Book Review

Dark Obsession by Amanda Stevens

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Title: Dark Obsession
Author: Amanda Stevens
Publication Info: Silhouette (Dreamscapes) 1995
ISBN: 0373511280
Genre: Paranormal

I’m categorizing all my category (har!) reviews under the heading “1001 Ways to Eat Crow” because I’m reading a monster truck shitload of category romance right now, averaging about 75% of a book per day. I read fast. And I’m enjoying them. For the most part. This is an exception. But either way, I’m reading quickly enough that my usual monster session of navel-gazing in a review will have to be trimmed by a good bit for the category binge I’m on now. Avast – here begin ye shorte reviews!


In a word, this book was Yawntastic. It has such a great setup,  but the plot and the characterization were so limply executed. A horror writer’s sister is murdered, and a vampire hero has to save her, protect her from potentially risen sister, and eradicate the bad guy vampire dude what’s doing the killing. The heroine writes books that scare even the hero, yet in the course of the story she’s firmly a wuss on the border of TSTL. I was repeatedly told she authored some scary, chilling books but saw no evidence of creativity or crafty thinking in any portion of her scenes in the book. Perhaps she has a ghost writer- literally.

And you know all those warnings to “show not tell?” This here is a 251-page example of tell tell tell with little to show for it. Honestly, it reminds me of Moonlight where terrific actors suffer through some of the most wooden, uninspiring dialog ever in the history of the televised world. If this book were a radio play, the voice actors would probably be shrugging and rolling their eyes as they read it aloud. Check this out:

“…Don’t forget the oath we all took. We can’t reveal the Mission or its purpose to anyone. if the citizens out there found out what we’re dealing with, there would be mass hysteria. Civilization as we know it could crumble, and we would have no way to prevent it. You can’t tell her, Nick. You can’t tell anyone….”

What if he couldn’t protect Erin? What if he lost her to the darkness, too? He’d already lost his soul. How could he survive knowing that she had lost hers, too?

Behold: among my least favorite romance stereotypical heroes? The whiny-ass navel-gazing angsty emo Vampire. More emo than Peter Petrelli from Heroes and that is some emorific emoism to the 100th power of emo, my friend.

And among the top twenty list of my stereotype dislikes in romance? The Doomful Warning of Mass Hysteria from the character who wants to preserve the ignorance of the mortals. Give it up already, dude.

In the end, well, I didn’t get to the end. After the heroine went into yet another trance and the hero busted down the door to save her, I skimmed to the end. There was a happy ending. I wasn’t happy for either of the characters. I couldn’t have cared less.

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Teddy Pig says:

    Should I bring beer? Crow is so dry.

  2. 2
    --E says:

    Reading that excerpt, there was only one thing that sprang to my mind:

    “Dogs and cats living together—mass hysteria!”

    Emo melodrama shoud not tweak one’s memories of Ghostbusters. Maybe it was supposed to be a comedy?

  3. 3
    SB Sarah says:

    That is exactly what I thought! All of a sudden it was Bill Murray’s voice I heard.

  4. 4
    Wry Hag says:

    [Sharpening my special plagiarism pencil and reaching for my special plagiarism notebook…]

    Civilization as we know it would crumble…

  5. 5
    Shiin says:

    Leave Peter alone!

    Poor Peter it’s not his fault season 2 was such a mess up – seriously Amnesiac!Peter found in middle-of-nowhere Cork Ireland (Ireland WTF? BAD! Inconsistent horribly fake Irish accents BAD! No Guinness for you! My Irish relatives will be calling me up and laughing their asses off.)

    And Peter is allowed to be Emo.

    Nathan? No, Nathan does not angst well.

    /end Heroes ramblings

  6. 6

    There’s a much more realistic reason the vamps in my books don’t want humans to find out about them—to minimize the torch-and-pitchfork bearing posses, of course.  I mean, duh.  People hate what they fear + People kill what they hate = secret vamp society.  I’ve never understood any other reason given for vamp secrecy, personally.  Civilization’s pretty resilient.  A few fangs ain’t gonna kill it.

    And I hate the angsty emo vamp hero, too.  Have done ever since I read Anne Rice and spent the next month in a deep depression.  Oh, you poor all-powerful immortal beautiful sexy rich man, you!  Whatever.  Show me a homeless vamp on food stamps and I’ll believe it.

  7. 7
    talpianna says:

    Amelia—Just what would a vamp GET with food stamps?  Wouldn’t he do better with a cashier’s check drawn on a blood bank?

  8. 8
    denni says:

    Kudos on “show not tell”…I hate that.  The narrator tells us over and over how tough, kick ass, brillant the character is…then shows us something entirely different.  Aaack!  This so drops me out of the story.

  9. 9

    That dialogue was so awful I thought it was written by George Lucas.

    taking63: 63 different ways to say “As you know, Bob…”

  10. 10

    Amelia—Just what would a vamp GET with food stamps?

    Maybe those big cups of liver in bloody water?  My dog loves it, but I’m not sure she’s the best judge of quality eating.  Snort!

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