Monday, March 12, 2012

Kiss of Death by Jayme Morse and Jody Morse

Title: Kiss of Death
Series: The Briar Creek Vampires
Author: Jayme Morse & Jody Morse
Length: 2945 Kindle Units
Rating: 1 star

The Plot
When Lexi’s cousin Austin dies, she and her mother travel to their hometown of Briar Creek for a few days. But when tragedy strikes, Lexi finds herself stuck in the small Pennsylvania town for far longer than she anticipated. And as she starts to investigate her cousin’s death, she finds out that no one in Briar Creek is exactly who they seem.

The Good

The set-up for Kiss of Death was pretty interesting. I always like it better when a girl is involved in the supernatural events rather than just being the love interest of an immortal boy. Shortly after Lexi arrives in Briar Creek, it becomes apparent that her mother is keeping secrets from her about her family and the town. As the novel progresses, we discover that the town has many mysteries and that there may be something special about Lexi that puts her at the center of them.

The Bad

Often when I am reading a less-than-stellar novel, I must stop in the middle of the text and do a kind of book facepalm in order to recover from a ludicrous plot twist, over-cliched romance, or just bad writing in general. I think I facepalmed more times during Kiss of Death more than for any other book that I have ever read. Sometimes I would facepalm for a full minute and then only read for fifteen seconds before having to bury my head against my kindle yet again.

I could list several instances of where the book went astray, but I think I am going to limit myself to the most telling instance. Be aware that this could constitute a spoiler, so if you plan to read the book, either to spite me or out of some form of ritualistic masochism, feel free to stop reading this review now.

About a third of the way through the book, Lexi’s mother dies (of e. coli poisoning from beef even though she is a vegetarian. Dun Dun DUN!), and Lexi moves in with her Aunt Violet and Uncle Tommy. A few days later, Violet forces Lexi to go out on a date with a boy named Dan, and Lexi observes that this is the worst thing that could ever happen to her. Yes, that’s right. Her mother has just died. But the worst thing that could happen to her is having to go out with a boy she does not like. Clearly this is a girl with her priorities in order.

The Romance

Despite the fact that Lexi only plans to be in town for a few days, she decides that her cousin’s funeral is a great place to pick up guys, namely her neighbor Gabriel and her cousin’s best friend Dan. It is worth noting that she meets both boys within five minutes of each other, because the very next day she reacts very differently to each of them. She chastises Dan for coming on to strong when he puts his arm around her, then within ten minutes is making out with Gabriel. We are supposed to understand that Gabriel is obviously her One True Love, which explains all such behavior, but it doesn’t really explain anything, because Lexi is picking up new dates wherever she goes. Throughout the course of the book, the girl has not one, not two, but FIVE love interests of her very own, which would probably not be so bad if she were not coming down on other girls for being slutty.

Will I read more?

Throughout the course of Kiss of Death, it becomes painfully obvious that everyone is keeping secrets from Lexi. If she had the smallest modicum of initiative or perseverance, she would have questioned all interested parties until someone told her wtf was going on. She did not do this, and so I spent most of the book with a variety of burning questions. Why do Violet and Tommy want Lexi to date Dan so badly? Why does everyone hate Gabriel? Who is Lexi’s father? So when I finally get to the end of the book, I am not only happy that the torment is over but also that these blatant plot points will be put to rest.

Except that they aren’t. We get the answer to exactly one question, and, really, that one was pretty much a given, what with title of the series containing the word “vampires.” Then the book ends with a cliffhanger. Now the only way I can find out the reasons for the town’s odd behavior is to buy the next book, and I cannot do so because that would be encouraging the series in a way that would violate the deepest of my principles. (Not that I would ever discourage someone from writing a novel. But I would definitely discourage anyone from publishing one that is as badly in need of revision as Kiss of Death.) Plus, I really don’t have a lot of faith that I would get answers in the second book either. So I will forever be left wondering, which is vaguely uncomfortable, but not nearly as uncomfortable as sitting through another installment would be.

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