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The Better Part of Darkness PDF, ePub eBook


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Title: The Better Part of Darkness
Author: Kelly Gay
Publisher: Published November 24th 2009 by Pocket Books (first published November 2nd 2009)
ISBN: 9781439109656
Status : FREE Rating :
4.6 out of 5

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Atlanta: it's the promised city for the off-worlders, foreigners from the alternate dimensions of heaven-like Elysia and hell-like Charbydon. Some bring good works and miracles. And some bring unimaginable evil.... Charlie Madigan is a divorced mother of one, and a kick-ass cop trained to take down the toughest human and off-world criminals. She's recently returned from the Atlanta: it's the promised city for the off-worlders, foreigners from the alternate dimensions of heaven-like Elysia and hell-like Charbydon. Some bring good works and miracles. And some bring unimaginable evil.... Charlie Madigan is a divorced mother of one, and a kick-ass cop trained to take down the toughest human and off-world criminals. She's recently returned from the dead after a brutal attack, an unexplained revival that has left her plagued by ruthless nightmares and random outbursts of strength that make doing her job for Atlanta P.D.'s Integration Task Force even harder. Since the Revelation, the criminal element in Underground Atlanta has grown, leaving Charlie and her partner Hank to keep the chaos to a dull roar. But now an insidious new danger is descending on her city with terrifying speed, threatening innocent lives: a deadly, off-world narcotic known as ash. Charlie is determined to uncover the source of ash before it targets another victim -- but can she protect those she loves from a force more powerful than heaven and hell combined?

30 review for The Better Part of Darkness

  1. 4 out of 5

    Vinaya

    You know how many urban fantasy series I've read over the last few years? Thirteen. Yeah, that's right, THIRTEEN. And that's only the stuff I remember at least vaguely. There's a whole bunch more that I can't even retain, cause they were so boring or generic. And after a while, with that many books rattling around in my brain, they sort of start to merge together. And because I'm a geek, I've even made a table about it. Now which one of these boxes will The Better Part of Darkness check? Why, a You know how many urban fantasy series I've read over the last few years? Thirteen. Yeah, that's right, THIRTEEN. And that's only the stuff I remember at least vaguely. There's a whole bunch more that I can't even retain, cause they were so boring or generic. And after a while, with that many books rattling around in my brain, they sort of start to merge together. And because I'm a geek, I've even made a table about it. Now which one of these boxes will The Better Part of Darkness check? Why, all of 'em! Except maybe the love triangle, which I can't tell because this is only the first book in the series and god knows how it's going to develop. So when you have the exact. same. elements in every. single. series, it's a little hard to get excited about new UF authors. Reading Urban Fantasy these days is like trying to play a game of Spot the Difference. (I got 7, how many can you get? Apart from the shirt color, it doesn't count!) The little details may be different, but the bigger picture is all the same. This is one of the biggest reasons I love Carolyn Crane. Her The Disillusionists trilogy is a mind-blowing hurricane of fresh air storming into a genre that desperately needs it. I'm not saying that I don't love any of the current crop of UF. I'm a rabid fan of the Kate Daniels series, the Fever series, and even the first few Anita Blake books. But the unfortunate thing is, the success of these books has spawned a host of zombies who are pale approximations of the real thing. Here's what I liked about The Better Part of Darkness. I liked the fact that Charlie was a single mom. You don't see too many of those out and about in the UF scene. I liked the fact that her partner was a siren, generally a female-oriented character, even if he didn't have much of a role to play in the book. I liked the occasional flashes of humor I spotted in Charlie. But as for the rest of it, zip, zilch, nada. The number one thing I hated about this book was Charlie's middle name. In case you're wondering, it's Avoidance. It's also her first and last name. God, her inability to face reality was frightening. The whole book was about react, react, react. There was no positive action to be seen anywhere, because Charlie Madigan, the Queen of Denial, would only make a move if forced into it by circumstances beyond her control. And the worst part is, she knows she's avoiding something that's going to come back and bite her in the ass, she moans about it non-stop, but does she still do anything about it?! God forbid she act like a mature adult. Second was the mumbo jumbo crap in this book. All of the advice, all of the unlocking of magic stuff sounds like it was lifted off a dozen other similar books. It was all about how "There is no spoon". (God, a Matrix reference! My geek status has been cast in iron!) Forces of evil, forces of good, meeting in one hapless human with the power to kick supernatural ass, yadda, yadda... sound familiar? I'm not giving this author any points for her writing either. Random things happen for no good reason. Charlie's daughter gets kidnapped, they're in the middle of rescue ops, she spots her daughter's bunny on the table, grabs it runs off to cry over it, and the next thing you know, she waking from a nap. What. The. Fuck?! And if she's setting up any of the male characters to be Charlie's love interest, I'm not feeling it. I would have respected Kelly Gay more if she hadn't killed off the only person who appeared to have SOME chemistry with her heroine. I guess not all of this book's blah-ness is Kelly Gay's fault. In a market that's reached a glut, it must be hard to stand out. No, wait, screw that, Carolyn Crane managed it, so it's not impossible. Yeah, okay, Gay, you suck! (And I swear, that it not a homophobic statement!) I would only recommend this series to people who simply cannot get enough of urban fantasy; it's not so much that it's a bad book. It's just a book with no promise.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Maja (The Nocturnal Library)

    4.5 stars Charlene Elizabeth Madigan, you and I are going to become best friends! For all of you who still haven’t read The Better Part of Darkness, I have but a single question: What the hell are you waiting for?! Charlie Madigan is a detective and a single mom, doing her best to balance the two and make her pre-teen daughter happy in a world that’s beyond crazy. So let’s talk about that for a little while: Surely every single parent (or any parent in general) tries to do the same every day. We a 4.5 stars Charlene Elizabeth Madigan, you and I are going to become best friends! For all of you who still haven’t read The Better Part of Darkness, I have but a single question: What the hell are you waiting for?! Charlie Madigan is a detective and a single mom, doing her best to balance the two and make her pre-teen daughter happy in a world that’s beyond crazy. So let’s talk about that for a little while: Surely every single parent (or any parent in general) tries to do the same every day. We are all overworked and scared out of our minds. None of us are sure we’re doing a good job. That feeling alone is what makes Charlie so real. But that’s just one layer of the story. Kelly Gay has a strong mind and a wild imagination. The world she created around Atlanta is rich, amazing and almost tangible. I loved every single thing in it. Some will probably feel she overwhelmed us with information in the first book, but everything she described was necessary for the plot. And she thought it all through, even a male siren as Charlie’s partner. When I read the book description, I must admit I had my doubts about that particular part, but Hank is all man, believe me! I love the way the two of them communicate – you can tell there’s a strong attraction, but not in an obvious, boring way. I have no intention of writing spoilers, so I’m going to make it real simple. All of you who liked Mercy Thompson and Kate Daniels – this is a series for you. All of you who like UF more than you like PR – this is a book for you. All of you who love a nice, solid detective story – this is most definitely a book for you.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Denisa

    Finally! I've been looking for a series to actually hold my interest for more than 3 seconds for ages now! So happy I've finally found something. Really great characters, especially a kick-ass heroine (it's what any good UF needs). The plot was pretty interesting even though, as expected, the focus was mostly on building the world (loved it, btw!). Most of all, it made me really curious about the next book, about the whole series. Can't wait to see what happens with Charlie and her newly discovere Finally! I've been looking for a series to actually hold my interest for more than 3 seconds for ages now! So happy I've finally found something. Really great characters, especially a kick-ass heroine (it's what any good UF needs). The plot was pretty interesting even though, as expected, the focus was mostly on building the world (loved it, btw!). Most of all, it made me really curious about the next book, about the whole series. Can't wait to see what happens with Charlie and her newly discovered (view spoiler)[ powers (hide spoiler)] . God, I've missed a good UF!

