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REVIEW: Lights Out by Amber Green

Dear Ms Green,

ag_lightsout_coverlg.jpgWhen you offered us an ebook copy of your WWII paranormal buttsecks novel, my blogmates unanimously elected me to read it. I’m still pondering what that might imply. I hate to admit it but I’m also still pondering and trying to figure out just what the heck went on in this book.

November, 1942: Headlines scream of war overseas, not of monstrous Hydes lurking in the blacked-out streets of New York City. Yet Hydes once driven underground by electric light have reclaimed the dark hours.

The city’s Guardian summons Huntsmen Jack French and his twin, Tommy, to combat the Hydes. Only half a step from becoming monsters themselves, the twins risk life and soul to protect the people of the daylight world. Their chances of survival are small indeed, but that’s what war is. That’s what Huntsmen do.

After her mother’s murder gives The Home Front new meaning, Lorie-the-Riveter volunteers for frontline duty in the secret war against the Hydes. Jack and Tommy need her as a lure. More, feeding on her orgasmic energies might keep them from taking that fatal half-step into the darkness. Lorie loves with the intensity of a wartime romance, but she knows the score — she’s a convenience for this mission, and the guys won’t spare a thought for her once they move on. Jack grimly holds his affection at arm’s length; the woman a Huntsman loves is too likely to die screaming under him.

Under Jack’s intimate tutelage, Lorie becomes a perfect feeder — and the consummate bait. But when a beloved face becomes a monster’s face, will she have the grit to do what must be done?

Reading this story was like being thrown into the deep end without knowing how to swim. I just kept dogpaddling like mad, trying to keep my head above water and figure out what was going on. We jump straight into the action without knowing who is who and what’s going on. You don’t load the story down with the backstory at first but gradually (very gradually) reveal the world you’ve created. That makes it harder to follow initially but I like that this makes me pay attention. What I didn’t like was that at the end, I was still trying to make sense of parts of it. By the time I finish a book, even if it’s a new series, I want to feel that I understand the basic concepts and ideas behind it.

I like the use of period sounding dialogue and descriptions which give a really good feel for the setting of the book. There’s no way this could be mistaken for a contemporary. I like that Lorie doesn’t immediately jump right into the sexual situation and turn into an erotic pro after one boinking. In fact, Jack had to coax and put a little pressure on her. That pressure and fact that she is in bed with two brothers bothered me but at least Lorie voiced her misgivings that a menage was out of her current comfort range and knew that she did have a choice. I would like to ask, who sprayed Tommy with the rum Lorie licked off him?

I’ll end the letter with some spoilerish questions I’d like to ask you. What exactly are Hunstmen? And why don’t they have daughters? And what’s with Jack and Tommy’s uncle? And why do they adopt one daughter to each set of twin boys? And what happens if a Huntsman marries then crosses the line? And if the monsters have existed in the past, why would anyone need to prove they still exist? See, even though I enjoyed your writing and read the whole book almost in one sitting, I still have so many questions about this world. Too many, I think. B-

~Jayne, the confused

Another long time reader who read romance novels in her teens, then took a long break before started back again about 15 years ago. She enjoys historical romance/fiction best, likes contemporaries, action- adventure and mysteries, will read suspense if there's no TSTL characters and is currently reading very few paranormals.

14 Comments

  1. Teddy Pig
    May 03, 2007 @ 16:35:47

    I read this one too. I loved the atmosphere and the dialog and the FEEL of this story. Top shelf, really well thought out and you honestly could see this world.

    But… the plot was too damn hard to understand. At times I absolutely lost track of who was doing what to whom and why. That complexity never let up.

    The action was even hard to follow although I still enjoyed it.

    Then the explanation at the end was… how do I say this… it felt like the culmination of a simpler storyline. It just did not feel right.

    I will not review this type of book immediately I have to let it sit and then come back and see if the second time makes more sense or starts to flow better.

    Which means it is a hard book to get into but people who like a more complex challenge really might like this.

  2. Janine
    May 03, 2007 @ 16:39:08

    When you offered us an ebook copy of your WWII paranormal buttsecks novel, my blogmates unanimously elected me to read it. I'm still pondering what that might imply.

    It means we know you love World War II, Jayne! :-)

  3. Jayne
    May 03, 2007 @ 17:31:09

    But… the plot was too damn hard to understand. At times I absolutely lost track of who was doing what to whom and why. That complexity never let up.

    The action was even hard to follow although I still enjoyed it.

    Yes, Teddy, I had trouble with that too. Almost as if it had been edited too much and some pertinent information left out.

  4. TeddyPig
    May 03, 2007 @ 22:11:36

    That could be it! I can see where the editing may have cut out too much.

    This is more complex than the typical romance novel. I bet the author may have cried then. If that is the case all I can say is she is damn good I hope she keeps on doing this till she finds the right editor.

  5. Shannon
    May 04, 2007 @ 00:57:40

    Bwahahaha. I’m still giggling over the descriptor of the novel as a paranormal buttsex story. That said, despite the complexity of the plot, it actually does sound like something I’d read.

  6. Jayne
    May 04, 2007 @ 05:35:52

    Yeah, Janine. Right….ha, ha :)

  7. Jayne
    May 04, 2007 @ 05:37:50

    Well Shannon, she jumps right into the secks up the butt part of the story then the heroine licking one of the brothers all over secks part of the story then….

  8. Amber Green
    May 08, 2007 @ 20:58:21

    Thanks for taking the time to read LO!

    Before I get to your questions, I have to do the mea culpa bit: Don’t blame the editors. My editors wanted more explanation, but I resisted–I thought too much more would constitute talking down to the reader. Maybe the next huntsman story will sufficiently clarify the situation.

