Paperback, 348 pages
Expected publication: May 22nd 2012 by Harlequin Teen
Source: Net Galley
I don’t do dangerous. Smart, über-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…. NIGHTWATCHERS When angels and demons must work together, something beyond evil is rising..
I am a somewhat cautious fangirl of Rowen’s so despite my current state of oversaturation where angels are concerned, I decided to give Dark Kiss a go because hey, Michelle Rowen! In hindsight, I probably should have not. I can promise you that this novel is aimed at audiences who are not me. However, since I am the one who read this, I am forced to give a review that is a reflection of my reaction. Keep in mind, however, that you might react quite different to this novel than I, ultimately, did.
Samantha’s character is quite an interesting one. She, as is characteristic of Rowen’s heroines, manages to skate the fine line between annoying and likable. She actually thinks things out, goes through a process of thinking before reacting simply on instinct and emotion that almost always make me yell at the average YA heroine about her ever growing stupidity. Stupid heroines are not attractive, in case you weren’t aware.
The thing is though, while Sam is not perfect in some ways, she is perfect in other ways. In fact, the word that is very frequently used to describe her is “special.” This term is used so frequently that it fast loses whatever sarcastic/humourous tinge it was supposed to have and becomes annoying and far from making me snigger resignedly every time it is used, it made me roll my eyes. Repeatedly. Not what the protagonist of a novel should make you do, if you think about it. She is special, she is a rare kind of supernatural who may have been prophesized for all I know about it. Anyway, that whole “special” thing is a very old trope that doesn’t present itself in any new and innovative way.
That said, I really really REALLY like that Rowen abstained from using the tired trope of the Mean Girls. She did have a mean girl but she reworked it and I was left feeling with a warm fuzzy feeling (well okay, not really but you know what I mean) by the fact that for once, girls were girls instead of a cardboard stereotype of mean girl and nice girl.
The whole angel mythology was, again, nothing terribly new but there were some interesting reinventions of the soul story. I liked that. The love interest – there is no love triangle, I can hear angels singing, pun somewhat intended, but the love interest is disturbing in some ways, mostly by being crazy-ish. And Sam frequently has people trying to kill her but that’s normal for paranormal YA heroines, poor creatures, so let’s get back to the romance, damn it.
The romance in the novel consumes everything else that might have been interesting. Why is romance the most important thing in the world for teenage girls? The dreaded word was used here so really, I had to stop and pause for a long moment before I could continue reading (the word here would be “soul mate”). You are sixteen years old and you are already looking for a soul mate. Ugh, I hate that term. So yeah, my already lagging enthusiasm for the book took a sharp dip when I came across that term. Thankfully the ending was near but it felt a bit too neat with some conflict leftover to segue into the next installment in the series.
We would be here for a long time were we to go into other aspects of the novel besides the romance, the violence and the gray area between right and wrong. However, since this is supposed to be a review in the loosest sense of the word, let me tell that you that if you want to read something light, frothy romance with a not so annoying protagonist and angels and demons, this might be the book for you.