  4. 4 out of 5

    ᴥ Irena ᴥ

    Charlie Madigan is the most frustrating heroine I've read so far. There were some I didn't like, some were too bitchy, some disappointed me later in the series and so on, but she seems to cover every single annoying thing. She was killed a few months ago and was returned with new abilities. The annoying thing is: every so-called victory was accidental or at least it seemed like it to me. She is constantly whining, getting beaten up. I won't take into account her love for her daughter since that Charlie Madigan is the most frustrating heroine I've read so far. There were some I didn't like, some were too bitchy, some disappointed me later in the series and so on, but she seems to cover every single annoying thing. She was killed a few months ago and was returned with new abilities. The annoying thing is: every so-called victory was accidental or at least it seemed like it to me. She is constantly whining, getting beaten up. I won't take into account her love for her daughter since that is natural, nothing different from any mother. During one of the most terrible moments in her life, instead of constantly thinking about a person who is in danger, she is jealous of a woman who is helping her. And don't get me started about her as a detective. At least, not in this story. I can't think of a female character I dislike this much. So, why not lower rating? Well, pretty much everything else is great. The world building reminds me of Mark Del Franco's Connor Grey world. Instead of the fey, here scientists found two dimensions which humans associated with Heaven and Hell before and all the beings from there came to live in our world. It's a great idea. All the characters (even the villains) were interesting. And this is the first book where the character and her ex-husband are still in love. I don't think I ever saw that before. Usually, they are either trying to hurt the heroine further, or she is still in love and he moved on or something equally depressing. Hank, her siren partner, is probably more developed in later books. Maybe I'll try the next. I am not sure. I wonder if she improves.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sofija

    Lately I left a lot of books unfinished. So when I start reading “The Better Part of Darkness” I promised myself that no matter what, I will end it. And I did. But I suffered through every page. I picked up this book for two reasons: 1)Charlie Madigan is a detective. And I love to read procedural crime solving books. 2)Charlie Madigan has a eleven-years-old daughter. So I expected there to be some parental issues, some upbringing problems, and some funny situations about being a parent. I didn’t ge Lately I left a lot of books unfinished. So when I start reading “The Better Part of Darkness” I promised myself that no matter what, I will end it. And I did. But I suffered through every page. I picked up this book for two reasons: 1)Charlie Madigan is a detective. And I love to read procedural crime solving books. 2)Charlie Madigan has a eleven-years-old daughter. So I expected there to be some parental issues, some upbringing problems, and some funny situations about being a parent. I didn’t get any of that. This book consisted of killings, ass kicking, getting your ass kicked, blood, violence and vengeance. I found it too dark and pessimistic. Usually authors try to balance it with occasional funny scenes or fun dialogs, but this book was depressing throughout. It started with trouble and ended with even more serious problems. All characters were filled with mistrust, fear, anger, injustice and desperation. The only ray of sunshine was Rex, but he appeared only by the end. So while the writing was decent, the grimness of it prevented me from enjoying it. Therefore only two stars for this one. I guess it means no more Charlie Madigan for me. And now I need to go read some light fun read to wash away all the doom and gloom.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mariya

    THE BETTER PART OF DARKNESS was a weird book because I liked it and didn't like it. There were times where it was slow and I didn't really get what was going on and part where I was completely into what was going on. The characters were great and I really enjoyed them, but the plot bored me to a point where I was skimming through parts of the book. Charlie has the personality of a lot of my favorite Urban Fantasy Heroines. She's very stubborn sometimes and she has a temper on her, but you love he THE BETTER PART OF DARKNESS was a weird book because I liked it and didn't like it. There were times where it was slow and I didn't really get what was going on and part where I was completely into what was going on. The characters were great and I really enjoyed them, but the plot bored me to a point where I was skimming through parts of the book. Charlie has the personality of a lot of my favorite Urban Fantasy Heroines. She's very stubborn sometimes and she has a temper on her, but you love her toughness. Charlie is a detective who has a kid and an ex husband and oh, she died and came back to life. So things are a little complicated. There were times where I was annoyed with Charlie and she wouldn't be my favorite Urban Fantasy Heroine, but she was an enjoyable leading lady. “Please tell me you’re laying low.” “Um …” I held the phone away from my ear as Hank yelled. “Damn it! I knew it! I knew you couldn’t stay out of trouble for one day. One day, Charlie!” I love Hank! I want Hank! Oh, Hank, please marry me! Hank is Charlie's partner in crime who is a siren, which he has the ability to to voice people, which is kinda cool and hot. Hank is a funny character and I may have not been able to finish the book if not for him. I think his humor and charm really made me want to continue. And boy, is he a charmer. There wasn't much romance though in THE BETTER PART OF DARKNESS, but hopefully in the other books there will be. “Whoa, I know you like to manhandle me and all, but this should probably wait until we’re alone.” “Shut up, Hank.” We also have Will, Charlie's ex. He betrayed Charlie in a way that she simply cannot forgive and I understand where Charlie is coming from. And it gets complicated where she still loves him, but she has to be able to forgive him for things to move forward. Will is okay, I didn't really care all that much for his character though. I'd have to be really into the book to comment on the heroine having a kid and I wasn't. All in all it was really just an okay book to me. THE BETTER PART OF DARKNESS didn't really stand out in terms of all the Urban Fantasy books I have read. I plan on reading the sequel to see if the author brings anything more to the story and hopefully she does. More of my reviews at Mystifying Paranormal Reviews

  7. 4 out of 5

    Maya

    Heroines with an attitude problem are as common in Urban Fantasy as sand on a beach. Some call them "kick-ass" or "strong", I call them bratty and annoying. Whether this book is for you will largely depend on which of these two groups you are part of, because Charlie is yet another one of the anti-authoritarian and run-head-first-through-the-wall-instead-of-thinking heroines, and I simply can't relate to this kind of characters. Charlie's narrative voice is very unlikeable as well. She is selfis Heroines with an attitude problem are as common in Urban Fantasy as sand on a beach. Some call them "kick-ass" or "strong", I call them bratty and annoying. Whether this book is for you will largely depend on which of these two groups you are part of, because Charlie is yet another one of the anti-authoritarian and run-head-first-through-the-wall-instead-of-thinking heroines, and I simply can't relate to this kind of characters. Charlie's narrative voice is very unlikeable as well. She is selfish and childish and ungrateful. Charlie is also incompetent. She is supposed to be a great cop, but when you actually see her doing her job, she simply acts like an unprofessional brute (questioning and aggressing your informant out in an open street, while he even tries to tell you that the “bad guys” are close, does not seem very smart). But she does kick their asses, so if you like that, you might be able to overlook the fact that Charlie would probably be indeed much more helpful for “keeping her city alive” if she did transfer to an office job. Also, this book is part of a certain kind of Urban Fantasy, that is much more a soap opera with some action and a fantasy flavor, but a focus on the heroine's relationship problems, romance and the sexy male characters (when she meets her ex, there are 10 pages of talking while Charlie almost constantly thinks about how hot and good-looking he is and how her body reacts and then they make out). So, if you're here for the romance and sexual tension rather than the Fantasy part, you can try this series. Overall, I found this work to be a very average Urban Fantasy story, with nothing special to set it apart from the rest. The 1 star rating doesn't mean that it is particularly bad, but that I personally didn't enjoy reading it. There are better UF series out there, and I can recommend Charlie Madigan only after you have finished these and still can't get enough of the same.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Donna

