Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Review: Race the Darkness by Abbie Roads

Title: Race the Darkness
Series: Fatal Dreams
Author: Abbie Roads
Read copy: eBook
Published: October 4, 2016
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
ISBN: 1492639192
ISBN-13: 9781492639190

Her voice haunts his thoughts; her whispers fill his days, but when he discovers the woman of his dreams is
real, he'll race the clock to save her before she's lost to him forever

Scarred by lightning, burdened with a power that gives him no peace, criminal investigator Xander Stone struggles to maintain his sanity against the voice that haunts him day and night-the voice of a woman begging him to save her.

Isleen Walker has long since given up hope of escape from the nightmare of captivity and torture that is draining her life, her mind, and her soul. Except...there is the man in her feverish dreams, a strangely beautiful man who beckons her to freedom. And when he comes,
if he comes, it will take all their combined fury and faith to overcome a madman bent on fulfilling a deadly prophecy.

My rating:

Ever since he's been struck by lightning ten years ago, Xander Stone hears better. So much better in fact, he can hear other people's thoughts. And for the past couple of years, he's been hearing a woman's voice in his head, but, since he doesn't know her and she's nowhere near him, she must be a hallucination...Until he goes for a drive one night, and finds her at Death's door, tortured, starved, and beaten.

Isleen has been dreaming about Xander since she can remember. Those dreams were the only thing keeping her sane, and alive in the midst of torture and pain she's been enduring for what seems forever. But if she thinks that now that her knight in shining armor has saved her, she's truly free, truly safe, and truly secure, she needs to think twice, because evil has the knack of sticking around...

This book started off great. The premise, with the hero having acute hearing and being also able to read thoughts, and the tortured heroine with some sort of connection to the hero, was great, I loved Xander and his snarkiness, I thought, this is just right up my alley...Until it quickly took a wrong turn and never got back on course.

I don't know what to make of it. It read like the author had no idea which genre to pick, so she went with everything, ending up in a jumble that wasn't a romance, wasn't a good paranormal, and wasn't a good suspense. Sometimes mixing and matching is a good thing, and sometimes it isn't.
There was just too much going on, too many plot-elements and devices, until the story (and its characters) were all over the place. For example: was the "other woman" drama really necessary to the plot? What did it bring to the table beside the drama, and an additional excuse for the heroine to come across as naive and stupid? Or what about the heroine's dreams? Those also looked like a redundant plot-device, since the whole kidnapping and torture motive could've easily be solved by making the villain as crazy as he already was, but keeping the whole story more in the confines of suspense instead of going down the woo-woo/religious-fanatic lane.

Speaking of woo-woo, the connection between the hero and heroine qualifies. And although paranormals are usually all about the woo-woo, this insta-attraction, insta-trust, insta-love, and all around healing powers of the connection struck me as a little too convenient, leaving the confines of paranormal and going into the fantasy realm. I know we're talking about fiction, here, and no one expects much realism in romance novels, especially those in the paranormal genre, but everything has its boundaries. This one effectively went over each and every one of them.

The romance wasn't convincing, the "connection" too convenient, the paranormal aspects too much out there (and too many of them), and the suspense left much to be desired since everything was so easily solved thanks to the aforementioned convenient "connection" between Isleen and Xander.

Overblown, overcomplicated, and disappointing.


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