Saturday, January 12, 2013

On Darklings: A Review of Queene of Light by Jennifer Armintrout

Queene of Light (Lightworld/Darkworld, #1)I read the majority of this book in one sitting, at a coffee house where I often pass the hours between work and go home time. That is not to say that I liked this book, or that it was a page-turner in any respect, but rather just that it was all I had at that moment and I became pretty stubborn about finishing it.

When Malachi, an angel of death, makes the mistake of touching half human, half fairy assassin Ayla, he is turned mortal. He vows revenge, but upon seeing her again finds that he loves her. Ayla breaks her vows to her people by repeatedly refusing to kill Malachi, but at the same time she remains loyal to her heritage in her heart. She goes so far as to marry the brother of the fairy Queene Mab, inadvertently putting herself in line for the throne. Her life and loyalty are threatened when her feelings toward Malachi become increasingly undeniable.

As a fantasy book, this had it's merits. Simple but fun world building, old blood feuds, political unrest. The settings are interesting, with the entire book taking place underground. Jennifer Armintrout writes a familiar kind of fairy--proud, emotionally stunted creatures who dislike humans as much as they love themselves.

As a romance, this book is barely average. Malachi and Ayla have some strong moments together, and on the surface their story and circumstances are highly romantic. The problem is that both characters are paper-thing in development, and so their romance is also on the thin side. Their love happens spontaneously and is based in very little interaction and almost no conversation between them. They have no relationship, per se.

Ayla is more or less the main character, and as I said above she's not written well. I never felt like I got to know her or understand her motivations fully. I certainly didn't feel her emotions. The author tells us her back story matter-of-factly, tells us that she would like to be an assassin but she's mostly held back, tells us that she's willing to marry Garret without explaining why...and so forth. A lot of telling, in other words, without taking the proper time to slow down and put us in the heroines mindset.

The plot itself is fairly well paced and did hold my interest. However, it's never surprising in the least. Each character's motivations are laid out rather flatly. The author has no sense of subtly or foreshadowing or tension building.

So overall, this book is finishable, but not so much so that I'd recommend it. I don't necessarily see myself going on to read the rest of the trilogy (although stranger things have happened). It isn't romantic enough to satisfy my PNR needs, and it isn't quite clever enough for my urban fantasy shelf either. 2.5 stars.


  1. Oh my! Another JLA book that I hadn't heard of before. This seems like an interesting read. Thanks for sharing and great review! :)

    Sarika @ The Readdicts

  2. I tried to get into this series, but I couldn't. Glad I'm not the only one.


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