    When the opportunity to read The Better Part of Darkness by Kelly Gay presented itself, I eagerly snagged it. I've wanted to read this book ever since I’d seen the art work for the cover several months back. After I read the synopsis, I was even more intrigued that the heroine was a divorced mother. You don’t see that scenario often in Urban Fantasy. I was not disappointed by my anticipation. The Better Part of Darkness, told from Charlie Madigan’s point of view, was an exciting, fast-paced read When the opportunity to read The Better Part of Darkness by Kelly Gay presented itself, I eagerly snagged it. I've wanted to read this book ever since I’d seen the art work for the cover several months back. After I read the synopsis, I was even more intrigued that the heroine was a divorced mother. You don’t see that scenario often in Urban Fantasy. I was not disappointed by my anticipation. The Better Part of Darkness, told from Charlie Madigan’s point of view, was an exciting, fast-paced read for me. I finish this book in nearly one sitting. What kept me glued to the pages was how clues were dropped at just the right place, and the mystery just kept building. The pace of was perfect. The unique world and atmosphere of this book had the right combination of dark and gritty paranormal aspects. The biggest attention grabber for me was the colorful personalities of the characters. From Hank, Charlie’s gorgeous off-world partner to Byrn, her eclectic sister who runs a herb shop in the Underground. Charlie, a mother of a pre-teen, is a gusty heroine, who has heart. But she’s tough as nails when the situation calls for it and it’s called for many times. She presents everyone with a tough exterior and acts like she can handle whatever comes her way on her own, but on the inside she is always questioning herself. I could see Charlie as a real person. The thing that can make a book really pop for me is when the bad guys are truly evil and vile. You get that kind of scary here. So when your reading a scene with the bad guys, your on the edge of your seat with worry and dread. More than once I was wondering how Charlie was going to save herself. The ending left me feeling very satisfied but full of anticipation for the next book. This was a story that left me thinking about it long after I finished reading it. I will be picking up the next book in Charlie Madigan's universe. This one is going down in my top 10 reads of this year.

  9. 5 out of 5

    All Things Urban Fantasy

    Review courtesy of AllThingsUrbanFantasy.blogspot.com Imagine a world where Heaven and Hell combine, where beings thought to exist only in myths live and work alongside with humans who are still reeling from the shock of worlds beyond their own. Or better yet, let Kelly Gay imagine for you. "You told a two-thousand-year-old oracle to prove it." Hank kept pace beside me, nursing his bloody nose with a handful of fast-food napkins I'd pulled from the glove box earlier. "I mean, do you ever think be Review courtesy of AllThingsUrbanFantasy.blogspot.com Imagine a world where Heaven and Hell combine, where beings thought to exist only in myths live and work alongside with humans who are still reeling from the shock of worlds beyond their own. Or better yet, let Kelly Gay imagine for you. "You told a two-thousand-year-old oracle to prove it." Hank kept pace beside me, nursing his bloody nose with a handful of fast-food napkins I'd pulled from the glove box earlier. "I mean, do you ever think before the words spew out of your mouth, Charlie?" – Opening line from The Better Part of Darkness The Better Part of Darkness is an a balancing act between contrasts: heaven-like Elysia and hell-like Charbydon, humans and off-worlders(including Sirens, Jinns, Necromancers, Hellhounds, angel-like Adoni, Mages, Goblins, and Revenants -you’ll have to read the book to find out what those are), motherhood and being a warrior, love you want but can’t have and love you left that wants you back, and ultimately the inner struggle between light and darkness. The alternative Atlanta in The Better Part of Darkness might just be my favorite new urban fantasy world. It is at once instantly familiar as it pulls concepts from Greek mythology (heaven-like Elysia and hell-like Charbydon), and yet delightfully other as it twists those concepts on their head. Male sirens, where have you been all my life? The characters that populate this world are just as interesting. Divorced mother turned paranormal police officer Charlie is sarcastic, determined, and capable. Yet beneath her tough exterior she is also vulnerable, scared, and occasionally reckless. The combination made for a wonderfully realistic heroine. I loved the mystery regarding Charlie. Prior to this book she died for two hours and now suffers from chronic cryptic nightmares reliving the experience. Oh and there's also the inhuman bursts of strength that accompany strong feelings of anger that she can't explain. I wasn't sure if I would like the fact that the main character was a single mom or if I would hate the idea that she willingly placed herself in a dangerous situation that could at any time deprive her daughter of a mother. But the author did a wonderful job portraying the situation in such a way that I knew that Charlie put Emma first. She was always trying to ensure not just Emma's physical safely, but her emotion safety as well. And then there's Hank. “a drop-dead gorgeous siren with all the grace and power of a lion.” A male Siren who happens to be Charlie’s partner. Gorgeous, funny, strong, brave, (fill in your own perfect male trait and Hank probably has it). There is plenty of sexual tension here too as Charlie deals with the advances from her ex-husband who she might still love, and the undeniable yet impossible attraction she feels for her partner Hank. I held up both hands, putting an immediate halt to any mention of sex. Definitely not something I wanted to discuss with a drop-dead gorgeous siren with all the grace and power of a lion. That was a personal boundary I promised myself long ago I'd never cross. If I did, it would be way too easy to start wanting something I couldn't -- and shouldn't -- have. Hank was not only my partner, but one of my best friends. Not something I wanted to mess with. –The Better Part of Darkness. There is so much to like about The Better Part of Darkness, but if I have to nitpick, I would say the first half of the book was better than the last, and trimming about 30 pages from the ending showdowns could have improved the pacing as it did drag just slightly. And I would have loved more scenes with Hank, but I’m reaching here. I have a list of ‘ingredients’ that I love to find in urban fantasy: * Strong world building-check * tough yet realistic heroine with an as yet not fully realized paranormal potential-check * alpha males-double check * romantic tension that promises to develop in subsequent books-check * complex plotting without needing to take notes to keep everything straight-check * and most of all consistency with characters or believable growth/redemption of characters-check Its almost as if I handed my recipe to Kelly and she cooked it up just for me (*side note: Patricia Briggs and Ilona Andrews have this recipe down cold). I read a lot of urban fantasy books in 2009: good, bad, and everything in between, but The Better Part of Darkness is one of my favorites. The promise of this series alone given the concept of the mythology-meets-reality world, the fresh influx of paranormal characters (forget vampires, I want more male sirens), and a protagonist who acknowledges her human weaknesses while embracing a strange and frightening future with strength and determination is enough to have me giddy with anticipation for The Darkest Edge of Dawn (Charlie Madigan, Book 2) Available now for pre-order! Street date: Aug. 31, 2010 Sexual Content: A brief scene of graphic sensuality. Characters visit a Bath House but nothing is graphically described. An implied scene of oral sex.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Shera (Book Whispers)

