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Friday, September 20, 2013

The Bad Death by Naima Haviland

I wish that I could say that I liked this book, but unfortunately it was a miss for me in many ways. The story is basically about a slave woman named Anika (or Annie) who is possessed by the spirit of a modern ballet dancer (who Anika and the other slaves call a hag). The spirit that has hitched a ride in Anika's body is in love with Anika's master Julian. Anika on the other hand is attracted to Marcus, another slave who acts as an overseer on the plantation. There's somewhat of a love triangle going on, but it isn't the main storyline. There are monsters called plat-eyes who are drinking people's blood and either killing them or turning them into plat-eyes as well. When a person is turned to a plat-eye they've died a "Bad Death" because they didn't die and stay dead the way that they should have. As you can guess a plat-eye is a vampire and there's a whole lotta death happening on the plantation. Anika becomes the go to person to kill the vampires.

I'm a fast reader so it rarely takes me a long time to read a book. The Bad Death was so confusing however, that I could barely force myself to continue. A week in and I was just at the halfway mark and contemplating throwing in the towel, however, out of courtesy to the author who had lent me a copy I felt obligated to stick it out.

The Pros: Marcus. Here was a great character who did what he thought was best for his fellow slaves even if it was unsavory. He is an intelligent and proud man and was the one character who stood out. This might seem insignificant, but I liked the cover art. It's vibrant and Anika's eyes are mysteriously haunting and intense. It's also refreshing to see a cover that isn't on every other IR or AA romance that's currently on the market.

The Negatives: There are several areas that were a problem for me, such as the depiction of slave life on the plantation. I also really didn't care for the whole ballet aspect of it. Ballet (yes ballet) seems to give Anika the skills necessary to fight the vampires but it just seemed silly to me. I also wish I could have learned more about the hag. We get flashbacks as the hag makes Anika dance, but they are disjointed and don't really reveal anything that you haven't already figured out. Julian is another problem for me. He was just too annoying in his refused to listen and seemed weak minded to me. He was the one person everyone felt had to be protected from the truth. The ending was also a negative for me because it didn't really end anything. There were so many loose threads and unanswered questions that I just felt frustrated.

My Final Thoughts: The Bad Death had a lot of potential and I was initially very excited to have the opportunity to read it. Unfortunately it was too unbelievable in too many ways for me to enjoy. Although the ballet aspect seemed silly to me, it was a potentially clever and original effort that missed its mark.

Note: I was given a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Ratings: 2 Stars
Publication Date: August 29, 2013

Pages:  494

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