Thursday, April 18, 2013

Death and the Girl Next Door

Death and the Girl Next Door (Darklight, #1)Death and the Girl Next Door by Darynda Jones
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Lorelei has had flashes of visions all her life. Some come true; others make no sense. None of that has ever bothered her two best friends, Brooklyn and Glitch. However, when the school's loner, Cameron, starts stalking Lorelei, and a new boy comes to town who has all the girls drooling, their lives are going to get much more complicated, for one of Lorelei's visions is about the new boy being tortured and another is about herself covered in blood and puking by the side of a road. All is not as it seems, and the trio suddenly find themselves part of an otherworldly battle.

I had really high hopes for this new series because I LOVE Darynda Jones' First Grave on the Right/Charley Davidson series. Unfortunately, I got the feeling that this book was rushed to print way before it was ready. The pacing felt off, there were about two dozen too many variations on the word "smirk" used, and the characters never quite gelled for me.

The heat and intensity of Charley & Reyes' relationship did not translate well to a story about teenagers--even supernatural ones. All the descriptions of Jared as "supernova hot" had me rolling my eyes and/or gagging. Not that I didn't believe Jones intended for him to be gorgeous, just that it was too full of teen angst & hormones. There wasn't enough maturity in the characters to believe anyone had fallen in anything but lust.

Similarly, the pacing seemed...wrong. It took forever for anything to happen or be explained (or discovered/uncovered). It took a bizarrely long time for anyone to figure out why Cameron hated Jared, and then even when Cameron is F I N A L L Y confronted with the truth...nothing changes. The feud continues. That was ultra-annoying. And what was up with the poltergeist scene? Shouldn't there have been some sort of follow-up scene with the two girls? The whole book ended up coming off like a really really long, scattered prologue for the rest of the series. I may still read book two to see if it improves, but it's moved WAY down my priority list. *sigh*

For readers' advisors: story doorway is primary. Character is probably supposed to be secondary, if only I could get past my annoyance with them. There is no actual sex, just a couple of kisses and a lot of supposedly steamy descriptions of Jared's hotness. It would probably make a decent book to read with a group because there could be so much to discuss, given its flaws.

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