    Thoughts: The Better Part of Darkness was huge talk around the book sphere last year when it made it's debut. When its sequel, The Darkest Edge of Dawn, came out this year even more praise started to pour in. Clearly it was a no brainer to finally read my copy of The Better Part of Darkness. Let's say I am not disappointed, I'm practically whispering sweet nothings to this book. Dark gritty, with one heck of a kick booty heroine, what's not to love. Sure I'll confess I had some doubts about my ki Thoughts: The Better Part of Darkness was huge talk around the book sphere last year when it made it's debut. When its sequel, The Darkest Edge of Dawn, came out this year even more praise started to pour in. Clearly it was a no brainer to finally read my copy of The Better Part of Darkness. Let's say I am not disappointed, I'm practically whispering sweet nothings to this book. Dark gritty, with one heck of a kick booty heroine, what's not to love. Sure I'll confess I had some doubts about my kick-booty heroine being a single, divorced, mother. Those factors usually turn me off immediately, especially when combined. Gay pulls it of smoothly, creating such an emotional connection between me and Charlie. I don't have kids, nor am I married or have been married. So riding along with Charlie was like going into the Twilight Zone. The love between Charlie and her kid is simply beautiful. When Charlie's life is spinning off into Danger Land I felt even more concerned for what was happening. The ex-husband was another mind blowing part of this book for me. When reading it always seems like the ex is either a cheating jerk, dead (not quite an ex then), stupid, or simply wanted to be with someone who wasn't so kick-booty awesome. That's it, we hate the husband let's have few mouthy scenes and move on. The relationship between Charlie and her ex, blew me away. Sure the guy cheated, but the circumstances left a lot up in the air. Charlie still loved him, and ex was just too likable not to love. Even though I hate cheaters (that's putting it way too mild) I found my self cheering him on occasionally. So when events unfold I was on a roller coaster ride of tears, hope, and determination. Charlie herself is a really great character. She's so real I want her to be my awesome friend. The kind that would hurt (if not kill) the people you hurt you. Charlie balances her life as a cop who deals with nasty other world creatures and her family life really well. So you get nice mushy emotions and hard butt police woman in one. The character growth in this book is also another treat, after all who could possibly think that a in control super mommy like her would need it? Hank is a siren whose voice isn't the only thing seductive about him. He balances Charlie out as her partner in crime, mouthing off along with her. Personally I would have loved more page time with him, he's impossible to ignore. Hank reminds me of the strong, brave, gentleman that every women is looking for. Other characters here are well worth investing in. Especially a relationship between Charlie's flower power sister (emphasis on powers) and a yummy Mage. I half breed Jinn, she was fierce but clearly vulnerable. Jinn are creatures from a different plan, kind of like hell, they're a warrior breed with a serious self worship issue. Let's just say that halfbreeds are not safe things to be. The world Gay has created has me jumping up in down in glee. Earth is trying to balance out the discovery of two other worlds that creatures from legend live, and have been coming to earth throughout history. Elysia heaven-like where nicer monsters live and hell-like Charbydon where the eviler and darker monsters reside. Besides Sirens, Jinns, and Mages there are even more supernatural creatures happening. Hellhounds, angelic-like Adoni, Goblins, Revenants (read to find out), and so much more. This is a world that is every Urban Fantasy readers wet dream. One thing that really stopped me from jumping on The Better Part of Darkness train, is that there are some complaints that it is slow. Personally I thought that the action was coming in a rush, the mysteries of Charlie's dark new life after she died and came back were perfectly paced. Gay gives the reader enough time to get a hold on all the characters and get a connection with the world that most authors glaze over. Bottom Line: This is a hard core entry into the Urban Fantasy genre. If you have doubts about reading a book about a single mom with an ex, don't worry this is good stuff. The Better Part of Darkness is sweeping away readers with a edgy world, featuring fantastic creatures and characters. This alternate supernatural Atlanta is definitely going to be one of my new favorite Urban Fantasy places to visit. There's a lot I'm not going over in this review, all of it good, put this one at the top of your TBR pile. Sexual Content: Some serious sexual tension. (Whew, hot!) Originally posted at Book Whispers.

  11. 5 out of 5

    alicat ♡➹♡

    BR with the MacHalos! DNF @ 70%. This story had some potential but I just lost interest in trying to make sense of the whiplash story and character that is Charlie. I may try again at some point.

  12. 4 out of 5

    cookiemonger

    This book is so racked with indecision that it's practically a theme. Charlie can't even issue a declarative statement without clarifying it, generally with a contradicting statement. Thus: "She's not dead. Immediately, I felt for her pulse. "I swear to God, Hank, I'll put a bullet in your belly and send you back to Elysia if you're messing with me." "Jeez, Charlie, give me some credit, will you? I wouldn't kid you about this." Emma loved Amanda like any devoted little sister would. She also adored This book is so racked with indecision that it's practically a theme. Charlie can't even issue a declarative statement without clarifying it, generally with a contradicting statement. Thus: "She's not dead. Immediately, I felt for her pulse. "I swear to God, Hank, I'll put a bullet in your belly and send you back to Elysia if you're messing with me." "Jeez, Charlie, give me some credit, will you? I wouldn't kid you about this." Emma loved Amanda like any devoted little sister would. She also adored Hank. And I knew that if this affected her, then Hank wouldn't mess with me on something so personal. My brain whirs. Why did she blow up so violently when she had zero reason to think he was kidding? That was an incredibly impassioned outburst for something she just let go without pause. Also, the grammar BURNS. I honestly got a headache upon reading this. The writing is so juvenile that I swore I knew the author in eleventh grade. And that this had been written then. Worse than the indecisiveness is how exhaustingly DRAMATIC Charlie is about everything. She curses so much that she sounds like a seven-year-old showing off how "adult" she is, so the emphasis is either lost or wearisome. She's never mildly irritated, she's EXASPERATED, UGGGHHHH. Never sceptical, always arms-flailing DISMISSIVE. And any time she can be hostile, she'll threaten to murder you and your entire family. This is not "kick-ass" it's stupid. Back to the indecision theme. Charlie doesn't even make bad decisions. The one time she made a decision, she let her daughter talk her out of it... and it wasn't even a real discussion. It basically went like this: Charlie: Do you think I should transfer to a desk job? Emma: Le gasp! If you did that, you wouldn't be the mother I know and love! And also no one else is capable of protecting the city except you! Besides, you promised to solve my friend's case that showed up on like page two. Charlie: Oh yeah. Maybe I'll transfer after the case is solved. Emma: LOL ur so funny as if. Bullied out of her decision by an eleven-year-old for whom she is responsible. And of course, this is right after she allowed herself to be roped into a passionate snog with her ex who was RESPONSIBLE FOR HER DEATH. The exposition is terrible, too. World-building and character backstory just sort of get vomited up whenever, without a decent foundation. It didn't help that the world was fairly generic urban fantasy. Also, re: HER DEATH, start the story at the most interesting part of the character's life. I would have so much rather read the book that led up to her death than to start with the recovery of a woman who can't even make bad decisions and yet gleefully insults therapy. I just can't. I have lost the will to can.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Veronica

