Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Review: Ravenous by Sharon Ashwood

Title: Ravenous
Author: Sharon Ashwood
Series: The Dark Forgotten #1
Pages: 352
Publisher: Signet
Date Published: February 3, 2009
 Format: Mass Market Paperback
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Source: Won from Bitten by Books

Holly Carver is a witch who sometimes relies on the help of Alessandro Caravelli for her family's preternatural investigations business. Alessandro is the oldest and strongest vampire in Fairview and he's made no secret of his desire for Holly. But while she aches to succumb to his suggestive wiles, she knows it would be an invitation to trouble.Then Alessandro's queen, Omara, complicates matters when she turns up in Fairview to enlist his help. Sultry and manipulative, she is jealous of Alessandro's feelings for Holly, and demands he use Holly to trap Geneva, the most evil demon of all.

My Review:
Holly is the last witch in her line working for the family business...magic. After a magical accident killed her parents and bound her and her sister's magic, things haven't been going too well for the family. Ashe, Holly's sister has given up magic entirely and moved away, leaving the business and the family in a lurch. Still, Holly needs to pay the bills and go to school so she can advance in the world so she starts taking on cases of ghost and poltergeist removal a-la-ghost busters style. Through her work she becomes connected to Fairviews vampire society via her partner Alessandro, a centuries old Italian hunk who is second in command to the Queen Vamp of the region. As the cases Holly takes on become more and more difficult, she finds herself deeply involved with paranormal politics in her town and discovers that there may just be an apocalypse on the way that hasn't been seen since her ancestors dealt with it centuries ago. Now Holly's got to master her magic, avoid demons, figure out her feelings for her partner, and survive the vampire queen in time to help save this world from the creatures who had been banished to a prison realm for centuries...and she still has to go to computer science class!

In all honesty, I was pretty bored by this book. I felt like it was just a hodge-podge of all the cliched Urban Fantasy elements combined in a story that seemed half-assed and full of plot holes. The vampire queen Omara bugged me. It didn't bother me that she was the standard, "hard-ass" queen of evil that shows up time and time again in UF. Obviously, people dig the vampire queen. I even dig the vampire queen...but there's a reason for it. I LOVE to see a completely diabolical, apologetically evil woman making shit-loads of trouble for a protagonist. Seeing true evil coming out from such a perfect china doll is kind of cool, eerie, and bad-ass. You can't help but love a good villain, especially if she deserves the title. But at the same time, if that villain is stupid, weak, etc...I hate them. It reflects badly on the main characters when they can't defeat a stupid villain, or they serve a weak queen. That is the problem with Omara, Alessandro's liege. She's weak. She doesn't have any particular powers that distinguish her as kick-ass or scary. She basically fell into her role as queen because she stole a book from some higher-ups. There was NO explanation of why Alessandro, this gorgeous, powerful, sexy, terrifying vamp would even consider serving her.

Speaking of Alessandro...He was FINE. I'm a total sucker for gorgeous blond muscle-men and darling Al was the perfect blend of both.  I really enjoyed his description and the love-scenes were very nice...but I did feel like the connection between him and Holly was kind of mellow for my tastes. I want a romance I can feel in my gut and get swept away with, and Holly and Alessandro were entirely to tame to be enjoyable. They lacked the heat and the intensity that makes a couple memorable. Instead of longing for them to be together, I found myself longing for the sex scenes to be over so I could get on with the plot and see where the story led. The ending of the book is when things really start to happen for the plot. There's a lot of self discovery, information, and world-building in the beginning parts of the book, but no action to speak of (other than banging like bunnies). I loved the tons of magic being wielded left and right, but other than that the plot lagged. It took a huge amount of time for me to get into the story and if I was a less obsessive reader, I might not have found the willpower to finish.

There were a lot of interesting aspects that I did like though. One cool idea was the idea of a disappearance of paranormal creatures into another realm. I thought that was an excellent way to explain how the myths started in the middle ages, then died as people accepted science. The creatures were simply in another realm and so we began to believe that the never existed. Another original(ish) idea that Ashwood brought to the table was the idea of sentient houses. I really loved that aspect in Rachel Caine' s Morganville Vampires series, so I was excited to see them in this book too. Ashwoods houses can do anything from clean the gutters to protect inhabitants from demons, though I would have liked to see it actively do more. The great things about these sentient houses is that they become good or evil based on the personalities of the family within them. Now what I want to see is the good and evil houses doing active battle...I can see the chimney's shooting soot and fire at each other while the boards of the porches act as catapults...lol
I give Ravenous 2 Keys. It was middle of the road reading at best, but did bring some good things to the table eventually. Will I read book two in the series? Honestly...probably not. I may pick it up if I ever run my TBR pile to the ground, but the chances of that happening are few and far between. It wasn't so god-awful that I didn't find anything worthy about it, but I just felt like I read it all before. The descriptions were cut-outs from other books, and the characters as well. If it was released ten years ago it might have had a shot at becoming something great, but for right now, it's just one of the masses. Good enough to pick up if you're bored and there's nothing else to read, but not good enough to tell the girls about over margaritas or write to mom and dad about.


  1. I honestly have not even heard of this series. And I don't think I'll be adding it to my TBR pile any time soon.

  2. this cover is very alluring...Great review!

  3. I had no knowledge of RAVENOUS before this. I was not expecting witches. Cannibals more like.