After Dark by Jayne Castle is advertised as a romance, fantasy, mystery book. I love fantasy books but this one was the pits. The main character Lydia is trying to put her life back together after a bad experience in an alien tomb. She lost her job at the university and is now a private contractor working to help people find artifacts for their private collections.
This claims to be the first book in the series but if that’s the case the world building sucked. It took me about half the book to find out that the humans were the alien species on the planet. From what I could gather that humans journeyed (maybe on a spaceship?) to the planet, Harmony, through what was referred to as a curtain. Humans carved out a place on the planet and while they were doing that the curtain closed and they were forever separated from Earth. If someone has read this series and knows if any of this is even close to understanding the world please let me know. Even though this book was awful I may just read the next the book to see if I understood the world even a little bit.
The story starts with Lydia and her first client Emmett discovering a dead body. The body turns out to be Lydia’s friend Chester. Thus starting the kind of crappy, really not well thought out mystery or romance.
Emmett is super rich and he’s handsome to boot! But even though he wants for nothing he doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty. That’s right ladies if you need help painting your wall and Emmett shows up in a nice suit he’ll just grab a paintbrush and start helping! He also just decides to fix things in Lydia’s life without her asking (ex. Lock on building). But there is one problem… HE IS A GHOST HUNTER AND LYDIA HATES THOSE! Lydia spends a lot of time saying she hates them and making assumptions about them and then Emmett gets annoyed. Does Lydia figure out that she should stop doing this? Nope, which is super weird considering before her incident she was a well published academic.
Emmett also suffers from the condition that most male leads in romance novels have, that he keeps secrets from Lydia. If you think that sounds kind of dumb, you don’t understand, he knows what’s going on. Since he knows what’s going on he continually tries to explain to Lydia that she’s not safe and he needs to fire her. Why? BECAUSE HE KNOWS WHATS GOING ON! Lydia is just going to get hurt and even though he repeatedly says that he knows she’s not fragile he keeps trying to decide whats best for her.
The repetitive nature of Castel’s writing frequently made me groan. Miss what someone said because you were too busy rolling your eyes? Don’t worry it’ll probably be mentioned again in the next page and a half or so.
Also why do people who write books that take place in the future do weird things to what they call marriage? In this book you could have one marriage for no kids and another for if you were having kids. But if you wanted to have kids and you were in a no kid marriage you had to dissolve your first one and get remarried. THIS DOESN’T MAKE SENSE! Why would a society do that? Why? This is just Castle trying to show how “weird” and “different” the future is without really putting any effort into it. It’s just lazy. This reminded me a lot of J.D Robb (Nora Roberts) In Death series, if you like those books then this series is for you.
Does it pass the Bechdel test?