Charmeine, Book One of the Light-Bearer series by Emily Guido stars Tabbruis as a lonely Blood-Hunter who has sworn off human blood, and Charleen (aka Charmeine) as a lonely Light-Bearer who doesn’t know she’s a Light-Bearer. This book is an introduction to the Light-Bearers series so it covers Tabbruis and Charleen’s meeting and the rise of the main threat against them.
As a reader, the synopsis drew me in and the cover art is awesome. I couldn’t wait to read this. Once I got inside, the story moves along well with Tabbruis. However, there are places that read way too quickly. I felt like I was reading an extended synopsis. One that particularly bothered me was Tabbruis’ background. That could’ve been a book all its own. It felt rushed. But once we introduce Charleen, the story gets bogged down. Toward the end as Tabbruis and Charleen are getting to know each other, the pace is incredibly slow. Every action is being described almost in real time. A lot of it could have been cut out. This is a problem I find with the first book of a series. There is so much introduction that the author wants to do that they don’t realize they’re boring the reader.
Characters. There is nothing that really endears me to Tabbruis or Charleen. I think it’s because I’m being “told” how I should feel about them rather than presenting me with the character and letting me decide.
This is a paranormal romance and it involves a lot of emotion. A lot of emotion.
I felt like I was reading a spoof of a romance novel. It took all the elements and exaggerated them to the point of being comical. If that was the author’s intention, they succeeded. If not, I’d invest in a good amount of revision and editing.
Now as a writer, I had a very difficult time reading this book. But I couldn’t stop reading it. I had to see how at least this book ended. And I got quite a few laughs out of it. But I’m not sure it was where the author intended.
There are two major action scenes that show the author really thought them out. However, it is poorly executed. Revision with more “action” words would help.
The romance aspect of it is definitely there. We are told numerous times how gorgeous Tabrruis is and how beautiful Charleen is and how attracted they are to each other. I would’ve liked a lot less telling and more showing. But the most tender moment I enjoyed is when Charleen and Tabbruis are holding their hands up to each other and her light is flowing between them. I thought that was a nice romantic and emotionally balanced scene.
Yet, I didn’t really get invested in the characters. Charleen kind of annoyed me and I couldn’t figure Tabbruis out. Sometimes she was an outright a brat and he was overly sensitive. I kept wanting him to man up.
Now for my list of I Didn’t Like:
1. The writing style. The author really needs to take a creative writing course. Passive voice runs rampant in this book. Oxymoronic, I know. And I’m guilty of this as well, for example in this review, but we’re not talking about me right now. (he he he) Anyway, writing is an art that makes the reader forget that they’re reading a book. It irritated me so bad at times I was talking back to the book. Usually by saying: “Seriously?” What bothered me the most about the author’s style was the description of what the character is doing and then a comma and then an open quotation. Example: “Tabbruis intently looked into her eyes, held her face with his hand and asked, ‘Can you leave me know?’” It would have been fine if the author had changed it up sometimes. Most of the dialog began like that and often contained a lot longer description of what the character did…and then said. I know, I’m being a stickler. I guess it’s all preference.
2. Speaking of dialog. It was really goofy and awkward much of the time. Tabbruis and Charleen had a silly exchange that went on way too long. It sounded like two third grade boys at a campout trying to outdo each other with goofy comments.
And people don’t actually speak in detailed explanations in the middle of an action scene. That tends to slow down the action. Example: They’re in a Charger speeding away with an injured person in the back. The driver says, “Thank God this a Sunday and there are no Mets or Yankee home baseball games or we would hit bumper to bumper traffic on the Long Island Expressway for sure.” There is a lot of overstating throughout.
3. Charleen’s potty mouth. Now I have no aversion to cursing. That’s how some people talk. But with this book using angels and heavenly background, and it being a romance, I was surprised that Charleen was “Damn it to hell!” every time she gets upset. And when she gets upset, it is like flipping a light switch. No build up or anything. Don’t tell Charleen she can’t do something. It was like she had multiple personalities. First she’s this sweet, fun loving person, then she’s bawling because she’s an orphan and then she’s spitting fire in the span of one page.
Those are the things that really bothered me.
What did I like?
1. The premise of the book is fantastic. Just get a really good editor, use more action words and don’t let your characters be so goofy that they sound like children.
2. The background on Tabbruis is fascinating. Slow it down so we can get to know him and care about him. Show us. Don’t just tell us he’s a good and caring guy.
3. Charleen’s tough attitude is refreshing for a heroine. Yet, she needs to stop flipping out at the drop of a hat. But my favorite kick-ass girl power line was when she was fighting the “bad” Blood-Hunter and she pretty much tells him he better get back or she will fry him. And I believed her. 🙂
Final thoughts: I wouldn’t read it again. But it can be enjoyed. It’s a good premise. I just couldn’t get past the author’s writing style.