The Better Part of Darkness Mass Market Paperback – Nov 24 2009
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About the Author
Kelly Gay is the author of the Pocket Books urban fantasy series featuring Charlie Madigan, which include The Better Part of Darkness, The Darkest Edge of Dawn, The Hour of Dust and Ashes, and Shadows Before the Sun. She is a two-time RITA Award finalist, a 2010 finalist for Best First Book from the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance, and a recipient of a North Carolina Arts Council fellowship grant in literature. She also writes as Kelly Keaton.
Top Customer Reviews
The Better part Of Darkness creates a believable character in Charlie Madigan. A hard working single mum with a pre-teen daughter. Kelly Gay has that fantastic ability to make characters on paper....errr....digital screens....come to life. There are enough twists and turns in her plot line of this book to keep you up and reading WAY past your bedtime. I was so enthralled with this book about mid-way through that I went to the kindle store and bought the next three in the series.
This series is every bit as good as the "Hollows" series with Rachel Morgan and the first 9 of the Vampire Hunter books with Anita Blake. Charlie Madigan fits right in. Very good first book.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Charlie has the mentality, determination, and heart of a good cop. But she is too stubborn and self absorbed. There is too much emphasis on her self analyzing everything, it gets boring. Yeah...yeah....get on with it already. This happens many times throughout the book. What I do like, is Charlie being a divorced mother. It gives her crediablity and makes her a bit more likable. I also appreciate her not being able to push aside years of feelings for her ex-husband and the inner struggles that those feelings cause. Her relationship with her partner is refreshing as well, they genuinely care for each other. Their bickering interaction, is well done. I have come to the conclusion that they are both smartasses. Charlie's and her daugher's relationship is endearing. I do like that, at times, it seems like the daughter is taking care of the mother, than the other way around.
With exception of Hank and Emma, I feel the remaining characters lack depth, substance and are unnecessary. None are very engaging and feel as if they are just thrown in to fill up space. Those who do have a purpose, don't have enough back story to make me find them believable.
Although, the character depth isn't the greatest, the world building is cleverly done and perhaps the book's strongest attribute. The world is not what it used to be, since the "discovery" of two other planes of existence. Kelly Gay's universe has alot of potential, that has room to grow. I really dig the possible religious ramifications and the idea of a Heaven and Hell on Earth, and the mention of Legend, darkness, demons, angels, aliens, etc... It supports the unending struggle of good versus evil, thus giving it a strong base for a plot. If only, it is the main focus. Unfortunately, to many subplots and not enough main plot.
All in all, it is a good read, but not a great book. Turning the last page, I am left feeling unsatisfied. There are too many subplots still open, that leaves me without closure. Most of the characters lacked depth, substance and purpose. I did feel that the protagonist wasn't so much ass kicking, but smart mouthed. That being said, as urban fantasies go, it didn't suck. For me, it is probably a one time read.
The biggest attention grabber for me was the colorful personalities of the characters. From Hank, Charlie's gorgeous off-world partner to Byrn, her eclectic sister who runs a herb shop in the Underground. Charlie, mother of a pre-teen, is a gusty heroine, who has heart. But she's tough as nails when the situation calls for it and it's called for many times. She presents everyone with a tough exterior and acts like she can handle whatever comes her way on her own, but on the inside she is always questioning herself. I could see Charlie as a real person.
The thing that can make a book really pop for me is when the bad guys are truly evil and vile. You get that kind of scary here. So when your reading a scene with the bad guys, your on the edge of your seat with worry and dread. More than once I was wondering how Charlie was going to save herself.
The ending left me feeling very satisfied but full of anticipation for the next book. This was a story that left me thinking about it long after I finished reading it. I will be picking up the next book in Charlie Madigan's universe. This one is going down in my top 10 reads of this year.
There were a lot of hanging events. I think I would have liked it better if the author had wrapped up a little more of the plots. So I guess I'll give it a positive but not glowing rating. I'm not sure if I'll read the next book.
First there is the drug that leads to coma and death in humans, the interaction between all of the different types of beings (mages, sirens, djinn, "demons", "angels", regular folks), Charlie's family drama (the ex who wants back in, her kid in danger), her family history (her twin, her sister), genetic manipulation, politics, and so on. Things came together for the most part at the end, but it was a tangle. There is a lot left hanging, and I'm curious about the next book, but still on the fence since it took me so long to finish this one.
On the plus side, I did find Charlie to be believable as she came into her power, and in her love for her family and friends. That was endearing, and she showed strength as well as vulnerability.
I just wish I liked the main character Charlie better. As I mentioned, she didn't seem very original, and I'm always leery of the set-up of 'no, I'm nothing special' and then '*boom* I have powers' (to try to not give away too much else). There's a bit of contradiction elsewhere in the book, all bad guys/but not quite so, some plot elements that I have some problems with (and seem a little too contrived to make things either too easy or too difficult for our heroine). I guess the most negative thing on the whole I can say about this series is I've no strong desire at the moment to continue it if future books are going to be similar to this one. I'd rather look for something that's more original and makes a bit more sense.