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Review: Dark Descendant by Jenna Black (Descendants #1)

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From VBC: I’m super excited to introduce Vampire Book Club’s newest reviewer, Jo! She has excellent taste, especially when it comes to urban fantasy. Feel free to give her a big welcome in the comments!

Dark Descendant by Jenna BlackDark Descendant (Descendants #1)
Jenna Black
Published: 2011 (Pocket Star)
Purchase at: Book Depository or Amazon

Review by: Jo

Rating (out of 5): 3.5 stars

Having read and loved the earlier Dark-Hunter novels by Sherrilyn Kenyon, I was looking forward to this new urban fantasy series using ancient gods as its premise.

Dark Descendant starts off dark and fast paced, and continues in that way. There is a nice mixture of action and mystery, with Jenna Black’s quick and witty writing style nicely balancing out the more brutal aspects of the plot. These Immortals are powerful, vicious and not afraid to hurt you if you get in their way! The plot builds toward a great climax filled with lightening bolts and Olympian-style justice.

Due to her being a rare Artemis descendant Nikki is a highly prized commodity and you can’t help feeling for her. She’s constantly having to pick the lesser of two evils, all the while trying to get her breath back after her whole understanding of the world is rocked on its axis. She never truly knows who to trust which makes her very isolated through much of the book but with her background this doesn’t seem to be anything new. She’s brave, resilient but also very human in her reactions to some difficult situations. She’s a great addition to the urban fantasy heroine lineup. It’s just a shame that we didn’t get to see her really explore her new talents.

Which leads me to the reason behind the 3.5 stars. The world building. It had so much potential, but the ancient gods mythology gets lost in all the action. Usually the first in the series of a new UF is criticized for too much world building, big information dumps that slow the plot down, Dark Descendant is the opposite. Very little is explained about the cast of immortals we meet, no real individual back stories or how the group came together. We were introduced to a lot of characters so it would have been hard to do that for all without information overload but key characters would have just pushed it into the 4-star mark for me.

Saying that, the self-centered nature and detachment from humanity that the Greek gods were known for is well echoed in the Descendants treatment of Nikki, particularly in the beginning. Everyone seems to have the potential for great goodness but also great evil. This makes for very little in the way of romance as she spends most of the book appalled or furious with most of the men involved!

Dark Descendant opens the way for what could be a stand out series with a fresh premise and a great lead character. The sky is the limit as to where Black could take this series and I for one can’t wait to see where it goes.

Would recommend if you like: Christina Henry’s Black Wings series, Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter (much more PNR but heavy on the Greek mythology.)

Sexual content: references to rape and its aftermath

2 Responses to “Review: Dark Descendant by Jenna Black (Descendants #1)”

  1. Rebs R says:

    I seemed to have enjoyed this one a bit more than you, I really enjoyed the whole world, I didn’t think that it lacked in world building. I kinda like it when they keep things simple.

  2. I finished the book last night… I gave it 4 stars and a rousing 2 thumbs up. It was an amazingly great first book in a new series.

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