Night Falls Darkly
by Kim Lenox, historical/paranormal (2008)
Signet, $6.99, ISBN 978-0-451-22537-5


It's perhaps grossly unfair of me to think of this, but I have come to believe that, from after reading so many horrible and unoriginal paranormal romances, there are certain common traits in those mediocre books that mark them as books written by authors who aren't genuinely into fantasy or urban fantasy as much as they are just trying to emulate the formula of Christine Feehan and what not. Bandwagon hoppers, in other words.

Night Falls Darkly is like a complete collection of those traits.

We have a group of immortals secretly protecting mankind from some great evil. Check - this time we call those weenies "Shadow Guard".

We have an alpha weenie king who spends all his time moaning and groaning about the burden he has to bear and how he just cannot stand the randy feelings the innocent, hapless heroine arouses in him. Whatever, check. Meet Archer.

In this story, Archer is the mysterious guardian of our heroine Elena Whitney. Elena has no memories of her past, but she's busy studying to be a doctor when she's not helping the poor wounded and sick folks on the streets. Jack the Ripper is on the loose and naturally, Archer is on his tail. Elena, being who she is, can't help being dragged into the sordid mess even if Archer spends most of his time keeping her in the dark about things. If you think that heroines in paranormal romances are becoming too impudent and the heroes too castrated, you may enjoy how this particular story is a throwback to the early days when heroines are to be protected and heroes spend the whole story with their chests all puffed up and a permanent sneer on their lips.

There are plenty of sequel baits showing up here in a roll call to buy the author's upcoming books, whether or not their presence is relevant to the story. The most obvious ones are males, of course, because their sequel value is greater than that of female characters. Big fat check there.

There are ugly-looking and unnecessary capitalization of words to show that these words are somehow more exotic. For example, Archer doesn't just reclaim, he Reclaims, because the big R really makes a whole lot of difference in shedding light on what the heck the author is babbling about. No, of course not. And then bad guys don't just go wild, they Transcend. The capital T is really illuminating - Ms Lenox has discovered that you can skip explanations in favor of capital letters when it comes to world building. My favorite is The Eternal Pit of Darkness, because after all that is said and done, this book actually aspires to be a Fighting Fantasy gamebook.

There is nothing interesting, refreshing, or original about this story. Maybe one of these days the author should try writing a contemporary romance or something.

Rating: 51


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