Seventh Grave and No Body by Darynda Jones
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I am so frustrated with this series right now! It used to be one of my favorites, but after the first few books, the novelty and humor of Charley's particular brand of cavalier recklessness started wearing off, and now it grates on my nerves. There is zero character development in book seven. None. Charley does not learn from her (gigantic!) mistakes. At. All. I listened to the downloadable audiobook version in my car on my commute, and so many times I found myself quite literally yelling at my stereo, "You are an IDIOT!! No! Nonononono! Stupid stupid STUPID!!!" My fellow motorists must have thought I'd lost my mind.
You would think that Ms. Jones would have Charley grow up at least a little bit over the course of the series. Use some common sense every once in a while. But no, despite being hunted by 12 Hellhounds so dangerous they terrify even the uber-powerful Son of Satan (Reyes) and the Champion Gladiator Demon (Osh), Charley repeatedly sneaks out, trying to evade her self-appointed bodyguards, putting everyone's life at risk...even AFTER her folly nearly kills said bodyguards.
You would think that Ms. Jones would have Charley learn to use her newfound powers strategically. But faced with a human villain in a house with a human victim, does she take advantage of her supernatural talents and friends, slowing time long enough to capture the murderer and free the prisoner? No, instead she starts a fight with her protectors on the front lawn.
It's as though she goes out of her way to be self-absorbed and childish. She never takes seriously Reyes' admonition to learn to use her special abilities to fight for her life against the Hounds, and in the climactic showdown, it's like she basically forgot everything Reyes taught her and just sat frozen and useless for most of the battle while everyone else was ripped to shreds.
One of my other pet peeves with this book is that you could create a new drinking game based on the number of times Charley says, "affianced," "sweet," and "It was weird." Repeated words and phrases stuck out like sore thumbs in audiobook format, as did the excessive explicit sex scenes. All of which really got in the way of the story. When Ms. Jones got out of her own way and focused on the fast-paced story, the book was really exciting and enjoyable.
For readers' advisors: story doorway. Lots and lots of sex and profanity. Some humor (or attempts thereof).
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