When I first picked up “The Den of Shadows Quartet” I was nothing more than mildly curious. I have never been a big fan of short stories, my feeling is that if you have spent the time to think out the twist and turns of a plot, then be big enough to write and entire book, but pushing all of my preconceived skepticism to the back of my already full brain I decided…What the hell…give it a try…it’s got vampires how bad can it be?
And then I read the first story…
“In The Forests of the Night” was tofu. A mass of hype, with zero taste, that leaves you nothing but annoyed and hungry after you have already devoured 2 full bowls of the crap. The story followed Rachel/Risika in her vampiry quest to prove herself against her arch-enemy Aubrey. The story had potential to be interesting, it’s just to bad the writing was crap! The entire language and flow of the first story felt forced…as though a new author was trying to prove their uncanny ability to use a thesaurus. It was choppy, it was boring, and while normally I can trick myself into “reading” personality into the characters even my mind refused to do anything but translate the words into monotone High School history teacher mode.
The 2nd story “Demon in My View” was much better than it’s predecessor. Plucking a character from the 1st story, (Aubrey) we are again taken on a small journey of self discovery. Jessica isn’t your typical high school senior, she is an accomplished author of a series of vampire paranormal fiction (go figure), and (ironically enough) the target of a much anticipated “vampire” hit. (Note-to-self: never piss off those significantly more lethal than yourself.) She finds herself stuck in a complicated race to save her life and to figure out the mysterious Aubrey. (Whom, by the way I detested in the first book and then jumped the fence and liked in story 2) The plot was much more smooth, and the writing was SIGNIFICANTLY better, the main problem found in this little snippet of a story was the crash ending…so much potential and then BLAH!
“Shattered Mirror” was by far my favorite of all 4. As a matter of fact, at one point (even though I hate to admit this) I got a little choked up by the visual I had playing in my head (you’ll know the scene when you read it) This story followed a naive vampire hunter named Sarah Vida. After several failed attempts at conquering the ultimate evil she is dragged away (by her more successful hunter mother) for more training and, much to her excitement, a chance to attend a “mortal” school again. She is quickly confronted by not 1 but 2 “friendly” vampires and despite herself is sucked (excuse the pun) into a comfortable “normal” existence of school work and doting boys. It’s just to bad that her mother doesn’t see her new friends as acceptable. She is manipulated, physically torn down, and in the end has to decide to take or keep her own life. It is a story of self evaluation, and despite its quick ending, it was actually a pleasant read.
And last, but certainly not least was “Midnight Predator”. I thought this story actually had the most potential to be expanded upon, but again…it reached the dreaded short story, cut quick ending. It followed Cathy/Turquoise/Audra (yes that is 1 person) and her rival Rayvn in their assignment (as hunters) to assassinate the evil she-vamp Jeshickah. The duo is forced to go under cover as human slaves in a wildly written vampire power-play, but shortly after entering the compound both girls quickly learn that their past are back to haunt them…in more ways than one. Turquoise finds herself enamored but those she has pledged to destroy and in the end realizes that she trust them more than she trust herself This particular journey to self discovery had the most fluid writing and the most tied up (still short though) ending. Not bad, just not great.
All in all the book was…ok. There were quick snippets of emotionally driven writing, but nothing that you could “sink your teeth” into. (Sorry.. I had to do it.) Read it if you have nothing better, but expect no more than airplane fiction…a quick read with a dap of depth and nothing more.
Happy reading my fellow Kindle-ites and remember: just because Audra’s Jaguar turned out to be a hot vampire with a kind heart doesn’t mean you should go jumping into zoo cages snickering “here kitty kitty”