I was given this book for free in order to receive a fair and honest review. My receiving the book for free in no way affects my review.
TITLE: Club Revenge
AUTHOR: J.M. Dabney
GENRE: Dark Erotica, Paranormal Horror
TAG LINE: “They inflicted pain without mercy to those who deserved the punishment.”
RATING: 2 Stars
SUMMARY: Amora Medina-Jackyl and her son, Ripper, know one thing well—vengeance. They inflicted pain without mercy to those who deserved the punishment. Although, they lived by one motto, family is to be protected above all else. When a child, an ancient cult murdered Amora’s parents and siblings. They never knew the Hell they brought down on themselves that one brutal night.
Amora was many things in her four centuries. A daughter and a sister, a mother, yet she was best known as a killer. When she meets her end, Amora will have hundreds, maybe thousands of lives to answer for. Her only wish is to find one moment of peace. She denies her need as much as she fights to protect it. When the one woman who can bring her serenity comes into her life, can Amora destroy century old walls to let her in?
Ripper has watched his mother fight savagely for others. He learned lessons in revenge from the moment of his birth; Ripper was his mother’s son. Yet he has a curse hanging over his head. A prophesy that wouldn’t be denied. He wants some semblance of normal. When he can’t deny his need for the one woman he’s kept his distance from would his love cause pain or pleasure?
When some truths come to light, the very reality of the family changes. Can they know something other than the taste of revenge and loss?
This story was interesting. It’s a unique blend of family legacy, (light) horror, and erotica, creating a genre-bending novel that tells the story of mother and son. J.M. Dabney does have raw talent. She could set a mood well, and when the action scenes took place, the words leapt off the pages.
The reason I gave the story a two star review was because in the end, despite edge of your seat action scenes, I found the writing too confusing at parts, a lack of depth and direction to the actual plot, and the main characters annoying. I didn’t really support them in their endeavors, nor did I care if they lived or died.
While J.M. Dabney can construct a fight scene that will have you biting your nails, she also has a tendency to lose herself in the words. If you blink, you may actually miss a pivotal moment in the story. Any eye drifting (which will happen, because there are parts that drag), will mean you’ll miss an abrupt but important scene. These whiplash moments, blended with bouts of sluggish, unimportant dialogue or actions, makes it hard to focus on the story.
Club Revenge is marketed as dark erotica, but it isn’t until you’re about fifty or more pages in before you actually get a sex scene. In fact, Amora doesn’t meet her mate until several chapters into the story. This also added to confusion. I think a lot of the story could have been cut or trimmed, in order to make it a tighter and fuller story.
Description wise J.M Dabney edged that fine line of floral language and not enough detail. There were moments where the descriptions were abundant, but other times where I wanted a little more. I wanted to smell New Orleans. I wanted to feel the chill in the air as Amora prepared for a kill. A mood was never set, and it detracted from the ambiance of the tale.
There were several characters in the story. The side characters sparked my interest, but as for Amora and Ripper (don’t even get me started on his name), I wasn’t a fan. First off, we don’t learn about Ripper until a good portion of the way through Amora’s story. Instead of introducing him briefly in the beginning, he isn’t mentioned at all. If you didn’t read the blurb, you wouldn’t even know this was a family sage story.
Personality wise, Amora was an asshole with a capital A. She had a harsh and difficult life, I understand. She had some redeeming qualities, like wanting to protect women, but for the most part, Amora was a character who I couldn’t get behind. She also growled a lot. And I mean a lot. Every time you turned around, she was growling about something. I wasn’t sure if she was a dog or a vampire. It was really annoying.
Ripper wasn’t much better. He had more a charming personality than his mother, but he seemed to make really rash decisions and I didn’t quite understand his problems. His arc was harder to follow, and by that point I wasn’t really invested in the story.
I think with a bit more editing and character development the story could shape up to be good. But because of an unclear plot and really annoying characters, I have to give this one only two stars.