Let us just start, right from the get go, by saying that DARK TIME: Mortal Path by Dakota Banks is NOT written for guys like us. In fact we would go so far as to say its not written for guys at all. So we feel an obligation for some leeway in the way we review it. Don’t worry, we will still do it in style, as you have come to expect from us.
DARK TIME is an entry into the current trend of Urban Fantasy with a touch of eroticism and a strong female lead. It follows closely in the footsteps of the likes of Laurell K. Hamilton and Faith Hunter. Is this a bad thing? Well our feelings our mixed on that score. It doesn’t stray from that tried and true formula very much, if at all, which is somewhat disappointing. However, that means that what content there is works (for the most part, as we will demonstrate later).
First of all, what did Banks do right?
Well our first thought is both a right and a wrong. She didn’t take any risks here. But that’s because what she did has already been established as a good story. Our protagonist, Maliha, is a former professional killer that hit her targets at the behest of a Sumerian demon/god, and wanted out of the life. In order to avoid eternal torment she must atone for the loss of life she created by saving lives for each that she took. Sound kind of familiar? It should. However, we like this plot device so we put this in the win column.
As mentioned above she used a more obscure set of cultural myths (Sumerian) which we applaud heartily. We are pretty tired of seeing Norse, Greek, Roman, blah blah blah myths used as a basis. It was incredibly refreshing to find a new set of names to get involved in. We don’t know what these demons and gods are capable of and it is awesome to experience it. We wished she had explored the mythologies behind the Sumerian demons and gods involved much more. That was incredibly fascinating to us. We love that kind of stuff (In fact, Nick will sit and research a random cultures mythologies in depth, just to pass the time). We are sure that more will come in the later books of the series, so we can understand the skimping now. Our appetites are sufficiently whetted for more of the mythology.
There is plenty of action, whether it be fighting, sex (or the tension of it at least), and not to mention more high tech gadgets than a Bond movie.
That’s a good enough spot to go the next section. The…less than stellar.
As far as that previously mentioned action goes, while there is plenty of it, it can be extremely ridiculous. Our favorite part (Nick literally laughed out loud and shook his head) is when our protagonist has a sharpened plastic throwing star flung at her. What does Maliha do? Well of course she throws her own metal throwing knife at the throwing star speeding towards her. Ok, she has some superhuman abilities that have been defined. We can believe this part so far even if it is kind of silly. But what happens next… Well… When the weapons meet in midair, the metal knife doesn’t break the plastic star, it deflects it. OK Banks, we are still with you…if barely. It doesn’t, however, send the star flying in a random direction. Instead it is sent straight back into the original attacker’s throat. Oh, along with Maliha’s knife. Seriously? This was stupid. How did this slip past revisions and editing? We also lost count of how many handsprings and cart wheels the main character does. Even Steve’s wife, the gymnast, snickered a little when it was mentioned to her.
The other down side of all that action is that there is really very little plot since the book is pretty short. This brings us to our next big problem with the book. As we said before, the plot is centered around Maliha paying off her debt of killing people while she was the slave of a Demon. She does this by saving lives. Deal. We are with you Banks. Its not very original but, again tried and true is still fun. However, Maliha kills more people in this book than she saves. So…how does this paying of her debt work again? We don’t know. Sounds to us like she is just digging her way further into Hell.
OK, technically the protagonist does an act that saves millions of lives in this book, but that somehow doesn’t pay of her debt. We have a hard time believing, based on the examples shown of her assassinations while a slave, that she could have killed millions of people. So why isn’t her debt paid off after this huge life saving act? We don’t know.
As for the task of settling this debt, Maliha sure takes a relaxed stance towards it. She thinks about it, and the stress involved from time to time, but she takes time to lay on a beach and stare a speedo clad man’s junk? She takes time to write lusty murder mysteries? She goes on dates? What the eff? C’mon lady, you have 300 years of killing to make up for! You don’t have time for that silliness. Do you hear that banging sound? Yeah, that’s us banging our heads against the wall in frustration.
At the end of the day, the book delivers, totally, on it’s promise, which is a seductive, sensual action experience. Its the book equivalent of Charlie’s Angels, but without the annoying Drew Barrymore.
Was this book what we were looking for? Not really, but it was fun enough to be worth the time spent reading it. If you’re looking for a superficial, popcorn novel to entertain you for an evening this book fits the bill. Bottom line? There are a huge number of females that will love this novel (with certain members of the male population filing it under their “guilty pleasure reading”), and really, and in that sense, this book succeeds tremendously since females are the obvious target-audience.
Recommended Age: 16 and up.
Language: There is some cursing, but its not distracting.
Violence: Well yes, quite of a bit of actually. Thank you for asking.
Sex: A few acts, though with as much focus on the sensual aspects of the book as there is the scenes are remarkably vague. The talking and thinking about it permeates the book though.
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