Saturday, March 22, 2008

Servant: The Awakening

Title: Servant: The Awakening
Author: L.L. Foster
Genre: Paranormal Romance

Back cover:
To most people, demons look like regular citizens. But Gabrielle Cody has the ability to see these creatures as they really are-and the responsibility to destroy them. Hers is a special purpose, a divine obligation, and a heavy burden.
Detective Luther Cross finds himself attracted to Gaby even as he becomes suspicious of her proximity to a murder victim. Despite his mistrust, he tries to offer her a enderness she's never experienced and doesn't dare accept.
For Gaby senses that another malevolent presence is watching her, stalking her. As desperately as she tries, Gaby cannot find the source of this menace. But again and again, she is drawn to an abandoned hospital surrounded by an aura of sickness and suffering and something more-an unimaginable evil.

Take one serving of fantastic author Lori Foster and add three heaping cups full of paranormal action. Blend together and bake until done. Seems like a foolproof recipe, right? Then someone please tell me how this all went so terribly wrong!!!

I love Lori Foster. Her Contemporary Romances are fun, fresh and full of likable characters. You want to get to know them. You want to be like them. You want to have all kinds of hot monkey sex with them. Somehow, in changing her pen name and stepping into a new (to her) genre) she lost her wonderful characterization. OK, I will admit that Detective Luther Cross has potential. He has many of the qualities I enjoy in Ms. Foster’s writing: strength, determination, loyalty, emotion, passion. All these traits were shown to us on a surface level. There was a decided lack of depth to Cross, and other characters in the story. The one quality of his that I absolutely did not understand was the fact that he was so drawn to the "heroine." I did not like our protagonist. I understand she has The Gift and that it is a great burden. God calls her, using sever pain as a motivator, to hunt down and destroy the evil on Earth. The problem is that Gaby is so antagonistic and mean I can not empathize with her. Quite honestly, her behavior and thoughts border on scary psycho killer territory. I just could not buy into the characters or their relationship.

One other problem that I had with the book was this continuous feeling that Foster was trying to change her writing. Perhaps she wants to give her para rom books a slightly different voice. That is fine. Completely understandable. At times, though, I got the impression that she made overabundant used of her thesaurus. Seriously. Some of the word choices in this novel perplexed me. She would never choose to use these words in her other novels.

One bright note, here. I did enjoy her action scenes. She found her rhythm in those passages. There were moments of interaction between characters that I enjoyed, as well. There just was not enough depth and development of those characters. Nothing made me like them. Nothing made me feel invested enough that I will go out and find the sequel to this novel.

Ms. Foster, I beg of you, please go back to our big, hunky pro-fighter heros. Give me another Simon or Gregor. I just can’t take another 292 pages of Gaby. And for the sake of you readers, could you ask Berkley Press to label these book correctly? A Paranormal Romance this is not. You tried. Oh yes, you tried to give Gaby and Luther some chemistry. It just seemed to get buried beneath the shouting, punching, and running away.

Boy, I wish I had picked a different book for my first review. I usually love the books I read. I promise! Next time... oh next time, we shall see words of praise. Words of PRAISE, I say! (Eloisa James better not make a liar out of me!)

Grade: C-


Ana said...

You know, I completely understand your frustration, my very first review was of a book I did not like. It is a horrible feeling, to start like that! LOL.

Carolyn Jean said...

I appreciate an honest review like this. And it sounds like her other books are worth checking out.

I was always a little frightened of the cover of this one.

Hey, welcome to blogging.

Shannon said...

Hi ana and CJ! Thanks for visiting.

I felt so mean writing this review. I really do love her other books. I realized while posting in another blog that I have a problem. I am now comparing all urban fantasty novels (because that is what this book should have been called) to the series written by Patricia Briggs. Sadly, Gaby Cody is no Mercy Thompson. The heroine just doen't measure up.

And, CJ, the cover (while not at all representative of how the character is described) does capture the feel of the story. Creepy.

Sarai said...

Honest reviews are great even if they don't pump up the book. It sucks sometimes and there have been books I thought should have been fantastic that I gave a lower grade too. I'm glad your honest about it makes it easier on everyone! Welcome to the land of blogging I can't wait to see the next review.

MaryKate said...

Hi Shannon! Congrats on the blog. I really like what you've had to say so far.

I'm an on-again/off-again fan of Lori's work. If I read too much of it at a time, I get really burned out. So I tend to read one or two a year by her. I picked up this book thinking maybe I'd like these books better. It was a DNF for me. SIGH.

Sorry that this book ended up not being an overwhelming reading experience for you. That stinks!

Good luck with the next one!

Barbara Bergin said...

I’m not sure how I got a link to your blog site from my email but I did. So I figured it was some kind of providential thing and I would ask if you would like to receive a review copy of my first novel, Endings, released by Sunstone Press in November, 2007. It’s not a romance novel in the traditional sense, however there is a romantic core to it and from reading your blog site, I think you might like it. I’ve really put my heart and soul into it and would absolutely appreciate your review. If you would like to receive a copy, then we’ll have to figure out how to get it to you. In the meantime, you can read a synopsis on my website. Hope to hear from you.

Barbara Bergin
Author of “Endings”

Jill D. said...

Hi Shannon,

I am sad to hear you didn't like this one. I have it in my TBR pile. Like Carolyne jean said, I never picked it up and partly it was because of the cover. Now I problaby won't pick it up at all. So it goes, ya know!

Hopefully your next book will be better!