Dark Paradise, Book #4
By Angie Sandro
Author’s website: http://anjeasandro.blogspot.com/
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Scott
I’ll be the first to admit that urban fantasy/romance is not really what I’d normally pick up, but with Dark Embrace, that reluctance was overcome by pure joy. A crafty novel with a hint of the supernatural, this book left me wanting more. Angie Sandro is a talented writer who knows when to wrench up the action to the point where the “romance” in the novel almost takes a side street. More Urban Fantasy than romance, I was drawn into the book gasping for air, waiting for it to end.
This is where the problem lies: the ending. The book has an amazing plot and the action is well described. Sandro throws enough twists and turns to keep the reader engaged. The problem lies in the fact that the book just ends. No character development; no closure – it just ends. Granted, it does give you a preview for Dark Desire, the next book in the series. Still, I felt there could have been some character growth, and some type of closure to allow the book to stand on its own. Without the denouement, the book arcs the action to the climax and then leaves you hanging. While this is a hard part to work around, given word count or page count, but I would have liked the characters more if there was some closure on their part.
Characters in Dark Embrace are fully three dimensional, save for the odd side role, and Angie Sandro shines in developing her two main protagonists: Dena Ackers and Michael Anders. Throughout the novel we see more and more facets of their wonts and desires. Charming in its own way, the characters from Dark Embrace shine with a light that few authors in this genre ignite. Told from Dena’s point of view, the novel cascades about her odd predicaments, and washes the other characters clean and more believable. As the book progresses, and more odd abilities crop up, this urban fantasy/mystery novel takes the characterization to the fore. I had no complaints as to how the characters related to each other. Only a little closure on the characters part, aside from one short paragraph at the end, could have helped this get a 5 star review.
The writing is handled deftly, and the passions and paranormal seem to fit right in. From the police detective, to the men on the sheriff’s team, to the Russian mob, Voodoo priestesses and beyond, Dark Embrace somehow manages to make these myriad elements seamlessly intertwine over the course of the novel with minimal suspension of disbelief. The style is brisk, blunt in places and lavish in others. It reads well and definitely plays the reader along. Overall, it’s a solid novel. The lack of a proper ending is the only fault I could find. As mentioned previously, had there been a three act structure, it would have moved me. Unfortunately, the two acts are all you get; but truth be told, they’re good acts.
Overall, Dark Embrace captures the reader right off the hop. Angie Sandro writes a solid beginning of a perceivably long series. The blend of action, kung foo, gangster, murder and romance are blended well into a reality that’s not far off the reader’s radar. It works in this book, and I would highly recommend it to dark fantasy, urban fantasy, science fiction, romance and a plethora of others, as the book holds something for everyone. Dark Embrace, whilst lacking an ending, paves the road to new beginnings. Angie Sandro will, given a proper structure, certainly be an author to watch out for.