Monday, August 22, 2011

On Sins: A Seven Deadly Sins Double Review

Maybe it's just me, but it seems that demons, sin, and fallen angels have become a big trend in paranormal romance (and to some extent urban fantasy) over the last several years. Being a curious penguin, I've tried to dip my toes into many of these series. I love Larissa Ione's Demonica work (see reviews here and here) and I'm cautiously optimistic about J.R. Ward's Fallen angels (see here). And then there's Erin McCarthy's Seven Deadly Sins series. It had so much potential, and a pretty strong start...and then it kind of fizzled. I thought the world building was pretty weak and unclear, and while there were other problems, it's the world build that stopped me from continuing. In any case, here are my reviews.

Book One: My Immortal: This is the first in a series of books about demon servants, charged with the task of promoting sin amoung humans for their master's dark purposes. It was darkly fascinating and deeply disturbing.

The bulk of the book is told in two parts--one an account of the past, told either through letters or the characters themselves, and the other in modern times. In New Orleans, circa 1790, we learn that Damian du Bourg is a selfish, cheating, semi-abusive husband to Marie. In addition to this, he makes a deal with a demon that gives him immortality in exchange for his servitude. That is, he shall spend eternity encouraging the sin of lust among all he meets. Even shy, frail Marie succumbs to his irresistible lure--to her ultimate doom. In present day, Damien is simply trying to get by, quietly repenting for his sins while doing enough to satisfy his demon master. As it turns out, this means throwing sex parties. Marley, a reserved and moral school teacher, shows up on his doorstep looking for her sister who disappeared after one such party.

I was very surprised that the author managed to redeem Damien as much as she did. I still find his history disturbing in the extreme, but not something I couldn't get past. Marley is fairly easy to relate to, though a little bland.

The plot is quiet, no action to speak of, and yet I was never bored. I wish we were given more background on the demons themselves, but the author seemed more intent on character development.

Overall, this was quite a page-turner. I caution that it might be disturbing for some readers. But I enjoyed it, and I recommend it: I think it can stand alone from the series quite nicely. 4 stars.

Book 2: Fallen: I only made it through about 150 pages of this book, then started skimming, then gave up altogether. This book moves very, very slow and I was just plain bored.

In 1849 Gabriel (a fallen angel) was accused of the murder of a prostitute, Anne, who died while he was drunk/high from opium and absinth. Gabriel doesn't know whether he committed the murder or not because the drugs caused him to forget many events. In the modern day, the now sober immortal writes true crime novels and continues to pursue the long cold murder case. He comes across a recent case that parallels Anne's murder, and contacts the victims daughter about investigating and writing a book on the case. Sara is herself a recovering addict, struggling to make peace with life after her mother's death. What Gabriel doesn't realize is that Sara is Anne's descendent, and the women in the family have a long history of being murdered. Sara dives into both investigations in hopes that she won't be next.

The romance aspect of this book had potential. I liked the concept of two former addicts finding strength and understanding in one another. Like everything else in the book, however, the relationship doesn't seem to progress at a natural pace. Gabriel is apparently cursed when it comes to women, so he's afraid to touch Sara. In my opinion this was a pretty lame road block for the author to throw up.

The murder mystery unfolds through newspapers, letters, and documents put in the book. They slowed the plot down even more and were at times repetitive. The murder issue is not complex, and the description of it's solution could have been told in 100 pages if you took out the filler.

SPOILER, Highlight to read: The plot point that really broke me was when the heroine decided to try absinthe, to know what it's like. I realize that her addiction was to sleeping pills, not alcohol or the like. Fine. But is it really a good idea for a person with an addictive personality to try something so potentially addictive. Why would she think that was necessary? If she wanted to know what the substance was capable of, couldn't she ask someone who's done it. Bare in mind, Gabriel HAS done absinthe (at this point Sara is unaware that Anne's lover and Gabriel are the same person), so you would assume that he would discourage Sara from trying it. But he gives it all of two seconds thought before he breaks out the bottle.

This book might have been great, but in the end my impatience got the better of me. I would only suggest reading this if you are found of slower, milder, less complex paranormal stories. I also want to point out that the connection to the first book is pretty weak (or was up to the point where I read). Don't look to this book for complex world building or fantasy. DNF

Final thoughts: My Immortal is worth reading for any paranormal romance fan. Fallen is something I would recommend only to people who like a lot of mystery (slowly paced mystery) in their books.I don't intend to read any more Erin McCarthy books, but I won't go out of my way to avoid them. Happy Reading!

1 comment:

  1. My Immortal sounds really interesting. I really enjoy JR Wards Fallen Angels and am up to date with them. One of the few paranormal romances that I am. I think the next one comes out real soon.
    This was a great post! Definitely interesting!


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