21 January, 2011
Review: Night Betrayed by Joss Ware
I should hate this book, it has almost everything I dislike in romance thrown into a blender. But I really enjoyed it. Joss Ware may have converted me to paranormals with stupidly stubborn heroines all by herself. Let's see - take one part Internet Pioneer, one part Old Guy That Hangs Out On His Porch, one part Lightning Lad and you've got Theo. He's 80ish (he looks 30ish) and is looking for love or the return of MMO gaming. Maybe even both. Oh, and he's dead. But not a vampire. Or a zombie. There are no vampires here, so move along if that's your thing.
He's dead, then he's not dead, and in the process of not actually dying he meets Serena. (Hereafter the Krentz-Heroine-Slayer to me) Serena is 50ish, looks 30ish, and enjoys long walks out past the protective gates of the compound to save the souls of the misunderstood zombies. You might know zombies as smelly, nasty, undead creatures out to rip anything human to shreds and eat it, but Serena can see inside them to their human soul. It's kind of a mystery where all these zombies are coming from. Apparently, a few books ago, there was this group of loonies who decided to become immortal. Becoming immortal required the rising of the Island of Atlantis, which killed 90% of the world's population and knocked the earth off it's axis. I guess they succeeded, although why you'd want to be immortal in a world without pizza delivery is beyond me.
Theo and his pals are trying to restore the internet to bring the Immortal Ones to justice some 50 years after the big kill. At night, zombies wander the land to drag off blondes and munch on brunettes (really) while searching for some dude named Remington Truth. Bounty hunters destroy computers, people live in tightly isolated and guarded settlements, and some select people manage to find gas for Hummers. And old jeans. 50 year old jeans. I started to do the math on gas in reserve tanks, times number of Hummers used, times conveyance of same, and I just gave up. Some lucky people have Hummers with gas. Got it. (Plus, light bulbs! No, I need to stop thinking about that.)
The strongest thing going for Night Betrayed is the recognition that a guy who's been around for a hundred or so years and a girl who is in her twenties aren't going to have much to talk about. When Theo meets Serena he realizes that he needed an older woman in his life. Joss Ware does a decent job of setting the mood. (One character, Vonnie, made me think about what my own tween would endure if 90% of the planet died tomorrow.) She's not afraid to kill characters off. She's not afraid to acknowledge that the selfish prevail far more often than the generous. Although Night Betrayed was my first book in this ongoing series it stood on it's own feet well enough. While I don't feel a need to go back and read the prior books I am definitely interested in finding out what happens next.
*If the wait is long enough I might decide to catch up on the series just to find out more about this girl Remy. She shows up in the middle of the book for no apparent reason, gets raped a fair amount and ends unresolved. The rape, however, is not graphic or detailed and the rapists are quickly dealt with. All of the detailed sex in this book is by consent. While I personally don't care about Serena's labia, Theo does. A lot.