Derik’s Bane by Mary Janice Davidson
Let me start by saying that I have thoroughly enjoyed MJD’s Undead series. I’m starting with that because I don’t want anyone thinking I’m a MJD hater. Because I seriously did not like Derik’s Bane. At all.
I think the best way to describe how I felt about this book is by telling you about my reading of it. I started Derik’s Bane a week before I left for RT. It had been on my TBR pile for several weeks and I was looking for a light-hearted read so I picked it up. I wasn’t immediately enchanted and found it easy to put down. A day or so before I left for RT, I got within 20 pages of finishing the book but didn’t feel urged to finish it. I left it at home rather than take an almost finished book with me and add weight to my bags. And I completely forgot I was reading this book, despite meeting MJD at the book fair and getting one of my Undead books signed. It didn’t enter my head that I had reached the climax of the book and basically left myself hanging. I had little to no interest in finding out what happened. And it didn’t come to my attention that I hadn’t finished it until I saw it sitting on my bedside table when I got home. And still I wasn’t compelled to grab it and read the last 20 pages (which, when I did finally pick it up took me all of 10 minutes). I’m telling you this so you can see how thoroughly uninterested in this book I was.
I found the protagonists to be silly and shallow. I had absolutely no interest in their objectives, their romance, or their characters. The humour was adolescent and slapstick- which I can appreciate when it’s done well- but MJD missed the mark with this one. I found myself thinking, “Oh gee, look, she did something that’s supposed to make me laugh. How much more of this am I going to have to take? Is the whole book going to be like this?” Yes, much to my chagrin, the whole book WAS like that. Full of situations which seemed loosely connected to each other. Scene changes which were awkward and jarring, with time elapsing unexplained and from one paragraph to the next.
And the big climax? No not THAT kind of climax, the kind that comes at the pinnacle of the story? It seemed like something that MJD wrote in because, well, a story has to have some sort of arc, right? Even if it is getting in the way of the comedy routine. And we won’t even talk about the epilogue and the last few sentences, which had to be the most worthless ending ever that left me going WTF?
In discussing this book with a friend, it was pointed out to me one other reason this book is a Miss. Bad research and poor editing. Rachael Ray is mentioned several times throughout the book as she is Derek’s idol. Notice how I spelled it? Rachael Ray. In the book, it’s spelled RACHAL Ray. Bad author. Bad editor. Google is your friend and is only a click of the mouse away. Use it, feel it, know it. It will save you from looking silly and as if you just threw the book together.
I think I’ve made it pretty clear but give this book a Miss unless you’re a die-hard rabid MJD fan who thinks everything she writes is award winning. If that’s the case, perhaps you can point out the redeeming features of the book to me, I’d love to hear them.
Grade: Miss (narrowly escaping Wallbanger status because I don’t like to be too harsh)