Title/Author:Retribution by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Publisher/Year Published: August 2011 by St. Martin's Press
How I got this book: The publisher sent me a review copy
Why I read this book: Second chances... read on
Rating: 2 stars
Have you ever been really into a series and then slowly watch it collapse beneath you as you move into the 10th, 15th, 20th book in the series? This has been my experience with Sherrilyn
Let's take a stroll down memory lane, shall we? Back in 2005 I was a freshman in college. Down the hall in our small dorm was a girl who had brought two large clear-plastic crates full of books with her despite the extra-small space we had to live. My kind of girl right? If I recall correctly, they were mostly filled with romance novels, too. Even better.
She gave me the first of the Dark-Hunter series to read. I was new to the paranormal romance genre, and I was enchanted. I devoured the books in the series, loving the mixture of the Greek pantheon of gods combined with vampire myth and modern humanity.
It was unique for the time (this was at the beginning of the vampire resurgence), and I was a goner. I joined the online fan-board, planned with my friend to go to the convention in New Orleans, and dutifully bought every book upon its release day.
After a while though I started noticing a pattern. Every hero was a wounded Goth tough guy and then meets that one right woman who can break him of his curse. But first they must kill some threat to humanity. There was little to no variation. This would have been fine because the over arching plot was REALLY interesting, but the problem was it was never wrapping anything up. Every new book instead of working with what was already there piled on more and more until it was impossible to read a new book with a glossary of what was happening next to you. Taking that away from the mix allowed me to focus on the not super-strong writing and the repetitious plots per book.
Which brings me to Retribution.
When I saw the email asking for this book to be reviewed, I fell back into my rose-colored fan-girl past. It was Jess! One of my favorite cowboy secondary characters from earlier books getting a story of his own at last! How bad could it be?
And that’s the thing. It is not horrible; it’s just not what I wanted it to be. More of the same. I’ve missed a few books along the way (this is 20 in the series), and I wanted to see if it could be read and enjoyed by someone who has no exposure to the Dark-Hunters.
Unfortunately, I just couldn’t get past remembering what the stories used to be for me. Her earlier books were good. I could actually write a pretty positive review (5 stars, a rarity for me) on the 4th book in the series where Jess first appears, Dance with the Devil. I’ve read it multiple times, even without the rose colored fan-girl glasses and I think it still holds up well.
As for Retribution, it just didn’t do it for me. It was very formulaic, the writing clunky and at some times confusing. There is a lot of tell not show. Could someone jump in and read this book without knowing the rest of the Dark-Hunter mythos? Sure. In fact on my quick browse of Goodreads, I noticed that a lot of the higher ratings were the ones who were new to the series.
So this is a romance about an undead vampire-like cowboy and the girl who inadvertently started an Apocalypse. If that sounds like it may be your cup of tea, give this book a try. But get it at the library*.
*I’d say buy it but it has a deckle edge, and I think those just look sloppy. Wait for the paperback. The cover, however, is gorgeous!