Monday, January 2, 2012

A Job from Hell by Jayde Scott

Title: A Job from Hell
Series: Ancient Legends
Author: Jayde Scott
Length: 6714 Kindle Units
Rating: 1.5 star

The Plot

Amber needed to save some money for college, so her brother finds her a job as a housekeeper in Scotland. Then she finds out that the reason her brother got her this job was that he wanted to steal a bunch of gems from a shed on the property. Amber reluctantly helps with this task, but what she doesn’t know is that the gems are the object of a supernatural race.

As the winner of the race, Amber has been gifted with Sight, something that is sought after by vampires, shadows, demons, and who knows what else. So now all these creatures are desirous of her service, and some of them aren’t going to ask nicely.

The Good

I thought the premise of A Job from Hell was really original. An ordinary human girl accidentally winning a supernatural contest that she knows nothing about is a great idea for a story. It provides a great opportunity for introducing a variety of supernatural creatures in a plot-relevant way.

A Job from Hell also had some interesting paranormal races. There were vampires and demons, which we’ve all seen before, but there were also half-gods and shadows. What is a shadow? Well, it’s a new supernatural race created exclusively for this book and the sworn enemies of the vampires. As to specific powers, well…

The Bad

I’m really not clear on what a shadow is, except that they seem to live inside a difficult-to-penetrate locale and have a crazy queen. Also, they really want Amber to get a book for them. The vampires also want Amber to do something for them, something that will allow them to walk in daylight and/or destroy the ghost of their former maker/partner/psycho bitch queen. (Crazy bitch queen was a common theme. The ruler of the supernatural world was one as well.) These goals can apparently be accomplished simultaneously, but the vampires and shadows are still in competition for who can use the gift of sight to achieve them.

Honestly, for a very large portion of what is not a short book, I had absolutely no idea what was going on. Like, I knew the characters were going to a party or walking somewhere, but I had no idea what their goals were or what they planned to do when they got there. Instead of any explanation, most of the dialogue ended up being a series of inappropriate and not-particularly-funny jokes, which neither furthered the plot nor clarified wtf was going on.

The Romance

The romance in the book is based around the following premise: Aidan sees Amber on the streets of London and immediately recognizes her as his soulmate. So he puts out an advertisement that he is looking for a housekeeper and makes sure that Amber’s brother gets a hold of it. He then hires her and plans to woo her while she is working for him.

Maybe I’m underestimating the romance potential here. After all, I never really got Jane Eyre. But wouldn’t it have made more sense to just walk up to her and ask her if she wanted to get a cup of coffee? If the fact that Aidan is super-hot wouldn’t have convinced her, I’m sure their instantly-noticeable cosmic connection would have swayed the vote. And if that didn’t work, he could always throw in “BTW I have an estate in Scotland.”

Once the characters were in the same location, the romance continued not to progress in any recognizable fashion. Aidan ignored her for the first few days and then invited her to hang out with him and his friends. This largely served to confuse her, and it’s no wonder. They didn’t have very many scenes alone together, and in those they were arguing rather than having a satisfying romantic connection. Yet they each seemed willing to make remarkable sacrifices for the other. It might have been really satisfying, if I could understand what these sacrifices were.

Will I read more?

I’m actually disappointed that I don’t want to read more of the series. The next book is about Cass, one of the more interesting supporting characters in A Job from Hell. I like a series that switches its focus around the characters; I think it helps keep it fresh and interesting. Unfortunately, making it through this first book was painful enough that I can’t see myself being so masochistic as to subject myself to another installment.


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