkest Edge of Dawn.
ra7 avatar reviewed The Better Part of Darkness (Charlie Madigan, Bk 1) on + 782 more book reviews
This one if full of action. No romance FYI. I did enjoy it. Charlie did grow as a character. For the first 2/3 of the book, she was very much a "I can't ask for help, must go it alone, can't talk about it" type of person. Things got better when she had to talk about it. The world created is interesting (our current world, but with several different types of beings sharing it). If you like kick-ass heroines that are strong, and learn from their mistakes (most of the time), this is a good series.
barbsis avatar reviewed The Better Part of Darkness (Charlie Madigan, Bk 1) on + 1076 more book reviews
A great start to the Charlie Madigan series. I totally loved Charlie and her alien partner Hank. This book immediately grabbed me and held my attention until the final conflict. Charlie is a kickass heroine who gets her ass kicked time and again but of course, comes out on top in the end. Parallel universes Elysia and Charbydon (heaven and hell to humans) have been sending emissaries to Earth for years. Some good and some evil. Now they have acquired citizenship and been integrated into Atlanta society. Unfortunately a few bad eggs have brought a killer drug to Atlanta and Charlie and Hank are on the trail.

I loved the concept and the setup. The writing is terrific and really brings the action front and center. This is a series I will definitely be continuing. Excellent!
moondance120 avatar reviewed The Better Part of Darkness (Charlie Madigan, Bk 1) on + 422 more book reviews
"You told a two-thousand-year-old oracle to prove it."

Charlie Madigan is a detective in Atlanta with the Integration Task Force. She is also a single mom to Emma. Charlie's partner, Hank, is a siren. people are dead or dying from a drug known as ash. It becomes personal when a family friend becomes a victim.

Charlie is a confusing character. She is kick ass at times and almost clueless at others. Her sister, Bryn, has an herb shop in Underground which since the Revelation caters primarily to the otherworldly. Charlie died 8 months before the beginning of this book and was brought back. This portion of the storyline is a basic good vs. evil plot with both the Elysians(gods) and Charbydons(demons) taking roles.

I adore Hank! I would like a gorgeous siren by my side! The trip to the Bath House is a hoot! Charlie is trying to come to terms about things that are happening within her that were not there before her death. The betrayal of her ex-husband, Will, still haunts her even though she can't stop loving him.

I like that Charlie puts her daughter first in everything she does. Her focus never lessens even as she is fighting the bad guys. There were a couple of times I put the book down and didn't think I would finish it but it kept drawing me back. I look forward to the next book to see where Charlie's life will lead.
imjustso avatar reviewed The Better Part of Darkness (Charlie Madigan, Bk 1) on + 21 more book reviews
Charlie Madigan is my new favorite kick-@ss heroine. The other reviewers say it better than I could.
KellitaJ avatar reviewed The Better Part of Darkness (Charlie Madigan, Bk 1) on + 550 more book reviews
An interesTing story. I just ordered the rest of the series. .. looking forward to reading them.
orchid7 avatar reviewed The Better Part of Darkness (Charlie Madigan, Bk 1) on + 265 more book reviews
Wow! I really loved this book! I felt like I was watching it as it happened, like being on the inside of a good action movie. It had me right from the opening scene, where Charlie is telling her partner Hank to "Get over it" because he ended up getting punched in the nose for something she said, and he's holding napkins from the glove-box to his nose to stop the bleeding.

I found the author's characters to be different but believable, and her urban fantasy world to be incredibly interesting. There was so much variety and descriptiveness that I never got bored with the story. In fact, my family had to wait for dinner because I had such a hard time putting it down!

My one complaint with the book is that the ending doesn't really tie up anything... even the mysteries with Charlie's abilities. I'm glad that I have the sequel in my TBR, because I really want to see where the storyline goes next, and to see whether the author gives any more answers to all the questions she's left me with!
solarawynn avatar reviewed The Better Part of Darkness (Charlie Madigan, Bk 1) on + 724 more book reviews
I really enjoyed this book. Am anxious for the next one.