Skip to main content
PBS logo
Want fewer ads?

Book Review of Beyond the Pale (Darkwing Chronicles, Bk 1)

Beyond the Pale (Darkwing Chronicles, Bk 1)
feritgrrl avatar reviewed on + 43 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4

I wasn't sure what to expect from this as I have had a run of bad books lately, especially in this vein (ha!). The book started out a bit slow, and a little too 'shopaholic' as vampire- I will be so glad when pop authors stop with the constant brand name dropping- but then begins to pick up when our heroine is kidnapped and finds herself coerced into working for a shadowy government agency as a combination spy/crime fighter. Her co-spies include a spunky and funny vampiress originally hailing from Branson. Mo and a sulky, wanna-be Broadway dance star vamp who provides a nice- and again, funny! allusion to another pop culture vampire novel. Daphne discovers a natural aptitude for her new job, and a new purpose for existence. She finds new love in the form of Darius DellaChiesa, a fellow spy although from a rival organization, and as it turns out, a vampire hunter. Further potential entanglement is hinted at between Daphne and her handler, J., as the two recognize their at first unwilling attraction to one another.
The urban fantasy parts of this book work the best, although the plot feels labored at some points and full of holes at others. The sex scenes are somewhat strangely handled/described. Daphne has been holding out for some 200 years folllowing the death of her last great love, Lord Byron, but suddenly falls into bed with Darius,a total stranger for meaningless sex? And speaking of Lord Byron, the author clearly had trouble deciding how to play that relationship- for drama or for laughs- and ends up with a confused mish mash of the two that is unconvincing and weakens her character. The sex scenes gain something in emotion and lose some of the mechanistic quality as the book goes on and I suspect the author is attempting to show Daphne's growing feelings for Darius. But the first time the two characters get together, it seems very cold and its hard to figure on why Daphne feels she must be with Darius- it doesn't even seem like that much fun.
I am also hoping Russe resists the urge to write the character of Benny (the Branson Mo. vamp) as over the top zany. Benny worked well as she was until the end, when the author couldn't seem to resist the temptation to make her a charicature. The best of Benny is when she is written as the self-aware, just-a-girl-from-Branson type who doesn't take herself too seriously and trades on her 'Southern Belle' accent and proclivities to accomplish the aims of the mission. The jury is still out on Mar-Mar- Daphne's mom who has hidden depths and secrets of her own. She too could be a great and compelling character if Russe can avoid over doing the comedy.
I liked this book more than I than I expected to- although it certainly has its flaws. I plan to seek out the next book and hope that the author gets better showing Daphne's romantic motivations!

Want fewer ads?