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Tall, Dark and Dead - Tate Hallaway

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Genre: Fiction / Author: Tate Hallaway / Paperback / 288 Pages / Book is published 2007-06-14 by Headline Review

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      17.01.2009 15:32
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      Cover lies, so better than I expected from the cover, but not brilliant

      (This review is expanded from a review I posted on my blog)

      First thing you should know about this book: The cover lies.

      Garnet Lacey is a witch. But she's pretending not to be. Dressed like a teenaged goth, she works in a New Age bookstore so that no one will take her seriously. She's afraid of being found by the Vatican, who are after her in a big way. She used to be someone else.

      One night in this previous life, she arrived late for her coven meeting only to find that Vatican witch-hunters had got there before her, and were in the process of murdering all her friends. She summoned the goddess Lilith to help her, and ended up killing the witch hunters. She had to leave her home and take a new name.

      Lilith scares her almost as much as the Vatican, and Garnet has sworn off real magic to keep Lilith at bay and to hide herself from the witch-hunters. It's all going well until Sebastian Von Traum walks into her bookstore searching for mandrake root. Her curiosity - and her lust - is aroused, but he hasn't got an aura, which can only mean one thing: he is isn't alive. In fact, he's a vampire with a spell to cast so he can keep on living and the Vatican on his tail...

      See what I mean? Killing and pale yellow? REALLY? It is not as chick-litty and funny as that cover makes out. It's pretty much standard supernatural romance with a high body count, and I did enjoy it.

      I did find it to be too heavy on the romance and too light on the action for my tastes - most of the action is skipped over as Garnet is possessed by Lilith - although it had some nice humorous moments. One thing that I found inadvertently hilarious was that Garnet's ex-boyfriend Daniel Parrish and new boyfriend Sebastian Von Traum both had "English accents". It's such a cliche for American romantic novels to star men with "English accents", and of course, by "English accents" they actually mean posh boarding-school accents, not scouse or Cockney or Yorkshire...

      The author has done her research into Wiccan rituals and astrology, which gives Garnet, the main character, authenticity. However, Garnet likes to pretend she knows things about vampires that she doesn't, and as she's the first person narrator a lot of questions I had about the way the vampires in the world of the book work went unanswered. The status of gods in the story was never clear either. Wiccans generally believe that the gods they invoke are not actual individual beings, but facets of a supreme power, but Garnet has a goddess, Lilith, partially and sometimes entirely possessing her. Catholic magic co-exists alongside Wiccan magic, but the author never explains how this is possible.

      There are also a handful of spelling and grammar mistakes in this book which really annoyed me.

      I preferred the early entries in Laurell K. Hamilton's Anita Blake series for world creation and action, but this wasn't a bad stab at the genre, and I'll probably read the second in the series soon.

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