By Christine Pope
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Book One of The Witches of Cleopatra Hill Trilogy
Darkangel is the first book in the Witches of Cleopatra Hill, a paranormal romance trilogy set in the haunted town of Jerome, Arizona.
BUY THIS BOOK:
It’s inevitable that at some point I’m going to read a book that doesn’t quite hit the mark like I thought it would. The writing is actually pretty good, but the plot had some trouble areas. I liked the book and its potential. I really did, but there is one thing crucial to the plot that I feel just wasn’t explored enough which I will get to in a minute. First, I want to point out that the character development of the MC and world building were really quite remarkable, and I thought the story began strong with an immediate conflict bombarding the reader. The issue of consort or no consort is made more serious by the lack of protection and power the prima has for her clan. Great starting points because it really ups the stakes for the main character, her clan, and anyone interested in using that power for themselves, giving everyone a strong motive for their actions and reactions to the situation.
Let’s talk about how this plot could be tightened just a bit which will involve a few spoilers. Heads up. There are levels of added conflict to the main issue of getting a consort. Marrying a civilian, though an option, really isn’t a viable one at this point when she has warlocks to choose from even if they aren’t “the one” who she is looking for. The one who will strengthen her power. So when Chris is introduced, I thought to myself, “Yes, this is where that turmoil and decision between making a choice for the good of the clan and following her heart are going to come to blows.” But the author really limited Chris’ involvement with Angela, and that involvement is what should have been such a huge part of the story.
The author kind of wrote herself into a corner by making Angela’s world in which she operated so very tiny. This didn’t give Angela or Chris a chance to develop their relationship and spend time together. The middle of the book seemed to wander a bit, never really hitting the target it needed to which was the development between Chris and Angela. Secret meetings could have happened. He could have visited her more often. Anything could have been done to throw these two together more often in the middle of this book so that her decision to choose the clan or a civilian was made that much more difficult. A gut wrenching emotional reaction that would have resonated with anyone. Their bond could have grown so much stronger, while some of his emotional reactions and dialogue could have been colored by the secrets he harbored. So much unexplored potential there.
Instead, the middle is made up of a lot of dead spaces where the inner conflict hits a wall, the tension fizzles instead of sizzles and you’re sitting there wondering why Chris was even introduced if he isn’t going to play a major role in the story. By developing their relationship, that conflict would have really soared, upping the stakes again and then sucker punching the MC and readers alike with the revelation at the end. It just makes more sense for Chris and Angela to be so in love in the second book due to that relationship that developed in the first. So while the beginning and the end were really fantastic, the middle needs a serious redirect to make it a stellar five star book. I’m really rooting for this author and these characters. I hope my criticism is taken in the spirit it was given. I want this story to be as great as it has the potential to be.
I loved the nod to Arizona. I’ve lived in AZ for two decades now and though the heat can be a killer, I find the desert beautiful in its own way. Pope really brought that desert appeal out in this novel. Kudos there. This first installment is very clean, but I must warn anyone interested in giving this to their daughters that the second book has sexual situations I wasn’t expecting. So different from the first book. Consider yourself warned.
Now here’s the thing about any critical review. Taste is subjective, and others might find the book more appealing than I did. Heaven knows I’ve received a few three stars myself due to my books not quite hitting the mark for someone else or falling into the hands of someone who simply doesn’t enjoy a YA romance. Not my target audience. Then others will rave about my books just like many other reviewers raved about this book. So while I struggled with the middle, others might love the book and the series and not be bothered by the issues that rubbed me the wrong way.
The book is free so if the synopsis has piqued your interest you should give it a try.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
A native of Southern California, Christine Pope has been writing stories ever since she commandeered her family’s Smith-Corona typewriter back in the sixth grade. Her short fiction has appeared in Astonishing Adventures, Luna Station Quarterly, and the journal of dark fiction, Dark Valentine. Two of her short stories have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize.
Christine writes as the mood takes her, and her work encompasses paranormal romance, fantasy romance, and space opera/science fiction romance. She blames this on being easily distracted by bright, shiny objects, which could also account for the size of her shoe collection. She fell in love with Sedona, Arizona, while researching the Sedona Files series and now makes her home there, surrounded by the red rocks. No alien sightings, though…not yet, anyway!
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DON’T MISS MY NEXT BOOK REVIEW ON November 21st!