Thursday, May 05, 2011

Review: Dark Descendant by Jenna Black

First, I want to thank everyone for the birthday wishes! It was great and really precious :)

The week has been pretty busy so far. I've gotten together with my friends on Monday evening; also, it was election day in Canada. On Tuesday, I ate with my family and invited over a friend as well, so I spent the evening watching TV: Masterchef Australia - the third season just started (woohoo!!) and The Voice. And yesterday, I went to the gym with my sister... So all this has been playing havoc with my reading, blogging and blog-hopping!! Especially since it's been raining the whole time and I swear, rain makes traffic horrible!!! Hopefully though, I settle back into my routine soon enough :)

As it is, I've had very really time to work on my monthly reads post and as I've read a lot last month, it's really going to take me forever ^_^; So instead, I'm going to focus on more reviews :) Enjoy!

Dark Descedant by Jenna Black
published by Simon & Schuster
From the acclaimed author of the Morgan Kingsley, Exorcist books comes the gripping first novel in a new series about a private eye who discovers, to her surprise, that she’s an immortal huntress.

Nikki Glass can track down any man. But when her latest client turns out to be a true descendant of Hades, Nikki now discovers she can’t die... Crazy as it sounds, Nikki’s manhunting skills are literally god-given. She’s a living, breathing descendant of Artemis who has stepped right into a trap set by the children of the gods. Nikki’s new “friends” include a descendant of Eros, who uses sex as a weapon; a descendant of Loki, whose tricks are no laughing matter; and a half-mad descendant of Kali who thinks she’s a spy. But most powerful of all are the Olympians, a rival clan of immortals seeking to destroy all Descendants who refuse to bow down to them. In the eternal battle of good god/bad god, Nikki would make a divine weapon. But if they think she’ll surrender without a fight, the gods must be crazy...
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Series: Dark Descendant series, Book #1

The Story: Dark Descendant takes place in a world where gods - from all pantheons - not only exist, but used to walk around, having kids with mortals. Then, when they left, they gave each of their children a seed from the Tree of Life that made them immortal. These immortals were called Liberi and what they did not know till too late is that anyone with divine blood - their children and descendants - could steal away their immortality by killing them.

Nikki Glass is a private investigator who was abandoned when she was four years old and later adopted by the Glasses. As such, she had no idea she was a descendant of Artemis till she accidentally kills a Liberi - descendant of Hades. Now immortal, Nikki also has to deal with some new powers as she's suddenly become a crack-shot. However, it's Nikki's ability to track down people and find objects that has two rivaling factions vying for her. Circumstances the way they are, Nikki must choose side and quick: on one hand, there is the Olympians whose goals are to run the world and kill all the descendants as they can steal their immortality and on the other hand, a group under the leadership of a guy named Anderson who can offer protection to Nikki's adoptive family. The choice should be simple, except that some members of Anderson's group are suspicious of Nikki since she killed one of theirs... and what are Anderson's true goals?

My Opinion: I picked up Dark Descendant because of its great cover, interesting blurb and also because I've been wanting to try Ms Black's writing, but felt her Morgan Kingsley, Exorcist series didn't suit me. So I was happy she had a new series coming out and I knew right away that the Dark Descendant series would better suit to me :)

Dark Descendant turned out to be a really quick and enjoyable read :) What I liked the most was the writing style as it was simple and breezy. Ms Black has an engaging voice and it helped the readers getting immersed into the storyline, but also process all the information more easily. For some reasons, I thought the world building in this series would be complicated, but it wasn't. Oh, it does have its complexity, but it's subtle and surprisingly straightforward and so readers don't have to go through pages and pages of world building information and decipher was is important and what is not. I think that all this combined allowed Ms Black to focus a little bit more on the heroine and the storyline :)

Nikki was a nice heroine. I liked how she was able to remain calm and think about what her next steps were to be, analyze the situation. She was also one smart cookie as she didn't fall into denial and ignore all the danger, but also didn't take everything she was told at face value. Instead, she was cautious and thought of consequences. A level-headed heroine who doesn't put up a kick-ass, tough chick front, but who instead acknowledges and deals with her vulnerabilities. I also like the fact that if she has secrets or is somehow special, she doesn't know it herself.

The storyline was also interesting. It was fast-paced and had some action, but at the same time, it allowed readers to learn about Nikki, the secondary characters and the world building. There were also some surprises and those are always interesting :) Ms Black did take some direction that surprised me, but that's all good since it means it doesn't fall into the predictable route.

For those who are wondering, there was no romance in Dark Descendant; however, I didn't miss it. There was some hints for the future and if really Ms Black takes that direction, it'll be really interesting - talk about an unlikely pair! All in all, Dark Descendant felt like a setting up book. It introduces us to the players, to the conflict and is setting up for the rest of the series; however, not only it does its job efficiently, but also enjoyably :) I'm definitively going to pick up the next installment in the series as I'm curious to see how it will all turn out :)

My Grade: B+. A solid, enjoyable first book in a series that reminds me a little of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, but the grown-ups version LOL.