Book Review — Dying Bites

Title: Dying Bites
Author:  DD Barant  
Genre:  Urban fantasy  
Pages:  Paperback, 304  
Published:  June 2009  
Publisher:  St. Martin's  
ISBN:  0-312-94258-3  
Opening Lines:  "I think about monsters a lot."

Rating



"Her job description is 'tracking and apprehension of mentally fractured killers.' What this really means in FBI profiler Jace Valchek's brave new world—one in which only one percent of the population is human—is that a woman's work is never done. And real is getting stranger every day . . .

"Jace has been ripped from her reality by David Cassius, the vampire head of the NSA. He knows that she's the best there is in the business, and David needs her help in solving a series of gruesome murders of vampires and werewolves. David's world—one that also includes lycanthropes and golems—is one with little knowledge of mental illness. An insane serial killer is a threat the NSA has no experience with. But Jace does. Stranded in a reality where Bela Lugosi is a bigger box-office draw than Bruce Willis, and every full moon is Mardu Gras, Jace must now hunt down a fellow human before he brings the entire planet to the brink of madness. Or she may never see her own world again . . ."

~ Jacket copy




I stumbled upon this book after picking up a later book in the series.  If I remember correctly, it involved zombies!  Needless to say, this book quickly ended up in a pile of new books.  However, it was one of the books I found while doing serious cleaning a few months back.


Jace Valchek is one of the top FBI profilers.  She is able to put herself into the mind of the crazies, determine why they do what they do, and stop them from continuing on their killing sprees.  Her ability to find her mark and get her job done has found its way to the ear of David Cassius, the head of the NSA.  Thus begins Jace's tenure with the NSA working to stop a serial killer.  However, the inter-agency trade is not what she expects.

What she thought was a strange dream turns out to be real.  The man standing before her is a vampire and the head of the NSA, her partner is a golem, and her doctor is a lycanthrope.  From all outward appearances, everything seems normal.  But that couldn't be farther from the truth.  Jace has been transported to a parallel universe where humans are very much the minority and everything is run by the supernaturals.  Now, if she wants to return home, she must work for people who desire to subjugate the human race and stop one of her own. 


When I first picked up this book, the whole concept seemed rather interesting and unique.  Most of the time we're used to seeing urban fantasy books that present an alternate view of reality—a reality where supernaturals live alongside the human population.  However, in this book, that isn't the case.  Jace must be transported to a parallel universe in order to pull in the UF elements.  Something about that was different and fresh.  Nevertheless, once I started the book, the whole concept was just blasé.  The world creation just fell short.  Tracing the supernatural takeover back to WWII was neat; however, I still felt it was underdeveloped.

As a character, Jace was annoying and unsympathetic.  She vacillated between different bouts of moodiness. Half of the time I couldn't decide if she needed to be medicated or just take time off for PMS.  It was obvious that the author intended for Jace to be witty, funny, and snarky; however, she just came across as a bitch.  There are several times when Jace jumps to conclusions and is extremely rude/unpleasant toward the people she works with.  Many times she would attack Charlie for no apparent reason.

While some of the other character seemed like they could have had interesting back stories, they were one dimensional and embryonic.  Further, all of the races seem to be the same: the lycanthropes are in a constant state of rut, the vampires feed to the cold and aloof stereotype, and so on. 

There were a lot of weird things in the book that didn't sense to me.  The humans, while stating that they were not supes, could have magical powers and shape change.  That seemed rather weird.  If humans were a helpless minority, why would they be able to control magic?  It was obvious that the author did a lot of research; however, she has regular humans as selkies.  Huh?

For me, the book rounds out to a big, resounding meh.  It just didn't do it for me.  It was a rather mindless read and never helped me move beyond my initial feelings.  Moreover, the ending was extremely predictable.  That being said,there are some sui generis themes that could easily be cultivated into something amazing.  As it stands, this book is immature, badly paced, and not well thought out.






Current Pages: 3125
Current Progress:

10/50 books


Much love, Sinn

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    "If you’re a freak like me, Wave your flag! If you’re a freak like me, Get off your ass! It’s our time now, To let it all hang out!" I am a recovering English major, closet bibliophile, breve addicted, zombie lover with a rockabilly and heavy metal fetish.