Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Review: Running In The Dark by Inger Iversen

Running In The Dark by Inger Iversen
July 08th, 2015

This book is also crossposted to Twinja Book Reviews


While I love all speculative fiction, if I had to choose, I'd say paranormal romance is typically my least favorite, but mainly because of the recycled tropes I see too many times to count.

This is the first paranormal romance book I feel like I genuinely loved. I don't think there are many perfect books(books free of flaws, including recycled tropes) but for a book that wasn't everything I wanted, it handled many things 100% right.

Running In The Dark followed the exploits of Bessina, a 19 year old girl running away from her problems, to run into more when she witnesses the death/suicide of two vampires

Things I found flawless:
The main characters Bessina(the human) and Trace(the dhampir). Bessina had a painful, yet well thought out back story, and I really liked her common sense. One of the tropes I hate is when girls in books are made to make horrible decisions once a guy takes his shirt off, while the guy gets to be this intelligent, organized and rational character in comparison and it grinds my gears.

Bessina was a true hit with me, and I loved that this was the first book I'd read all year that featured a dark skinned Black woman. That was the real seller for me. While the food comparison to her skin color I could've done without, at least I knew she was much darker than the last heroines I'd read earlier.

Trace was my new book boyfriend. Thank you Running In The Dark for finally giving me a guy in a book who wasn't a horrible person, who's just misunderstood. Because vampires/dhampirs require blood to survive, it's their nature to prey. But it's hard to be attracted to someone who's sole intention is to bring harm to you. I can't imagine falling in love with a serial killer willingly, so I liked that despite his nature, underneath he was someone who wasn't a jerk just to be one.

While never described in detail, Bessina had been sexually assaulted before the events of the book. I don't think I would've liked Trace if he'd been a jerk to a trauma victim, because thats just plain cruel. He was exactly what a girl who'd been through the wire needed, which was to feel safe enough to explore her sexuality, which I thought was extremely well done!

There's a intimate scene, but I thought it was realistic. It wasn't this 3 hour session full of a thousand and one orgasms, it was just regular sex. But the build up was super hot! He said everything I think a survivor of sexual trauma should hear, and all in a sexy Russian accent!

I liked the plot. The story was set in motion after Bessina witnessed a suicide from two vampires. Apparently humans aren't even supposed to know vampires exist, and Trace's job as a Watcher, meant he was supposed to dispose of remains in situations like this, so it doesn't leave a trace. Once word gets out that a human(Bessina) starts asking questions, Trace is instructed to kill her, but he just can't do it.

This book happened in a single day, so there wasn't any insta-love going on. They were forced to make choices that tied them together for an eternity, but they both recognized that it wasn't love, even though it could turn into love. With the circumstances, I thought that was realistic. Love is a powerful emotion that I don't think can be felt in a day, so I liked that they didn't feel the need to lie about being in love just for the sake of it.

Bessina had some huge family secrets and issues, and I felt like it really added to her character about moving forward to forge a new life. 

There weren't many main characters to really comment on the diversity aspect. Bessina was the only person of color that was a main character, but many of the characters were of Russian descent on the vampire side, which is something you don't see everyday.

The title and cover fit the story very well too, and I've never seen the name Bessina, and I've never met a basic looking dude named Trace, so all was well XD

Things I found confusing:

I wish the politics of The Vampire Nation and The Sect(Human side) had been explained in greater detail. I had to assume things about the way things were run, maybe a less intense "True Blood" world. I didn't understand why the Vampire Nation would want to start a war over nothing, when they were greatly outnumbered as it was, and I wasn't sure why The Sect insisted on knowing about the VN, but allowing other humans to remain ignorant to the information.

An event in the beginning that set the story in motion had me curious to why vampires wanted to commit suicide. I know immortality isn't all it's cracked up to be, but I would've liked reasons. Do Vampires suffer from depression? Were they low on money, or in debt? Were they not allowed certain civil liberties humans gained without question? Many of these questions weren't answered by the end of the book. It must be on a need to know...

Also, while I liked that sexual abuse was addressed in this book, I wondered why Trace had been the only man she'd been with willingly. By my eyes, that made her a virgin(which I cringe at) because I don't consider rape, actual sex. Since she'd been sexually assaulted recently, I wasn't sure meeting someone in one day was a long enough time to feel ready to jump back on the saddle.

Everything in this book happened in a single day, so Im definitely not suggesting that having sex after having just met someone isn't appropriate. But a character who's gone through something so traumatic needs more than a few hours to feel that level of trust with someone again, and it's not easy to gain that from a stranger. Many survivors of sexual assault still have trouble being intimate with their own lovers, because the assault temporarily(sometimes even longer) makes intimacy much more difficult than before the trauma.

It's not a deal breaker, as I've mentioned in my likes, but survivors don't deserve to be rushed. They deserve time to heal, and while I understand the book has a small amount of time to conclude the story quickly, it was just something that stuck out to me.


So obviously you can see it wasn't much that I disliked. When it comes to speculative fiction, I usually hold a much higher preference to low fantasy, but this book definitely changed my outlook on paranormal romance =)

If you're interested in this book, click is the link to grab a copy of your own!