Don't Bite The Messenger, by Regan Summers

>> Friday, April 26, 2013

TITLE: Don't Bite The Messenger
AUTHOR: Regan Summers

PUBLISHER: Carina Press

SETTING: Alt version of contemporary Alaska
TYPE: Urban fantasy
SERIES: Prequel novella

Anchorage, Alaska

The vampire population may have created an economic boom in Alaska, but their altered energy field fries most technology. They rely on hard-living—and short-lived—couriers to get business done...couriers like Sydney Kildare.

Sydney has survived to the ripe old age of twenty-six by being careful. She's careful when navigating her tempestuous clients, outrunning hijackers and avoiding anyone who might distract her from her plan of retiring young to a tropical, vampire-free island.

Her attitude—and immunity to vampires' allure—have made her the target of a faction of vampires trying to reclaim their territory. Her only ally is Malcolm Kelly, a secretive charmer with the uncanny habit of showing up whenever she's in trouble. Caught in the middle of a vampire turf war, Sydney has to count on Malcolm to help her survive, or the only place she'll retire is her grave...
I read this novella only because the full-length book that follows it is set in Santiago de Chile. Pretty much every single romance novel I’ve read that’s been set in South America has been set in the jungle, rather than in a setting that looks anything like where I’m from, even though there’s as much non-jungle as there is jungle in the continent. Santiago isn’t Montevideo, but at least we’re talking about a Southern Cone urban setting, which I thought would be interesting.

Someone mentioned, though, that I probably wouldn’t be able to make much sense of Running in the Dark unless I read Don’t Bite The Messenger, which sets up the whole thing. Since it was short and cheap, I picked it up.

The novella is set in a world in which vampires have come out, so to speak, and are forced to live in a low-tech world, as something about their auras/energy fields is hell on electronics. This means no email or phones (why no landlines, though, I wonder?), so communications between the different factions rely on human go-betweens, whose work is enormously risky.

Our heroine, Sydney, is one such messenger, and she's survived for an unusually long time. She's almost ready to retire now, so you know what that means, right? Yep, everything is about to turn to shit.

Well, at least the novella made it clear that we are talking paint-by-the-numbers urban fantasy, which is really, really, REALLY not my thing. I suspected this would be the case, but before reading the novella, I could hope against hope that this time it would be different. It wasn't. I was just not interested in the characters and all the tedious vampire turf wars. Why should I care? Summers doesn’t give me a reason. There are no stakes (hey!) that are in any way meaningful to me. What do I care if vampire X takes over from vampire Y? Just because Sydney works for vampire X? Well, so what? They all seem just as vile. That’s what keeps me away from UF, plots are too often like this.

There's the beginning of a romance here, with this vampire, Malcolm, who is supposed to be this suave, magnetic character, but I just couldn’t see the attraction or charisma, and I was completely uninterested.

Yep, even the Santiago setting won’t tempt me now. Not to mention, even that makes little sense now. Basically, in this world, vampires choose to live as near the poles as they can (where nights are longest in the winter) and move from hemisphere to hemisphere every 6 months, following the winter. This is a pretty cool, logical idea, and I liked it. The action starts out in Anchorage, in Alaska (fine, makes sense), but then they move to Santiago which is not as logical. Santiago is as far South as, say, Los Angeles is North. Maybe somewhere like Ushuaia would make more sense.



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