BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Review of Predators of Darkness: Aftermath by Leonard Hilley II

Publisher: CreateSpace

Release Date: May 24th, 2011 (kindle edition)

Series:  #1 in The Darkness Series

More Info: Amazon     The Book Depository

Book Blurb (from Amazon):

Fear What Lurks In The Shadows

The desolate streets of downtown Pittsburgh in 2073 are a reminder of the missile attack that forever changed the lives of the surviving scientists and students hidden in the fallout shelter of Helmsby's Genetic Research Center. Believing themselves to be the only survivors, they station themselves inside the center until food supplies near depletion. Thinking the fallout has lessened, they emerge three years later to discover strange creatures patrolling the streets in search of human flesh and blood. The creatures possess the ability to shift their genomes and alter their appearances by realigning their genetic sequences. Daniel Hutchinson, their leader, teams with Lucas Ridale and together they set out to scavenge the area for food and supplies with the hope to find other survivors. But Daniel's most recent journey uncovers mysteries more frightening than the shifters. He discovers the tip of Pittsburgh has been fenced off from the rest of the area. Low-flying helicopters observe the streets, making him ponder the question: Were the shifters released as simply part of a military experiment with humans being their prey?

My Thoughts:

There's a lot to like about this book - an intriguing plot, filled with conspiracies and twists and turns, that's an intriguing blend of mystery, thriller, science fiction, dystopia, and urban fantasy, with some romance mixed in; lots of action; and dialogue that can be sharp.

There were also a fair number of things that didn't work - the dialogue and prose could be stilted; copy editing issues that by themselves were mostly minor but occurred often enough to be annoying; an utter inability to write believable romance scenes, and, most disturbingly to me, what appears to be a strong case of misogyny on the author's part.

The romance and sex scenes alternately had me rolling my eyes and laughing at their awfulness. A friend thanked me for providing her with giggles as I shared excerpts from the book. Some examples:

1) "Her stomach felt like a net full of excited butterflies as her hormones excited places in her body where she’d never experienced sensations before." Also, this sentence needs some serious punctuation help
2) "The burning passion hidden in her heart unleashed from its prison." Purple prose AND cliches.
3) The scene, too long to share here, where Daniel is in a drugged sleep and still manages to have sex, complete with ejaculation, all while asleep. He also brings his partner to orgasm. This may be possible, but it's unlikely, there's the whole matter of consent, and...eeeewwwww.

None of the characters were completely likable, all had their flaws and unpleasant traits, but that helped to make them fell more real. Oddly, the author doesn't seem to have intended that. Two of the main characters, Daniel and Julia, the ones I believe we are meant to root for, he periodically describes in glowing terms but then has them say or do things that contradict those descriptions. Julia is described as "...disposition was sweet, and she was respectful of those she worked with." This same sweet, respectful woman drugs one woman and attacks another, a patient that she is supposed to be treating, yet the author writes as if he sees no contradiction.

Daniel has been seeing a woman, Johanna, who is supposedly his mate, but he admits in his thoughts that he's only using her for sex and he doesn't even like her. As it happens, she is using him for sex and also to maintain her social standing in the colony. He promises another woman that if she defeats Johanna in battle, that they will become mates. Instead of honoring that promise when she wins, he hooks up with someone else. So, on the one hand, the characters are believably flawed but on the other hand, they can be obnoxious or downright nasty. There really are no black and white characters; all of them, whether identified as good or bad, are shades of gray.

When the story first starts, Julia seems pleasant and sweet; she also suffers from unrequited love and is jealous of the woman who has the man she wants. In short order, Hilley shows us that she is not so sweet or kind:She's so jealous that she slips birth control pills into the other woman's daily vitamin regimen: "  “Estrogen?” Johanna frowned. “Isn’t that like for birth control?” Julia smiled. “Exactly.” Johanna’s face flushed red. “You sorry bitch! You’re the reason I’ve not gotten pregnant. I’m not sterile. All this time you’ve been giving me birth control pills? How could you? Why would you do this to me?” " So much for Julia being sweet and respectful.

Hilley starts out with women falling into the old, worn out, useless cliches of women being saints or sluts. Over the course of the book, Hilley turns all the key female characters, and some of the minor ones, into bitchy, nasty women. He appears to have a low opinion of women. One such example: "Cadby laughed. “That’s been arranged, sir. Brenda is going to kill him.” “Brenda? She won’t kill him. They were intimate at one time.” “At one time,” Cadby said. “But love-scorned women, what do you do with them? Besides, I offered her a promotion.” Charming. Not.

The story held my interest for the most part but I had trouble getting past the really bad romance writing and his apparent dislike of women.  It's the first in a series so I hope both of those will improve.

I received a PDF from the author for review.


  1. The whole premise looks amazing, but the details of that sex scene...put me right off. Glad you liked it somewhat ^__^

  2. It is a good premise, it has lots of potential, but yeah, that sex scene. I was blown away and not in any good way. IMO, the author should have stuck with the sci fi and political themes and skipped the sex and romance portions.


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