Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Dark Kiss by Michelle Rowen

Title: Dark Kiss
Author: Michelle Rowen
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Release Date: May 22, 2012
Pages: 348 pages (paperback)
How I Got the Book: ARC from the publisher through NetGalley
Purchase/Pre-order: Amazon; Barnes & Noble; Book Depository
I don’t do dangerous.

Smart, uber-careful, ordinary Samantha – that’s me. But I just couldn’t pass up a surprise kiss from my number-one unattainable crush. A kiss that did something to me – something strange. Now I feel hungry all the time, but not for food. It’s like part of me is missing – and I don’t know if I can get it back.

Then there’s Bishop. At first I thought he was just a street kid, but the secrets he’s keeping are as intense as his unearthly blue eyes. If he’s what I think he is, he may be the only one who can help me. But something terrifying is closing in, and the one chance Bishop and I have to stop it means losing everything I ever wanted and embracing the darkness inside me.


Sometimes, I read a book and think it's so hilarious that I'm laughing every few pages and feel genuinely entertained. Sounds like the sign of a good novel, right? Good ones make you really feel and make you laugh or cry, not just snort or tear up. Yeah, that's until I realize I'm not supposed to be laughing because the novel is dead serious. Dark Kiss and my experience with it is best defined as a continuous cycle of those moments that never get any less awkward.

Rowen had a fantastic idea--not necessarily original, but a fine one nonetheless. She could have gone so many places with it and at times, I saw just how great it could have been; though it was shallow, the exploration of how problematic Heaven and Hell's methods of dealing with problems like the Source impressed me. The climax had me glued to the book and offered close to the main storyline of the novel while putting out some very shiny hooks for the next book.

That's pretty much all I can praise I can offer it. The characters and their relationships are poorly developed; Samantha and Bishop's romantic connection starts as insta-love taken to an almost frightening extreme and never gets any stronger. Some tantalizing bits about how Kraven, a demon assigned to the same mission, and Bishop knew each other when they were human are dropped and I don't feel enough is given for it to be really compelling.

Then there's the implication that beautiful people are soulless. That's certainly not beautiful.

Wait, what? Yeah, that kind of pops up. Grays seem to become more attractive to humans after they've been turned, as shown by all the boys that start to drool over Samantha after her change. Applying the implication to the real world was especially fun. Consider what this would mean for Hollywood and all the beautiful people that live there and you might see what I mean. And we've also got our super-hot mean girl, but she--funnily enough--does still have her soul.

The antagonist didn't think out her evil plan. Like, at all. To stop the flow of power to Heaven and Hell like she wants to, she and her legions would have to kill a lot of humans and turn just as many into grays that need to feed on human souls to live. By the time Heaven and Hell fall apart like she wants them too, there will be too many grays and there won't be enough human souls to feed them, leading to the starvation of billions and a planet full of zombie-grays. Following the logic seems clear to me, but not so much for her.

Book two of the series, Wicked Kiss, was set for release in 2013 last time I checked, but I highly doubt I'll check it out. Angel and demon fans that don't discriminate and fans of the author will love Rowen's latest offering, but I can't say I did. Not exactly encouraged to try out any of her other novels after this bucket of cliches.

2 stars!

What am I reading next?: Underworld by Meg Cabot