Oh, hey, romance genre! I haven’t read you in…what’s it been?…gosh, it must be 14 years if it’s been a day!
The last romance novel I read was in grad school for a class on young adult literature. It was a true bodice ripper, set in ye ol’ fantasy times. I’ve never been a romance fan. Except for Twilight. Except for Pride and Prejudice. Except for those X-Files Mulder/Scully slash fanfic stories.
Okay, so I’m more game for the genre than I’d like to admit I am.
Enter NetGalley, where I’m invited to read hundreds of titles before or soon after they’re published. For free. Or rather, for an honest review. Like 1/3 of these offerings are romance novels. So I figured I’d check one out. That lucky novel was Darkness Falls (Reveler #1) by Erin Kellison, and I was happily surprised by it.
Imagine if Inception were a romance novel. *cue Inception sound* See, it’s already got you. So, no joke, the premise here is that shared dreaming has become a major entertainment, but like with all hot commodities, it’s being exploited. To combat the abuse of Rêve (the shared dreamspace), there are something akin to FBI agents who travel across dream boundaries to bring in the dream criminals. Our hot, rough around the edges bad boy is one of these agents, damaged from years of dreaming psychopaths’ nightmares. Plus he’s got a special nightmare of his own that he can barely keep at bay. Our hot, feminine but strong protagonist is a Rêve newbie with unimaginable raw talent for lucid dreaming. Bad boy wants to recruit her to the good side. Others want to use her talents for crime. She doesn’t know who to trust. But DAMN is that bad boy electric!
The book reads incredibly fast. It’ll get its hook in and not let go till the end. (I think that’s one of the draws of romance novels.) I flew through it in only a few hours.
I liked that the novel uses a shifting third-person semi-omniscient narrator. Part of the time, it was with our bad boy, Malcolm Rook, and part of the time, it was with Jordan Lane, our lead lady. There was no forced assumptions based on perspective, ala Pride and Prejudice and then reworked in Twilight. And my prior experience with romance novels almost exclusively sticks with the woman.
Jordan is a bit of a Mary Sue, but that’s better than her being some wilting damsel in distress, I suppose. Any Princessiness is of the Leia variety.
I also liked that the world they navigated their hot bodies through was actually interesting. The Rêve set-up kept me interested, even when they weren’t mid-fondle.
This is the first of the series, and it does end with a clear path to the next part of the Rêve adventure, but it also ends with a satisfying closure to one particular character conflict.
Pretty sure I’ll be seeking out Revelers #2, even if I don’t become a wider reader of the romance genre.