Dancing with the Devil

Dancing with the Devil - Keri Arthur Nikki is a private investigator blessed – or cursed – with considerable psychic abilities that definitely give her a leg up in her job. Certainly it should be enough to keep track of a spoiled and indulged off-the-rails teenaged girls at the behest of her unpleasant, but far-to-doting fatherBut that teenaged girl is in far deeper than Nikki had ever imagined, thrall to a vampire, becoming a vampire herself, she tries to lure Nikki in to her master, Jasper’s clutches. Her powers will be an incredible asset to himEspecially since he is being hunted by Michael, ancient vampire, troubleshooter – and on a mission to protect Nikki from Jasper. And settle his old grudge with Jasper while he’s at it, if he can, after having hunted the other vampire for decades.His priorities become skewed when he meets Nikki and starts to consider a relationship he thought impossible.There was a lot about this book that it got right. We had a very consistent internal voice, we had a developed and fairly clearly defined world (though I find the masquerade of the world a little odd). The pacing is really good – it runs at a nice steady rate. We have a hunt that is well maintained – the characters make a constant effort to catch the big bad that never has dead moments nor does it get massively distracted – not even by the romance. In fact the romance also has a good balance between pained introspection and actually getting on with the storyIt does start with a rather grandiose turn of phrase and a lot of convoluted rambling, but the book soon gets that out of its system and knives can just be knives rather than blades glowing with argent flame. Later there’s some shaky characterisation with both the big bad's persona (who is pretty much a comic book villain) as well as convoluted ways to make Nikki share her tortured past; Michael keeps telling her Jasper is attacking her through her bad memories but we've never actually seen him do thatThe main problem I have with this book is that there’s nothing shiny about it. It follows a lot of the traits and tropes I’ve seen elsewhere. Nikki has dead parents and a tragic past with an ex that has left her with issues and inability to trust. Michael has a tragic past and issues and a duty that will take him away from Nikki. Neither of them think they can fall in love but lo, love happens despite only knowing each other for a week. We have a big bad who is very big and very bad who Michael has a personal grudge against and he must balance his need for revenge against his love for Nikki. Nikki is a private investigator with psychic magic powers. Michael is a vampire. I've seen it before so many timesIt’s not that it’s bad – the story isn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination. It’s just that it reads like a basic urban fantasy/paranormal romance. There’s nothing unique here. It’s a template for so many urban fantasies and it just hasn’t coloured outside the lines at all. Many urban fantasies start with this – but then they embellish on top of it, they take the basic pattern and then add their own tweak, their own style, their own unique selling point to say why you should read them rather the gazillion and one other books on the market that are so similar to it.Read More