    This is the first book in the Charlie Madigan series. It wasn't great (as most first books aren't) but it wasn't bad either and there was enough there to interest me to read more. Charlie is a likeable enough heroine. She's 31 so that differentiates her from most of the twenty-something heroines in the genre, plus she's a single mother to a 12 year old daughter. Eight months post divorce and post a total death experience guarantees that Charlie is not without her fair share of baggage. The settin This is the first book in the Charlie Madigan series. It wasn't great (as most first books aren't) but it wasn't bad either and there was enough there to interest me to read more. Charlie is a likeable enough heroine. She's 31 so that differentiates her from most of the twenty-something heroines in the genre, plus she's a single mother to a 12 year old daughter. Eight months post divorce and post a total death experience guarantees that Charlie is not without her fair share of baggage. The setting is Atlanta, 13 years after the discovery of other dimensions. This discovery, known as the Revelation, means that races originally thought to be myth are now openly living among humans. Charlie is a detective with the Integrated Task Force (ITF) and works closely with her partner of three years, Hank, who also happens to be a male siren. Their job is to keep all the races in line, a job which is made exponentially harder when a new off-world drug starts making the rounds on the streets. When the drug hits too close to home Charlie finds herself personally involved and soon she is caught up in a much farther reaching scheme. And if that's not enough trouble on Charlie's plate, she's also plagued by nightmares of her death experience that may contain some truths she just doesn't want to know. Oh, and her ex-husband wants her back. The pacing of the story was good and I liked most of the characters. I especially ended up really getting a kick out of Rex and hope he gets to stick around long term. It probably helps that I didn't much care about the character he replaced. I also enjoyed Charlie's relationship with Hank. Their back and forth joking was nice and had just the right amount of something-something that I always look for in a potential pairing. I have no idea if things will ever go the romantic route with these two - and I admit that with the addition of a female siren, they may not - but at this point I can settle for a well-balanced friendship. I also like that Charlie has a loving and seemingly healthy relationship with her family. Her sister, Bryn, is loving and supportive and her parents, though we don't get to meet them in this book, seem to be very important to her. Really, my only issue with this book is the amount of power that Charlie "discovers" she has. I always get a little worried about where the author will take things when the heroine seems to gain too much too soon but I'm willing to see how this plays out.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Lexie

    Better Part of Darkness worked for me and didn't work for me. It worked for me in that our protagonist, Charlie, makes a lot of mistakes and she pays dearly for most of them. She's not naive, or even particularly idealist honestly, and she knows that the world is in a horrible place, but that doesn't mean she shouldn't keep trying. She also makes choices that aren't usually seen of the 'hero'. All that was very refreshing and interesting for me. Apparently even I have limits on how many heroes/h Better Part of Darkness worked for me and didn't work for me. It worked for me in that our protagonist, Charlie, makes a lot of mistakes and she pays dearly for most of them. She's not naive, or even particularly idealist honestly, and she knows that the world is in a horrible place, but that doesn't mean she shouldn't keep trying. She also makes choices that aren't usually seen of the 'hero'. All that was very refreshing and interesting for me. Apparently even I have limits on how many heroes/heroines can make really bad choices and still not pay for it. And I do mean really bad choices in Charlie's case. Not 'That was a stupid thing to do!', but the 'Oh. My. God. That was bad.' variety. The problem I had was that for all the fun and interesting that was Charlie, she was possibly the only character I wanted to read about. There were plenty of other characters--informants, coworkers, her partner, bad guys, etc--which is probably what made it hard to want to know any of them. Aside from her daughter and her partner, everyone else just came and went. While this works great for later in the series, when Kelly may want to call upon them and dive a bit deeper, for a first book it clutters my attention. It felt like each time I met one person someone new popped up. The amount of detail Kelly puts into her version of Atlanta is awe-inspiring honestly. I've been there twice in my life and can recognize some of the places that Charlie talks about 'from before' but this Atlanta is so different. Its almost a character on its own honestly. In the end I had trouble enjoying this book because I was uncertain who was doing what and when, or who was who. I have a feeling when the second book is released Kelly will have a stronger grasp on who she wants to have running around in her world however and look forward to that book.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Isa Lavinia

    Figures that I'd finally find an absolute jewel of a UF series and it's one that's been dropped by its publisher... Still, I must rejoice, I suppose, because after a long and arduous journey through a bunch of 1-star rated PRs I finally found this series! Charlie is a 31 year old single mother struggling with PTSD and basically trying to live a normal life. It's so refreshing not to encounter the usually 20-something year old with tragic backstory and who is just ~special~. Charlie has normal worr Figures that I'd finally find an absolute jewel of a UF series and it's one that's been dropped by its publisher... Still, I must rejoice, I suppose, because after a long and arduous journey through a bunch of 1-star rated PRs I finally found this series! Charlie is a 31 year old single mother struggling with PTSD and basically trying to live a normal life. It's so refreshing not to encounter the usually 20-something year old with tragic backstory and who is just ~special~. Charlie has normal worries: how to deal with her ex-husband, how to balance work life with raising a kid, grocery shopping, and trying to best she can be. She's so mature! I love how sensible she is, the no-nonsense and practical way she approaches her problems, the absolute lack of immature drama in her relationships: she has a stellar relationship with her sister, a solid friendship with her partner, and she does her best to have a civil and healthy relationship with her ex-husband. More than any magical powers this sets her apart from all other UF heroines. Not that she doesn't have powers, but she deals with them in a way normal people would - not the "I should use these powers to save the world," but "Yeah, I don't want this, it's a hassle, I just want to live my life." The plot is interesting, but it gets minus 1 star for dropping the reader with no clue in the middle of the action. Yes, it's all explained later, and this being left clueless and in the dark is an important plot point, but I did not like it, it was incredibly frustrating. Anyway, all in all, I really recommend this book!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Katyana

    This was a fun book, though I felt a little... I don't know, I guess let down by the ending. I can't put my finger on why, exactly. I think I am just getting tired of books where our intrepid hero / heroine busts ass to save a bunch of worthless ingrates who have neither appreciation nor even interest in what she does to help them. "The whole world is against you" styled books are beginning to get tiresome to me. Mostly because it always seems to end up that the "whole world" working against the This was a fun book, though I felt a little... I don't know, I guess let down by the ending. I can't put my finger on why, exactly. I think I am just getting tired of books where our intrepid hero / heroine busts ass to save a bunch of worthless ingrates who have neither appreciation nor even interest in what she does to help them. "The whole world is against you" styled books are beginning to get tiresome to me. Mostly because it always seems to end up that the "whole world" working against them is filled with assholes that they always have to save. Meh. Let them die. Fuck em.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Margaux

    This was a buddy read with my fellow MacHalos! DNF at 58%. This book just didn't hold my interest, unfortunately. I really wanted to like it (the protagonist is a mom!), but couldn't get into it. I put it aside to come back to, and never did...maybe I will someday. Right now I have too many other things to read!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Cathy

    I think I'm burning out on tough chick 1st person urban fantasy. It was good but not great. Not bad, just not quite a 4. It's just getting to a point where I'm letting irritations bother me more than they probably should. The writing was good and the plot was fine. I kept turning the pages and wasn't bored at all. Tthe only thing that bothered me was that at first Charlie was exhibiting Too Stupid To Live syndrome, by not telling anyone about her strange symptoms or asking for any help, plus con I think I'm burning out on tough chick 1st person urban fantasy. It was good but not great. Not bad, just not quite a 4. It's just getting to a point where I'm letting irritations bother me more than they probably should. The writing was good and the plot was fine. I kept turning the pages and wasn't bored at all. Tthe only thing that bothered me was that at first Charlie was exhibiting Too Stupid To Live syndrome, by not telling anyone about her strange symptoms or asking for any help, plus continuing to go into dangerous situations alone. Then her sister gives her a well-deserved dressing down and she suddenly sees that she's being dumb and selfish. After that she's perfect, Ms. Teamwork herself. Plus after 31 years of denying that she has any magical ability, suddenly she can do it all, very well, and with amazing insight. Yes, there is a reason she can do a lot of it, but without any training at all against some serious heavy hitters? She just suddenly sees how to make things happen. Also, the big mystery has some big Very obvious points. But also some intriguing ideas and interesting loose ends for follow-up in the next book. We'll see. I'm probably just in a grumpy mood.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Ellen