    Who sprayed Tommy with the rum Lorie licked off him?
    Because Tommy was wearing liquid rum after a period of sleep, it had to have been applied after his nightmare woke everyone up. Lorie didn’t apply it. Barring an Unseen Servant, either Jack or Tommy himself had to have applied it. You can check out the choreography to see who could/couldn’t do it, or you can just accept that Lorie doesn’t know for sure.

    What exactly are Hunstmen?
    Guys with the genetic predisposition to become Hydes.

    And what's with Jack and Tommy's uncle?
    The Guardian has the right and duty to defend his city from terrors of the night, particularly from Hydes. He has the right to call for help when he needs it, and he dispenses help when asked. He’s usually Old Money, and he’s pretty much lord of the manor, the capo if you prefer. After losing the last of his own sons, this Guardian selected Jack and Tommy to be his heirs, assuming they outlived him.

    And why don't they have daughters?
    Huntsmen are incapable of passing down a Y chromosome.

    And why do they adopt one daughter to each set of twin boys?
    A huntsman who wants a daughter must adopt one because no woman can produce a daughter without some male donating an X chromosome.
    Raising females in their culture enhances any familys’ ability to pass down that culture to the next generation. Also, raising females in this particular culture provides the males with a population of boffable females who don’t need so many explanations during the … courting process.
    Deciding how many girls to adopt is a balancing act. Girls raised in such families are prime candidates for marriage, but also for betrayal. Considering the high attrition rate among adolescent males, raising one girl for each two boys reduces the chance of a family producing “excess” females. Also, this story opens pretty soon after the end of the Depression. Adopting one daughter for every son born might result in more children than the parents can afford to raise.

    And what happens if a Huntsman marries then crosses the line?
    Whether he remembers her depends on how far he’s gone. If he avoids her until someone takes him out, he might not kill her. If he crosses the line during one of those screaming arguments where objects get throw into the wall, one of them is probably going to kill the other.

    And if the monsters have existed in the past, why would anyone need to prove they still exist?
    They’ve always been rare and secretive. Nobody who knows about them publicly admits they exist. (I’m still working out what’s happening in various parts of Europe.)

  9. Amber Green
    May 08, 2007 @ 21:00:04

    Crap–I meant they are incapable of passing down an X chromosome.

  10. Jayne
    May 09, 2007 @ 05:59:31

    Maybe the next huntsman story will sufficiently clarify the situation.

    When is the next book due?

    What exactly are Hunstmen?
    Guys with the genetic predisposition to become Hydes.

    So it’s a “know what you hunt” kind of thing?

    A huntsman who wants a daughter must adopt one because no woman can produce a daughter without some male donating an X chromosome.

    Deciding how many girls to adopt is a balancing act. Girls raised in such families are prime candidates for marriage, but also for betrayal. Considering the high attrition rate among adolescent males, raising one girl for each two boys reduces the chance of a family producing “excessâ€? females. Also, this story opens pretty soon after the end of the Depression. Adopting one daughter for every son born might result in more children than the parents can afford to raise.

    Okay, that makes sense. If you carry the series out a few generations, I wonder how modern adoption policies would affect this?

    They've always been rare and secretive. Nobody who knows about them publicly admits they exist. (I'm still working out what's happening in various parts of Europe.)

    Will WWII play into this any the way Lori Handeland used the monsters created by the Nazis in her “Nighthunter” series?

  11. Amber Green
    May 09, 2007 @ 20:47:51

    Next book isn’t developed enough to have a finish date.

    No–more a combination of “It’s our mess; it’s our duty to clean it up” combined with a realization that Huntsmen can’t afford to let the world know much about Hydes. Think of what anyone interested in breeding a super soldier would think of them. Think how quick that person would come hunting the children of Huntsmen.

    Modern legal adoption is a bureaucratic nightmare, but de facto adoption, with a signed agreement to allow the quasi-adoptive parent to make all medical (and other) decisions for the child and take all tax deductions related to the child, is done all the time and takes no more time than hunting up a notary public.

    What I am really going crazy trying to figure out is the result of all those studly young Huntsmen reaching sexual maturity in the heyday of the Zipless Fuch. How many young women are raising young twins with bad tempers and no idea who their fathers are? How many of those boys got adopted themselves? How many are in the military, in the penal system, in mental hospitals? How many have been discovered by the government or by privately funded geneticists? The questions are endless.

    The genetic experimentation and social engineering going on in Germany and other countries has to play a role in the lives of Huntsmen in those areas. I am still working out all the permutations.

    I am remiss, by the way, in not mentioning before now how much I appreciate your letting me preach in your pulpit like this. Thank you.

  12. Jayne
    May 10, 2007 @ 09:20:45

    It sounds like you’re well on your way to figuring this world out and that the possiblities are intriguing.

  13. DebiM
    May 11, 2007 @ 20:12:59

    I liked this book, but had the same misgivings about the length. I felt it could have been expanded to include more backstory. The imagery of tha WW2 backdrop was impeccably done, Amber Green is a master at research and the flavor of that era wove through the story with no breaks in the realism. I await the sequel with bated breath. I can’t wait to see how Amber Green conquers Europe.

  14. REVIEW: The Huntsmen 2: Bareback by Amber Green | Dear Author: Romance Book Reviews, Author Interviews, and Commentary
    Mar 07, 2008 @ 12:01:06

    […] read and enjoyed the first novel in this Hunstmen world last year. And despite being for the most part paranormaled out, when you mentioned that there […]

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