Okay, okay…I know some of you will question what exactly I was expecting when the book has a cover like this, but for those of you who have been with me since I swoon over fictional men’s birth, you’ll remember that, initially, I reviewed nothing but paranormal romance.
I guess my DNFing (it’s a word, shut up) of this book maybe shows just how much I’ve grown as a reader throughout the duration of 2017; life’s too short to read books you’re not enjoying! At the tail end of 2016, I realized reading was becoming something of a chore because I was hesitant to read outside of my ‘preferred’ genre…and it dawned on me that with many of the books that I was reading, I was essentially rereading the same story over and over again, just with different characters in different locations.
I’m not one for New Year’s Resolutions, but on 1st January 2017, I pledged to read more widely and boy, have I read more widely since then. I’ve been reading drama, horror, sci fi, non-fiction, poetry…
…but I still enjoy the odd bit of romance now and again and following my reading of Archangel’s Viper, I felt my romance fix hadn’t been entirely satisfactory, so I decided to browse the Kindle store for some new titles.
And that’s where I stumbled upon The Dark Ones. On paper (or on screen, I should say) it sounded like your average, run-of-the-mill paranormal romance. Vampires, immortal kings, conflicts, drama, the ‘chosen one‘…The Dark Ones has it all and as I’m your stereotypical poor student, when I saw it was free, I hit ‘Download’ quicker than I make a cup of tea when I wake up in the morning (which is pretty fucking quick).
As I settled into my reading of it, though, I found myself becoming increasingly uneasy and it was when I hit the 35% mark that I realized I just couldn’t read anymore. It was depressing me and I’m depressed enough as it is without my method of escapism making me feel even worse. It wasn’t just the superficial, archetypal characters that very often populate the realms of paranormal romance (y’know, the darkly troubled, brooding asshole that everyone lusts after etc)…it was more the sheer oppression of the female protagonist that was bothering me.
The Dark One’s protagonist is a woman called Genesis and despite her being a two dimensional, annoyingly whiny character, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her. The author’s treatment of her epitomizes everything that I hate about this genre when it’s done wrong. Let me explain:
1. She has no free will. The moment she steps through the door that leads her to the immortals, Genesis is stripped of the scraps of free will she’d possessed in her previous life. The male immortals barter for her ‘services’ like she’s nothing more than a slab of meat, all while she stands, shaking as terror naturally courses through her body. If that doesn’t sound horrific enough, Ethan then ‘has to’ forcibly ‘mark’ Genesis to make her his ‘mate’ because it’s so obviously the only way to save her from Cassius….she has literally known Ethan for about half an hour by this point. Oh, and the greatest thing about all of this? She doesn’t understand the implications of his actions until afterwards, which leads me quite nicely onto my second point…
2. Being an immortal’s mate is quite literally a life or death situation and not because the immortal world is teeming with blood-thirsty vampires and rabid werewolves. Oh no. The actual process of becoming an immortal’s mate is life-threatening. Genesis’ life hangs in the balance through no decision of her own and why, you might ask, do the immortals need humans? Well, conveniently to the plot…
3. …immortals can only have offspring with humans. She’s essentially being forced into sexual slavery. Cassius wants Genesis so he can breed with her and, at one point, she’s actually referred to as ‘a breeder’.
4. Ethan treats Genesis like shit. I dunno, maybe their relationship improves later in the book but certainly in the 35% that I read, he was a class A dick to her. One minute, he’s leaning forward about to kiss her, the next he’s throwing a temper tantrum and stomping around downstairs because she doesn’t truly ‘love’ him (calm it, buddy, she’s not even known you 24 hours!). His emotions are about as predictable as a forest fire (which I imagine aren’t very predictable? Correct me if I’m wrong) and while I’m not a psychologist, I can imagine being subjected to that kind of behavior would make a person extremely frightened and insecure.
5. Soul-consuming lust. This is something that kinda ties in with my first point; Genesis not only loses free will over her life, but she loses free will over her body too. Her mind is literally fighting against her body’s yearning for Ethan and this yearning is something that, initially (because no doubt she’ll realize she does actually love him later in the book), is a result of his forced ‘marking’ of her. I don’t even need to explain how many shades of creepy and messed up that is.
So there we have it. Rant over, guys. What books have you recently DNFed?