May 11, 2011

Review: Dark Descendant by Jenna Black

Dark Descendant
Author: Jenna Black
Publisher: Pocket Books
Series:  Descendants, Book 1
ISBN: 1451606796
Purchase Information:
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository

*Novel provided by the publisher for a honest review

For more information please visit Jenna Black's website.

From the acclaimed author of the Morgan Kingsley, Exorcist books comes the gripping first novel in a new series about a private eye who discovers, to her surprise, that she’s an immortal huntress.

Nikki Glass can track down any man. But when her latest client turns out to be a true descendant of Hades, Nikki now discovers she can’t die. . . .

Crazy as it sounds, Nikki’s manhunting skills are literally god-given. She’s a living, breathing descendant of Artemis who has stepped right into a trap set by the children of the gods. Nikki’s new “friends” include a descendant of Eros, who uses sex as a weapon; a descendant of Loki, whose tricks are no laughing matter; and a half-mad descendant of Kali who thinks she’s a spy.

But most powerful of all are the Olympians, a rival clan of immortals seeking to destroy all Descendants who refuse to bow down to them. In the eternal battle of good god/bad god, Nikki would make a divine weapon. But if they think she’ll surrender without a fight, the gods must be crazy.

Missing Morgan Kingsley yet? Well, Jenna Black is back and her writing is better than ever! Dark Descendant marks the debut of yet another new wonderfully addictive series with a fresh take on a somewhat old premise with characters you just won't be able to get enough of. With a Marvel-like sense of good and evil where death is a hard won victory, this novel is filled with action, witty characters and some wonderful twists and turns that makes this one Urban Fantasy that shouldn't be missed!

And first things first, the main character Nikki Glass is an intelligent, resourceful firecracker that I simply loved! She has a sarcastic wit that is to die for and a keen insight that I couldn't get enough of. The insight in to her character was amazing! I simply loved the detailed thought processes as well as her take on those around her. I simply loved her ability to adapt to the unbelievable as well as dealing with the problems that seemed to be hurled at her in mass. She's loyal and determined and despite the distrust of her new group of 'friends', she wants to prove herself and be accepted, which was somehow both a vulnerability and a strength. But, while I loved the main character, I truly loved the peripheral ones just as much, if not more. They created some wonderful conflict within the camp of the 'good' Liberi, or rather the Descendants of the gods, with a wide range of personalities that I couldn't get enough of. Truly, I can't wait to find out more about Blake, the descendant of Eros who is able to use sex as a weapon, and Jamaal who is able to use Death Magic. Both were extremely intriguing. And let it be said that no one does dominant Alpha males better then Jenna Black. If you love your men a little on the dangerous side with some serious control issues, then this novel has them in spades!

But, one thing to remember is that the Liberi are immortal, something I kept forgetting! There's so much action and threats being hurled that you forget that Nikki, nor those around her, can be killed or really even hurt that badly as they heal extremely quick. It was always something of a relief when I was reminded of the fact because there are certainly a lot of occasions when I found myself holding my breath waiting for the smoke to clear. It seems that Black also has a quite a knack for suspense, as this novel certainly pointed out! But, that also means that there is quite a bit of violence, something that I do feel I need to point out to potential readers who may not like a lot of fighting and brutality. While it isn't graphic, there's just a lot of it. But, this also makes for a large issue within the story, leading me back to why I called this 'Marvel-like good and evil'. As in comic books, the heroes and the villains are hard pressed to be killed as they simply heal and get back up and go right back into the fray. Of course, these characters aren't as easily classified in to white and black, good and bad, because as is typical with immortals, morality and ethics tend to take on a whole new meaning making these warring factions a question of degree.

That leads me to the amazing world building and the wonderful mythos behind this novel. I simply loved the new twist on an old favorite focusing on the offspring of the gods and that it wasn't simply the gods of one pantheon, instead focusing on many religions from all across the world. I also really enjoyed that the descendants are not immediately given immortality, instead they are offered the ability to steal that gift from others. Of course, this is problematic since most descendants aren't even aware that they are descended from the gods, but it also creates a plot line that I'm sure is going to be explored in future novels as these mortals are hunted down and purged so as not to be a threat to the Olympians and their assumed role as Liberi royalty.

But, the one down side is that if you come in to this expecting some romance to go with the great action, then I'm afraid you'll be a bit disappointed. While there is a little bit of romance, it's all in the background with characters that are not Nikki. In fact, it doesn't seem likely that there will be any immediate romantic entanglements for some time as there is definite lack of trust between Nikki and those around her. While there was a spark of potential, that's about it. Though, I must say that I liked the element of distrust, it seemed somehow more realistic in a way when compared to the easy camaraderie and friendship in other novels between characters. I love that there will need to be some development there, an organic progression as Nikki shows her worth to those around her, but also as they show her that they too can be trusted by her.

In the end, simply put, this is great beginning to what promises to be a highly addictive and action packed series. I can't wait for the next installment! Lovers of Urban Fantasy without all the romantic entanglement will adore this novel, and even if you will miss the romance, there's so many other wonderful attributes that you won't even notice that it's missing!

My Rating: 4 out of 5 Scars

1 comment:

samantha.1020 said...

I really enjoyed this book as well and can't wait for the 2nd book to come out. Nikki's character was great and I'm looking forward to seeing what kind of trouble she will find herself in next. Glad to hear that you liked it as well :)