This is a book review for the Blackness Takes Over series by Norma Jeanne Karlsson
On the face of it, they’re everything I dislike in a book. The editing is a complete mess, with mis-spelled words, dodgy grammar and endlessly repetitive words and paragraphs. There was so much cooing and smashing that you’d be forgiven for thinking it was a book about the Incredible Hulk going apeshit in an aviary. Seriously, if they’re going to go about ‘smashing’ their lips together in kisses, I’m amazed no-one has knocked teeth out, or at the very least given themselves a concussion. The cooing also irritated the hell out of me. Grown, masculine men don’t coo every other sentence. The declarations of love go on for pages and pages and they’re vomit-inducingly saccharine. The plot is grossly unrealistic and, for the most part, the characters are wildly dislikeable. The men are only one step up from cavemen and Shannon is…well Shannon is interesting, to say the least. The timeline flies about all over the place, leaping back and forth in a way that makes your head spin. The characters have the same conversations again and again, ad nauseam. The books couldn’t seem to decide if they were romance, thriller or crime and ended up doing a disservice to all 3 genres. There was a glaring plot hole involving Kellerman and Cassie, which is that there’s a cut off point after which abortion is legal so he really didn’t have to stay the full 9 months and, as far as I’m aware, a court can order a paternity test prior to birth. A family of lawyers should have known that.
But here’s the thing – up until about halfway through the second book, I couldn’t put the damn things down. I don’t know what it was that drew me in, or made me suspend my disbelief enough to want to invest my time and emotion in what was going on. Despite the idiocy of the men in this book, with all the warning flags they sent screaming up my red alert function, I somehow still wanted to like them. I think the author somehow skirted the edges of a technique that J R Ward has perfected – big, beautiful, damaged men that make you care about them in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. She also made a commendable effort to deal with a lot of dark issues – rape, miscarriage and betrayal, to name but a few. I thought she mostly handled them well, letting the characters hurt and grieve in a way that the reader can empathise with.
These books are dark, gritty and violent. There are twists and turns that you don’t see coming until they leave you breathless. If you can overlook the faults of these books and suspend your disbelief, you’ll feel a churning mass of every emotion from sadness to disgust to righteous and vengeful triumph as you travel this journey with them.
I did lose interest halfway through the second book when there was yet another round of everyone telling Shannon how much they love and adore her, but considering how long the books are, that’s not bad. They’re certainly an entertaining and diverting way to while away a few afternoons and I did persist right through to the finish.
I was sent these books in return for an honest review.