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

The Better Part of Darkness (Charlie Madigan, Bk 1)
ophelia99 avatar reviewed 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.