    Is there something wrong with me? I see all of these four and five star reviews, yet I've actually put this book aside without finishing it. Trust me when I say that such actions are rare in this house. The writing is weak. It's so weak that at first, I kept checking to see if it was book two of a series. Nope, it's the first book. But the way background information is presented makes it feel as if we're getting reminders of what happened earlier in the series, rather than exposition. I kept thin Is there something wrong with me? I see all of these four and five star reviews, yet I've actually put this book aside without finishing it. Trust me when I say that such actions are rare in this house. The writing is weak. It's so weak that at first, I kept checking to see if it was book two of a series. Nope, it's the first book. But the way background information is presented makes it feel as if we're getting reminders of what happened earlier in the series, rather than exposition. I kept thinking I must have missed something. Another weakness concerns characterisation. I'm halfway through the book and it still seems as if the protagonist, Charlie, is two-dimensional. I don't really care what happens to her or what she does. Other characters also seemed just 'there'. But there must be something wrong with me, as I've given it the lowest review on this website thus far. Perhaps I should try it again later.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Jean ~ Kindle Queen

    4.5 stars. This book had just about everything I look for in a book: great characters, excellent world building, surprises/twists, and just a dash of humor. It was while reading this book that I realized I love it when an urban fantasy series sets up a nice team to fight the bad guys. I think I prefer having an eclectic team rather than the lone hero fighting the good fight. Even though it was a super exciting book to read, I knocked off a half star, because I didn't really think about the story 4.5 stars. This book had just about everything I look for in a book: great characters, excellent world building, surprises/twists, and just a dash of humor. It was while reading this book that I realized I love it when an urban fantasy series sets up a nice team to fight the bad guys. I think I prefer having an eclectic team rather than the lone hero fighting the good fight. Even though it was a super exciting book to read, I knocked off a half star, because I didn't really think about the story or the characters much when I wasn't reading. That's one of those intangible factors I need in order to rate it a full 5 stars. I suspect that upcoming books will end up earning the full 5 stars.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ezinwanyi

    The story was pretty action-packed. Charlie Madigan is a cop who just came back from the dead. She lives with her daughter Emma in a city where humans and aliens are barely co-existing. A new drug has hit the market and they don't know who is manufacturing it but it's bad. now Emma's best friend amanda has been a victim of the drug Ash, so it's personal for Charlie. As Charlie steps up her investigation, her family and her become targets. I like the story, but there was a lot going on. I hope in b The story was pretty action-packed. Charlie Madigan is a cop who just came back from the dead. She lives with her daughter Emma in a city where humans and aliens are barely co-existing. A new drug has hit the market and they don't know who is manufacturing it but it's bad. now Emma's best friend amanda has been a victim of the drug Ash, so it's personal for Charlie. As Charlie steps up her investigation, her family and her become targets. I like the story, but there was a lot going on. I hope in book two, there is less info dumping. **Set in Atlanta, GA

  22. 4 out of 5

    Angela

    I'm impressed with this first in series. Refreshing to read about an urban fantasy heroine who is in her 30's, has a kid and is divorced. Yes she can still kick ass. Also, would you believe that she actually drinks water and doesn't live on a diet of coffee? I'm flabbergasted. I can't wait to read the rest of the series. I love Kelly Gay's world building and Charlie Madigan is a heroine that just might be my next favourite character in the genre.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Christen (GoldiloxReads and Whimsify)

    "You told a two-thousand-year-old oracle to prove it." Hank kept pace beside me, nursing his bloody nose with a handful of fast-food napkins I'd pulled from the glove box earlier. "I mean, do you ever think before the words spew out of your mouth, Charlie?" This is not your mother's Atlanta. Scientists have discovered that what we used to think of as heaven and hell is actually two other dimensions with complete societies and inhabitants. Now Earth is sharing itself with these inhabitants, which "You told a two-thousand-year-old oracle to prove it." Hank kept pace beside me, nursing his bloody nose with a handful of fast-food napkins I'd pulled from the glove box earlier. "I mean, do you ever think before the words spew out of your mouth, Charlie?" This is not your mother's Atlanta. Scientists have discovered that what we used to think of as heaven and hell is actually two other dimensions with complete societies and inhabitants. Now Earth is sharing itself with these inhabitants, which include sirens, mages, hellhounds, jinns, etc. Kelly Gay's urban fantasy , The Better Part of Darkness hits the ground rolling. This is a wonderful, mature urban fantasy with great characters and real relationships. Charlie is a strong yet faulty heroine who is used to finding herself in over her head. Eight months prior to the beginning of the book, Charlie died in an attack and came back to life after having been mysteriously revived (and let me just say here that, no, she is not a zombie). She also discovered some secrets about her husband and subsequently went through a divorce, leaving herself and her eleven year old daughter (Emma) on their own, but also growing the bond between the two of them. Needless to say, its been a rough eight months. So when The Better Part of Darkness begins, Charlie is already tired and stressed and none too pleased to find yet another victim of the mysterious new off-world drug, ash. I loved all the characters in this book, even the ones I hated (makes sense, right?). I loved the relationship between Charlie and her partner, a male siren off-worlder named Hank. Hank is often described as a "lion" throughout the book and I think that description fits perfectly. He is strong, loyal, and super sexy. Sadly, Charlie and Hank don't jump into bed in chapter 1. I would have thoroughly enjoyed that! In fact, there isn't really much romance to speak of in this book. There are A LOT of possibilities though, and I was racking my brain for most of the second half of the book trying to figure out which romantic relationship possibility might grow. There is Charlie and Hank, who have a strong partnership and friendship, however Hank has eyes for another off-worlder and Charlie doesn't seem to care about him "in that way" except for a few tinges of jealousy here and there. Then there's Charlie and her ex, Will. They have a history and still an attraction, but his past is difficult for Charlie to move past. Plus, the introduction of a new character named Rex in the last one-third of the book complicates Charlie and Will's relationship a bit. Then there's Charlie's budding relationship with a Charbydon noble, however that is built on some serious mistrust and remains very mysterious still at the end of the story. THEN (yes, there's more) there is Aaron, the sexy mage. Although he might be involved in an interesting story line with Charlie's mage sister, Bryn. Okay, that sounds like a lot of characters, right? Whew! The introduction of a bunch of characters kind of suddenly in the second half of the book seemed a little overwhelming at first, however I can see side stories developing with each of these characters and their introduction and inclusion was necessary to the plot of the book's last half (the better half in my opinion). Something else about this book that I feel I should mention is that I was immediately reminded of the Kate Daniels series due to the setting of the story (an alternate Atlanta) and the fact that the author drops us right in the middle of things with no back story. I loved the world building here and greatly appreciated the lack of info dumping. I also appreciated that I wasn't totally confused while reading (eh hm Ms. Andrews...). I felt like Gay doled out the info as needed but didn't wait too long to give me the important stuff. It made me feel like the author thinks of her readers as intelligent enough to fill in the gaps along the way, and she didn't over-describe every element of, well, everything (eh hm other favorite author of mine...). Also, Charlie often refers to her daughter Emma as "my kid", which was very reminiscent of Kate's 'kid' in the Kate Daniels series. All in all, this was a gritty urban fantasy with a kick-ass heroine and a great plot. There was just enough going on and not too much. I loved Gay's writing style and I loved how she wrote Charlie. She is a more mature, more capable lead with a realistic life and realistic problems. I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about my heroine having a child and an ex husband, but these things just made Charlie more likable and more real (that seems to be the theme here, have you noticed?). Of course, I could have used some more romance here, but I really don't know where it would have fit in. I can't wait to move on to the next in the series, The Darkest Edge of Dawn!

