Wow! One of the best books I've read this year!

Crimson Night  - Marie Hall

I received this book for free from Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

 

My Initial Reaction…
Wow! I came to Crimson Night expecting a fun, sexy read with a bit of action. What I got was one hell of an emotional, action-packed, mysterious ride! I’ve just finished and I’m left with that feeling of shock and emotional distress that only comes when you finish a truly great book.

The Characters…

Pandora makes Crimson Night beautifully complex. Pandora is a Nephilim, which in her case means she shares her body with the demon aptly named Lust. Describing herself, Pandora says that within her body “beats one heart and two souls.” That couldn’t be a more perfect description of Pandora. She may have a demon within her, but it doesn’t take long to realize that the demon is Lust, not Pandora. Lust may have extended her otherwise human life to thousands of years and she may need sex to survive because of Lust, but Pandora is most definitely not the demon. In fact, one of the things I loved most about this book is the way Pandora is battling that side of herself. She has Lust in her and she knows she can’t deny that part of herself, but she also refuses to deny her more human tendencies, like emotion, love, and a distaste for killing. But Lust has also made Pandora one kick-ass chic. She’s strong and has some really awesome abilities (like the ability to transform into the object of anyone’s desire). Yep, I love Pandora.

There’s a great cast of supporting characters as well – and regardless of how much or how little time a character gets, I have to say I felt like they were important. I think that adds to the mystery, since Pandora suspects she has traitors in her midst and every character gets just enough attention to make you suspect each and every one of them. I’d love to talk about some of my favorites but I think to do that would potentially ruin that aspect of the mystery, so I’ll just say I grew incredibly attached to some of these characters and it really snuck up on me that I cared about them.

The Story…
The plot of Crimson Night centers around of Nephilim (called Neph for short) who run a carnival. To the casual observer that’s all it is, but for some that trip on the Ferris Wheel will be there last. But what’s incredible about this group of Neph is that they’re the good guys. Really! Yes, they’re demons and yes they kill, but they kill those that need killing. Vampires. People who do bad things. They have basically one rule, don’t hurt those with light in them. Okay, so some of those people we may have just stuck in jail, but you get the idea.

Anyway, they’ve been doing this for a long time – I’m not quite sure when the carnival started, but I got the sense we’re talking hundreds of years – and Pandora notices that there’s some things not quite right. Weird behaviors, more vampires daring to openly show up, and a priest shows up – the only thing Neph like Pandora fear, because you don’t just walk away from a priest; you die. Except Pandora doesn’t. And she doesn’t know why he didn’t kill her, just like she doesn’t know why she feels attracted to him in a way that she’s never – in 5000 years! – been attracted to man. All this combines to make one hell of a mystery that just keeps spiraling out of control.

The mystery may be the best aspect of this book. It’s one of those books that has so many obvious possibilities floating in front of you that you think you know what’s happening, but you don’t trust that you do and every time a new element is introduced you trust your instincts even less. That is compounded by the fact that Pandora is so confused and you only know what she knows. I also loved that for a Lust demon the sex is not in your face the way you might expect. Yes there’s sex – I mean, she’s a Lust demon. But it’s the sexual tension that’s really great. And, like true Urban Fantasy, the sex/sexual tension is really a backdrop to the mystery and action. Oh and the action! We’re talking some really great action moments!

I have to warn readers though that this is also a book that will mess with your emotions a bit. Some of the biggest mysteries in the book had me feeling super anxious, a little sick to my stomach, and eventually brought on some serious tears. I can’t say much more than that without spoiling it, but be prepared. I think that those moments were really well written and were really essential to making this book so great, though; no way I’d want them cut. The really great books tear you up a bit, right?

Concluding Sentiments…
This book shocked the hell out of me over and over and is easily one of the best books I’ve read this year! A definite must for your TBR shelves!