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REVIEW: The Dark Glamour by Gabriella Pierce

Dear Ms. Pierce,

I read your first novel, 666 Park Avenue, earlier this year. In it, readers were introduced to architect Jane Boyle who gets swept up in a whirlwind romance with the man of her dreams, only to discover that not only does she come from a long line of witches, she just married into another family of witches that covets her power. The Dark Glamour picks up where the previous novel left off, with Jane on the run from the Doran family.

The Dark Glamour by Gabriella Pierce Forced to go into hiding, Jane doesn’t have many options. Lynne Doran is a powerful woman, both magically and socially. There’s nowhere in the world that Jane can escape from Lynne’s connections even with her estranged husband’s advanced planning. So instead she tries to outwit her mother-in-law and remain in New York City. Whether this is actually a smart choice considering the circumstances, I leave up to the reader. With this series, you have to accept Jane’s haphazard way of thinking.

That said, she does learn a couple things by staying in NYC. First, Jane discovers that a pair of siblings from another witch bloodline are in “business” negotiations with the Doran family. More importantly, however, she learns that Lynne’s daughter, formerly presumed dead, is still alive. As a result, Jane goes on a globetrotting trip to find Lynne’s daughter and deliver her back to her mother. After all, the only reason Lynne wanted Jane to marry her son was so that she could give birth to a daughter to continue the Doran bloodline. If Jane can find Lynne’s daughter, then she can have her life back. Maybe not the most altruistic motivation, but I never said Jane was a nice person.

There are times when I really question Jane’s judgement. It’s not just the part where she chose to stay in NYC, with her face plastered all over TV and knowing that Lynne could stumble across her at any moment. It’s the part where she sleeps with the brother of the sibling pair negotiating with the Doran family. I realize part of it is that magic attracts magic — sort of a way to keep the bloodlines strong — but she wasn’t ripping the clothes off Harris in the previous book despite the existence of that magical attraction. And I’d think after the whirlwind romance with estranged husband Malcolm, she would have known what was going on. That she didn’t realize the reason behind her attraction to this stranger requires a heavy amount of disbelief, especially when combined with the mystery woman stalking Jane all over NYC. Of course, I freely admit I have a hard time understanding characters with raging libidos despite being on the run for their lives. In my opinion, there are more important things on which to focus your time.

I thought the clues regarding the big revelation at the end were a bit too obvious. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I prefer discovering those revelations with the characters. Figuring things out ahead of the characters tends to ruin things for me because I then start questioning the characters’ competence and lack of insight. On the other hand, I know other readers like that sort of thing (figuring something out and then watching how the characters reach the same discovery) so your mileage may vary. Or maybe it’s not as obvious as I think, and I just made a lucky guess.

That said, I did like the big twist of that revelation. It builds upon the story told in 666 Park Avenue and complicates the history of the different witch bloodlines. It wasn’t without its flaws, however. I thought the events bridging Jane’s finding Lynne’s daughter to the climax were rushed. I liked the character of Lynne’s daughter so I wished we could have seen more of her reactions towards discovering she’s the long-lost daughter of a wealthy family and how she copes with that change of fortune.

Like its predecessor, The Dark Glamour takes longer than it should to get moving (and once again, the cover copy reveals far too much information) but when it does reach the point of no return, it’s a steamroller. The main highlight of this book for me was that it portrayed how you could do something considered a good deed (even if it was for selfish reasons) but things can still go wrong. The climax of this book came about because Jane found Lynne’s daughter but didn’t realize the true reason why her mother-in-law was so desperate to find a female heir.

Overall, this novel is an easy read, good for lazy afternoons. It’s not particularly deep but sometimes that’s the kind of book I’m looking for. While I could have done without all the lusting over men who are a danger to her and would have liked to have seen her interact with more female friends (because she does have them!) outside of plot necessity, the ending twist made the book for me. But I can only hope that this series is finite and doesn’t intend to drag this plotline out. The ending was a bit of a cliffhanger. C

My regards,
Jia

Previous book in this series: 666 Park Avenue (review)

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Jia is an avid reader who loves fantasy and young adult novels. She's also currently dipping her toes in the new adult genre but remains unconvinced by the prevalent need for traumatic pasts. Her favorite authors are Michelle West and Jacqueline Carey. YA authors whose works she's enjoyed include Holly Black, Laini Taylor, Ally Carter, and Megan Miranda. Jia's on a neverending quest for novels with diverse casts and multicultural settings. Feel free to email her with recommendations at [email protected]!

7 Comments

  1. Matt
    Sep 15, 2011 @ 20:11:42

    Being somewhat new to this site, I’m wondering how you arrive at your grades. I clicked on the 666 link, read that review before this, and noticed that the first book got a slightly higher grade despite being similar to the second (nearly identical).

    So…is the grading done by feel? Maybe the first book got a boost in score because it had potential and the second one was knocked because it didn’t measure up (more of the same)?

    Or is the grading more formulaic: plot + pace + characters + voice + originality = A, less one of those elements equals B, minus three elements equals C, etc.?

    ReplyReply

  2. Jia
    Sep 15, 2011 @ 20:33:09

    @Matt: It took a while for me to find because stuff has been moved around but our basic grading scale can be found on this page: http://dearauthor.com/for-readers/ You might have to scroll down a bit before you see the breakdown.

    That’s in general. As for the specifics — I can only speak for myself because grading can be really subjective and dependent on mood, etc. The A, D, and F grades are the easiest to hand out. D and F grades are generally given to books that tick me off in a major way. A grades I don’t give out often but those are books I love and adore.

    The B and C’s though… Those tend to be based on some complicated mental matrix balancing out the plot, characters and execution.

    That’s just me though. The other reviewers might approach things differently.

    ReplyReply

  3. Matt
    Sep 15, 2011 @ 21:06:58

    @Jia: Ah, I was looking for a FAQ but couldn’t find it. Thanks for clearing things up!

    ReplyReply

  4. Jane
    Sep 15, 2011 @ 21:43:34

    @Jia B and Cs are very very tough grades. For me and Robin (she reviews as Janet here Matt) we view B-/C+ as nearly indistinguishable grades but what pushes it up to a B range is that there is some flare that a C book does not have even if the prose, pacing, in both are competent. It’s very subjective, obviously.

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  5. Jane
    Sep 15, 2011 @ 21:51:43

    @Matt Here’s a couple of reviewing posts we have written.

    What’s Wrong with the C Review – comments more interesting than my post

    Good Reading Recipe – again, the comments are good but Robin aka Janet’s idea of how we are measuring books.

    ReplyReply

  6. Matt
    Sep 16, 2011 @ 18:47:04

    @Jane: Wow. I wasn’t prepared to fall into a TV tropes-like rabbit hole of links and comment trails. The DAM/Amazon post deserves an internet Emmy. I didn’t know about any of that.

    It was fun learning about the history of DA and the thought that goes into reviewer grades.

    Have you thought about expanding? Maybe DA fantasy, DA historical, DA mystery, DA lit, etc.? I enjoy the format here and would love to see it applied to books in other genres (beyond just the occasional review) — I can’t be the only one.

    ReplyReply

  7. Jane
    Sep 16, 2011 @ 18:53:44

    @Matt We’ve hosted our share of, um, contretemps. As for expanding, it’s a fun idea, but I don’t know enough readers in those other areas of fiction! I definitely think that more bloggers = a good thing for readers.

    ReplyReply

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