Top critical review
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You have to take the good with the bad
on December 12, 2011
Morgan Bailey is a bounty hunter who kills vampires and demons for a living. She has gotten good at it over the years and feels confident there isn't a job she can't handle. Now she is up for the greatest challenge in her career yet. Hunting down a mythical sunwalker and finding an ancient amulet he purportedly has in his possession. Morgan is used to dealing with regular vamps that can't go out in sunlight, but this one will be trickier for her to track, not to mention kill. She doesn't let those details get in the way of her job, though. It just means it will be more challenging than usual. What she doesn't realize is there is a lot more going on than originally anticipated and as old, dark secrets are revealed, she may learn some things about herself she didn't know.
Kissed by Darkness is the first novel in the Sunwalker Saga. While it may have been written by a new author to the Urban Fantasy genre, there is much to recommend it. It starts off with a bang, introducing key characters and giving the reader a good idea about the world they have entered. Most humans are unaware of the supernatural elements around them and there are those (human or otherwise) who work in secret to keep it that way. This novel is not light reading. It certainly has dark and bloody elements that make the story fit right into the genre it was written for. A lot of questions are brought up early on, some answered by the end, while others are left for later novels to deal with. All around, the plot and world building were in-depth and fascinating.
There is a colorful cast of characters as well. Kabita is the woman who runs the private investigation firm Morgan works out of. She is cool, calm, and collected. The perfect foil for her subordinate, who is the complete opposite. Then there is Inigo Jones, Kabita's cousin, who is a clairvoyant that helps out on jobs when needed. Though he appears to only be twenty years old, his abilities and talents, as well as good looks, make Morgan lust after him in ways she knows she probably shouldn't. There are other characters introduced as the story plays out as well who play key roles. It all makes for an intense and suspenseful story.
The one thing that held me back from truly enjoying this novel was the main character, Morgan. While I liked all the others in the book, her personality and attitude didn't work for me. Now, I have no problem with most snarky, confident, tough female heroines- Cat, from Jeaniene Frost's Night Huntress series, is one of my favorites. Yet Morgan rubbed me the wrong way. She is supposed to be a twenty-nine year old vampire hunter with years of experience under her belt. I expected a certain level of maturity from her. Yet she constantly bragged about how tough she was, how much she enjoyed killing things, how great her breasts looked, and how scared everyone was of her. In much of this, showing instead of telling might have alleviated some of my concerns. Instead, the reader has to listen to how great of a badass vampire hunter she is (yes, in those words, multiple times). Not only this, but she has major hormonal issues throughout, practically jumping all over several guys because she can't control herself. There is probably an explanation for this that was not given in book one, but it reaches the point of being extremely annoying. Mac, in the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning, had some libido problems around Fae princes, but she acted far more mature about it than Morgan does in this book. I simply couldn't get past this character's behavior to fully enjoy the story. It made for a difficult read when it shouldn't have been.
Having said all these things, I don't think this is a bad book. There is a lot to recommend it and most likely the series does continue to get better. It just isn't one I can keep up with due to my reservations about Morgan. Clearly there are others that didn't have the issues I did, based on the reviews I read prior to buying the novel. If the traits I mentioned about Morgan's personality don't bother you, this might be a book worth checking out. I just want to warn those that may have preferences closer to my own.