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lady Rogue

    Review courtesy of: http://escapebetweenthepages.blogspot... The cover is appealing, as it definately has the urban fantasy look to it, giving the impression of a confident and strong woman in a dark and grungy world. The story starts off strong. Charlie Madigan arrives at her daughter's school, after she overhears a call for paramedics being needed. (As a mother myself, I can relate to the urgency, to make sure that her daughter was alright and safe.) Once there, she discovers the body of her da Review courtesy of: http://escapebetweenthepages.blogspot... The cover is appealing, as it definately has the urban fantasy look to it, giving the impression of a confident and strong woman in a dark and grungy world. The story starts off strong. Charlie Madigan arrives at her daughter's school, after she overhears a call for paramedics being needed. (As a mother myself, I can relate to the urgency, to make sure that her daughter was alright and safe.) Once there, she discovers the body of her daughter's friend/babysitter on the girl's bathroom floor. The good news, she isn't dead. The bad news, an underworld narcotic called, "ASH" appears to have reached the uptown schools. Charlie, along with her sexy Siren partner Hank, make it thier misson to get the drug and those who are behind the drug off the streets. Charlie has the mentality, determination, and heart of a good cop. But she is too stubborn and self absorbed. There is too much emphasis on her self analyzing everything, it gets boring. Yeah...yeah....get on with it already. This happens many times throughout the book. What I do like, is Charlie being a divorced mother. It gives her crediablity and makes her a bit more likable. I also appreciate her not being able to push aside years of feelings for her ex-husband and the inner struggles that those feelings cause. Her relationship with her partner is refreshing as well, they genuinely care for each other. Their bickering interaction, is well done. I have come to the conclusion that they are both smartasses. Charlie's and her daugher's relationship is endearing. I do like that, at times, it seems like the daughter is taking care of the mother, than the other way around. With exception of Hank and Emma, I feel the remaining characters lack depth, substance and are unnecessary. None are very engaging and feel as if they are just thrown in to fill up space. Those who do have a purpose, don't have enough back story to make me find them believable. First, we have Charlie's twin. Why is he constantly being brought up? Yes, I get it, he was her twin and he is dead. I am spending much time focusing on this and waiting for the repetitive reminder to be more relevent. What little is given, falls flat. Llyran is another character, that should be involved more into the plot or left out completely and saved for another time. It reads like a taunt. Like holding candy out to a kid and then locking it up in front of them, because it doesn't go with dinner. Poor kids....poor me....that is how I feel in this instance. I know the story is there, and the potential looks good, but can't have it, because it doesn't go with this particular plot. It feels like he was going to be part of the story, but then Kelly Gay changed her mind and said, maybe later. So why bring it up at all? Zara, Rex, and Aaron, join in the battle...why? I just don't find it crediable that these people will jump on board so quickly. These charcters feel as if they are thrown in to the story to be immediately paired with another character for a potential love interest, and so that it can complete the whole sterotypical "Scoobie Gang" scenerio, (The gang is all here, now they can fight the bad guys). There is even a good/bad brooding guy named Carreg and a genius doctor who can concoct miracle cures. It is all a quick fix and I feel cheated. Although, the character depth isn't the greatest, the world building is cleverly done and perhaps the book's strongest attribute. The world is not what it used to be, since the "discovery" of two other planes of existence. Kelly Gay's universe has alot of potential, that has room to grow. I really dig the possible religious ramifications and the idea of a Heaven and Hell on Earth, and the mention of Legend, darkness, demons, angels, aliens, etc... It supports the unending struggle of good versus evil, thus giving it a strong base for a plot. If only, it is the main focus. Unfortunately, to many subplots and not enough main plot. All in all, it is a good read, but not a great book. Turning the last page, I am left feeling unsatisfied. There are too many subplots still open, that leaves me without closure. Most of the characters lacked depth, substance and purpose. I did feel that the protagonist wasn't so much ass kicking, but smart mouthed. That being said, as urban fantasies go, it didn't suck. For me, it is probably a one time read.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Snarktastic Sonja

    I am having a lot of trouble with this review. Might be because it seems to be more of the same. But, when a formula works, why mess with it? Maybe because we as readers like something a little different. Or, at least we *think* we do – then we go out and purchase more of the same. I gotta say, this book reminded me a *lot* of Kate Daniels. But, maybe that was just the Atlanta setting. Or, maybe it was the mystifying powers that Charlie had. It certainly wasn’t the presence of a shape shifting c I am having a lot of trouble with this review. Might be because it seems to be more of the same. But, when a formula works, why mess with it? Maybe because we as readers like something a little different. Or, at least we *think* we do – then we go out and purchase more of the same. I gotta say, this book reminded me a *lot* of Kate Daniels. But, maybe that was just the Atlanta setting. Or, maybe it was the mystifying powers that Charlie had. It certainly wasn’t the presence of a shape shifting cat. I really missed the shape shifting cat. Ms. Gay does take an unusual step in her tale: the magical elements here in Atlanta (and one supposed the remainder of the earth) come from other planets. Specifically, Elysia and Charbydon. There are goblins and orcs and trolls aplenty. Of course, many of these types are uber villainous. Charlie is a little unusual in the urban fantasy world. She is involved in *tons* of relationships. This made my little co-dependent heart *very* happy. First of all, she has parents. That are wonderful. And, a sister whom she adores. She has a precocious daughter with her ex-husband. That she still loves. And, she has a partner that is a siren. And, to round this off, she even has a decent boss. All of these people love her and rally round her. Which she often needs because she – wait for it – frequently gets in over her head. Which is, of course, why she needed to come back from the dead. Sound familiar? I really did enjoy the gang that Charlie has around her – the unconditional love and support they offer her in her times of need. The back story of her husband, his cheating and their ultimate divorce was original to me. And, I thought I had heard it all. But, I found it fascinating. The obligatory ‘love triangle’ gets turned on its head a bit here with Charlie and her partner Hank – who is a friend – and her ex-husband. So, not really a ‘love triangle’ more of a ‘friendship triangle’. I will read on in this series – I am curious to see to where it goes. While the familiarity to other urban fantasies cannot be denied, The Better Part of Darkness takes enough departures from standard stereotypes that I found it to be very enjoyable. And, the bath scene is priceless. Completely and utterly priceless. It is worth the price of the book just for that one scene. Because I could walk away from this book, it didn’t quite meet my 4 star criteria – so I gave it 3.5 – which I then round up to 4 for the bath scene. (See how I cheat the system? Even *my own* system?)

