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Monday, May 14, 2012
Book Review: A Patch of Darkness by Yolanda Sfetsos
Author: Yolanda Sfetsos
Series: Sierra Fox, book 1
Publisher: Samhain Publishing
Source: From author for review
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For more information visit Yolanda Sfetsos’s website
Sierra Fox is a Spook Catcher. It is well known that ghosts roam around. They even have their own council. When the ghosts get too rowdy, home owners call on Sierra to come take care of the problem. When Sierra gets a mysterious note dropped off at her front door, she follows the note to a time and place to meet hunters of creatures she didn’t know existed. They were brought together by another type of person(ish) to help out with a problem.
A Patch of Darkness is the first in an Urban Fantasy series. The main plot line here is Sierra trying to figure out what is wrong with the ghosts, and why so many demons pop up, but underneath it is a mystery—who is messing with the Sierra? I am surprised that this is the first book in the series. There is a ton of back plotting done, which can make the novel drag a bit. The back plotting goes into why Sierra hates the council, what they did to her and for a long time leaves the reader wondering.
It is the romantic plot lines that bothered me. Sierra is dealing with a lot of crazy stuff, and on top of that she is juggling boyfriend Jonathan. Hints are dropped, no not dropped, slapped across the main characters face that he may be involved in more than she thinks. She ignores it for the majority of the novel which I didn’t understand, but that has to do with characters, and I will get to that in a moment. There is also another minor romantic subplot with the P.I. upstairs, but this became distracting, and didn’t seem to add a lot to the main events.
It is safe to say Sierra was hard for me to identify with, and it didn’t help that I felt detached from her relationships. The only one that felt real was her relationship with her assistant Ebony. Sierra uncovers a secret about her past which should have been life altering, but I didn’t feel as if it was, and when it affected her emotionally, I was just ready for her to move on. This has a lot to do with the amount of stuff Sierra tells the reader. Instead of experiencing the characters through actions, we experience them through Sierra’s judgments that are proven wrong, and hard to relate to.
The story takes place in Australia, which was fine by me. The descriptions are nice, and easy to follow. Also the story has its slow spots, but picks up very quickly when the action happens. Sierra does a lot of ghost hunting which makes for some really great fun scenes.
The story is left with some questions for a second novel. The main problem with it is that though it ties together at the end it lacks emotional impact. I wanted to feel more for the main character than I did, instead I put things together faster than she did, and couldn’t always understand her judgments. Instead of experiencing things the reader is told a number of things which lead me to feel uncertain about the main character. Unreliable protagonists are usually okay in my book, but because of the holes between her and other characters, I left the novel feeling distant.