  26. 5 out of 5

    Emily WilowRaven

    Simply put - this book kicks a**! I devoured it. I read it in two days. I read it when I should have been eating, sleeping and bathing. I couldn't put it down. I didn't want to put it down! And when it ended - I was sad. I wanted more, more, more! More Charlie and all her bada**ness. More Hank with his heavenly beauty. More Emma. More Bryn. More Will. And not just the characters. I want more background, more history, more of the fantasy![return][return]I have to be honest. I'm a fantasy/sci fi j Simply put - this book kicks a**! I devoured it. I read it in two days. I read it when I should have been eating, sleeping and bathing. I couldn't put it down. I didn't want to put it down! And when it ended - I was sad. I wanted more, more, more! More Charlie and all her bada**ness. More Hank with his heavenly beauty. More Emma. More Bryn. More Will. And not just the characters. I want more background, more history, more of the fantasy![return][return]I have to be honest. I'm a fantasy/sci fi junkie but I have been reading so many YA books lately I thought I would get bored with an adult novel (especially after my last disappointing adult read). Fantasy is wonderful in any form, in my book, but some adult novels bog you down with so much extra nonsense that does nothing to add to the story. Not so in The Better Part of Darkness. The setting laid itself out beautifully. I felt like I was being drawn into the story - like I was a long for the ride with the rest of the characters. I laughed when they did, gasped when they gasped and was left longing when they...well...you get the picture.[return][return]The world that Gay has created is spectacular. I found it incredibly unique. Mythical creatures we would associate with heaven and hell are really creatures from different dimensions. They have been visiting our world since time began but when a brilliant American scientist discovers the existence of these dimensions, humans find themselves living side by side with beings that previously only existed in their dreams...and nightmares.[return][return]Kelly Gay is an award-winning writer but The Better Part of Darkness is her first novel.[return]I was truly blown away by the awesomeness of this book.[return][return]My last words on the subject? READ THIS BOOK! :)[return]Thank you Kelly!!!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kira

    3 1/2 stars. This certainly has the potential to be a really good series. It did have some unique aspects which made this stand out. The coolest thing about this book was that Charlie is a single mom. In UF a divorced mother for a main character is a rarity. Actually I don't think I've ever encountered one in UF before. Another thing that made this special was the world. All of the supes came from alternate universes that roughly resemble heaven and hell. The supes in this weren't the usual ones 3 1/2 stars. This certainly has the potential to be a really good series. It did have some unique aspects which made this stand out. The coolest thing about this book was that Charlie is a single mom. In UF a divorced mother for a main character is a rarity. Actually I don't think I've ever encountered one in UF before. Another thing that made this special was the world. All of the supes came from alternate universes that roughly resemble heaven and hell. The supes in this weren't the usual ones found in UF. I'm sure some people will find it annoying that Charlie wasn't over her ex yet. Although I did not like her ex, how she felt about him seemed realistic. Having been through a similar situation, her reaction to him made sense. I hope she has the sense to realize that love isn't always enough, and stay away from him. I ship Hank. He was her partner and friend who was kind, caring, and loyal. Their relationship may stay platonic, which is fine, but they had great chemistry. I would love to see their relationship evolve into something more. This would have been better if the mystery involving the drugs had been more complex. There weren't any red herrings. It was all fairly straight forward. One thing about this book that wasn't original was that Charlie was incredibly powerful and had just discovered her powers. And I didn't like it that Charlie made a lot of rash decisions that had dire consequences. Her friends and family may not want to stick around if things stay this way because they might not want to deal with the consequences of her impetuousness.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Darcy

    Aliens are now real and a fact of life after the big Revelation where it was discovered to alternate dimensions to earth and America is once again the country that everyone wants to immigrate too. Once aliens are accepted as common place they start to blend into society just as other immigrants have done in the past. Charlie, a human and in the police force, and her partner Hank, who is a siren, are just another fact of life in the newly changing melting pot of America. They are called out when a Aliens are now real and a fact of life after the big Revelation where it was discovered to alternate dimensions to earth and America is once again the country that everyone wants to immigrate too. Once aliens are accepted as common place they start to blend into society just as other immigrants have done in the past. Charlie, a human and in the police force, and her partner Hank, who is a siren, are just another fact of life in the newly changing melting pot of America. They are called out when a girl is found in a dead like state at the school that Charlie's daughter goes to. Upon arrival Charlie notices the girl is none other than her daughter's after school babysitter, bringing the case close to home. While investigating this crime Charlie has issues pop up from her past, namely nightmares about when she died. Her investigation brings her closer to the fact that all these events are connected somehow. Little by little Hank and her start unraveling the treads only to lead to bigger and bigger problems with very influential people. As these people threaented those Charlie loves and her way of live she gets to the bottom of what happened to her when she died and was brought back. With unusual allies they fight to stop the steps that have been put in motion but only partially succeed and at great loss to all involved. This was a great first book were you weren't mired down in world building or having info dumped at you left and right. You get sucked in right away and are really rooting for Charlie and wish the world was one you lived in.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Vi

    I'm still wavering between 3 and a 4 star. I can't make up my mind :( This is a pure urban fantasy book. The book starts off by dropping you in a midst of action. Charlie Madigan was dead for 2 hours eight months back when she was somehow bought back to life by an (almost) mad scientist. This incident seemed to have untold effects and will turn to be a pivotal point in her life. Gay's new urban fantasy series seems to have aliens in the book. I as unaware while going in the book. Since the book ba I'm still wavering between 3 and a 4 star. I can't make up my mind :( This is a pure urban fantasy book. The book starts off by dropping you in a midst of action. Charlie Madigan was dead for 2 hours eight months back when she was somehow bought back to life by an (almost) mad scientist. This incident seemed to have untold effects and will turn to be a pivotal point in her life. Gay's new urban fantasy series seems to have aliens in the book. I as unaware while going in the book. Since the book basically drops us in the midst, I had to flounder a bit to understand the world. Gay seems to have concentrated more on the action and less on the world so that by the end of the book we still don't have a full idea on the book. And I still feel like I've missed a prequel somewhere. Charlie seems to have flavors of different UF heroines in her and she is the first I've come across who has a kid which I appreciate. The book has lots of twists - some that hit me on the head in a good way and some in a bad way. The bad way was emphasized because the world was not given enough flesh for me to really understand what happened. So, in a way, it felt really incomplete and I keep feeling that I've missed a significant part of the picture. For all the stuff I've said, I still look forward to the next book and to continue the series. Hopefully, the world will be fleshed out more in the following books. It sure looks like an interesting one. Be warned though that this is a 99% urban fantasy without any appreciable romance in it. Recommend to urban fantasy fans.

  30. 4 out of 5

    AE

    1 star. DNF. The first chapter or so of this book I thought--why on earth are there so many bad reviews? Charlie's a witty, sexy mom who kicks butt with a hilarious siren partner named Hank. How could this go wrong? Well, I quit a 1/3 of the way through. She's having weird shit happening to her body, and instead of talking to someone about it, she doesn't. Then when she finally does, it's really vague questions, not the ones, you know, a cop would ask. Furthermore, she accepts his really vague ans 1 star. DNF. The first chapter or so of this book I thought--why on earth are there so many bad reviews? Charlie's a witty, sexy mom who kicks butt with a hilarious siren partner named Hank. How could this go wrong? Well, I quit a 1/3 of the way through. She's having weird shit happening to her body, and instead of talking to someone about it, she doesn't. Then when she finally does, it's really vague questions, not the ones, you know, a cop would ask. Furthermore, she accepts his really vague answers, some of which are non-answers. She is a cop who is trained in interrogation! Where are her spidey-senses? Then story just drags, and man, we get these random scenes that just happen and you wonder how the person got there and if the author just threw in five sentences, because they seemed cool. It's just.. sad. I was really irritated with this book, because I really wanted to like it. It seemed different in the sea of urban fantasy, but instead she's a avoid-all-logical-questions cop who sees a man and pants for sex. She's a teen character put into a 30 year old's body. Walk away.

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