Book Review: Yasmine Galenorn’s Courting Darkness

Posted November 29, 2012 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Yasmine Galenorn’s Courting Darkness

Courting Darkness


Yasmine Galenorn

urban fantasy that was published by Jove on November 1, 2011 and has 286 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Hexed, Witchling, Changeling, Never After, Darkling, Demon Mistress, Dragon Wytch, Bone Magic, Night Huntress, Harvest Hunting, Blood Wyne, Shaded Vision, Shadow Rising, Haunted Moon, Night Myst, Night Veil, Night Seeker, Autumn Whispers, Night Vision, Night’s End, Priestess Dreaming, Panther Prowling, "Flight From Hell", Flight From Death, Souljacker

Tenth in the Otherworld / Sisters of the Moon urban fantasy.

Galenorn rotates the telling of the stories from sister to sister. In this one, it’s Camille’s point of view and is a short blip of tidying up.

My Take

I’m being generous in giving this a “3”. The story is good; the execution is bad. I don’t know if Galenorn got distracted, was in a bad mood, or something was going bad in her life, but chunks of this read like her first couple of books. Just bad.

I did enjoy Camille turning the demon into a poodle. With an ornate cut. I did NOT enjoy Camille being such a wuss. Gimme a break. This just felt out of character to me. Yes, she is in a really bad spot. But this is not her first time at the rodeo. The first threat Hyto makes and she breaks. WTF?? I could see Delilah break and transform into her kitty cat self, but not Camille. The strength of the family who has held everyone and everything together all their lives. She broke faster than a fine crystal glass dropped from a 20-story building. She took forever before she made a stab at defiance. Gag.

All the writing Galenorn did on this aspect was terrible. Didn’t she remember the “supposed” strength of Camille’s character? Galenorn keeps doing this too. Several times Delilah’s character has veered from the baseline. So Hyto threatens her family. Is this a surprise?? Does she really think that kowtowing will keep him from killing them anyway? Then there’s her self-encounter. With herself. How high school can ya get?

My eyes got really tired reading through just about the whole of Camille’s imprisonment. They kept rolling and rolling and…rolling. I was tempted to just skip ahead to save on the wear and tear.

I did like the Moon Mother’s interventions. No real help in a physical sense, but definitely a morale booster. And very much in line with the typical god/goddess-type of help.

Oh…gimme another break. Hyto’s threatened to kill the family and burn down the house. So, they move Camille and her husbands to Smoky’s barrow, leaving everyone else in the house. Uh-huh, that makes sense. Another WTF moment brought to us by Yasmine Galenorn. It takes awhile before they figure out that, duh, they should bring the rest of the family to safety. Which happens in dribs and drabs.

Then there’s her “determination to fight through the pain”. I’d’a believed this before her pathetic performance in Hyto’s dreyerie.

One of the positives: we get an inkling on just how it is that Smoky stays so clean all the time! Smokey also provides us with a bit of his family background and how he became the oldest child…and a ninth son of a ninth son.

G-r-r-reat…they finish off the cannon fodder but leave Camille vulnerable. I almost wanted her to get finished off…you know, that whole genetic selection thing.

The Story

Everything is going wrong. Hyto’s been sighted in Seattle. The Bog Eater might be loose. Chase has been kidnapped. And, somehow, Trillian figured out what happened between Camille and Vanzir. And he’s insisting that Camille spill to Morio and Smoky. Eek!

The Characters

There are three D’Artigo sisters: Camille, Delilah, and Mennolly. They are half-fae and half-human with a lot of individual differences. They live together with their significant otherseseses (you’ll find out!) and other friends and allies in an old Victorian in Seattle.

Camille is the oldest and she’s also a Moon Maiden, a priestess to the Moon Mother. She’s married to three, well, men: Trillian is a dark Charming fae, a Svartan, who works as a mercenary; Morio Kuroyama is a Youkai-kitsune (Japanese fox demon), Grandmother Coyote’s grandson, and he works death magic with Camille (poor baby is still recovering from events in Blood Wyne); and, Smoky, a.k.a., Lord Iampaatar, is a half-silver, half-white dragon shifter — and a ninth son of a ninth son — with one mean-ass father. She owns the Indigo Crescent bookstore which is run by Giselle, a demon gift from Vanzir. Dierdre is a coyote shifter Camille hired to run the new restaurant attached to the bookstore which the inheritance from Henry Jeffries enabled.

Delilah is the middle sister who also shifts into a housecat and a panther. One of their adventures caused the Autumn Lord, an Elemental, to take an interest in her and now she is also a Death Maiden. The only living one. She’s hooked up with Shade, a half-shadow dragon, half-Stradolan (lets him use the shadows), who will stand in for the Autumn Lord. She has a dead twin, Arial, who watches over her from an astral plane and turns into a ghostly leopard.

Mennolly, the youngest, was an acrobat before she was caught and turned into a vampire. Now she runs the Wayfarer Bar & Grill, a bar and inn for supes. She’s promised to Nerissa Shale, a werepuma with the Rainier Puma Pride (she’s working as a counselor for FH-CSI now) and seeing a lot of Roman, an extremely powerful vampire who is Blood Wyne’s son who wants her for his consort. And has hinted he’d be interested in the same arrangement as Camille has with her men. Derrick Means is a Werebadger who now works as a bartender at the Wayfarer.

Sephreh ob Tanu is the girls’ father and he’s being a jerk, putting Court over family. Shamas ob Olanda is full Fae and the girls’ cousin. He works Earthside for Chase. Rythwar is the girls’ aunt and Sephreh’s sister. She fully supports the girls and thinks her brother is a fool. Yeah, auntie!!

Lady Iris Kuusi, a Finnish house sprite and Priestess of Undutar as well as the girls’ housekeeper, is now free and able to marry Bruce O’Shea (see Hexed: “Ice Shards”), a leprechaun, if he still wants her. Maggie is their baby calico gargoyle.

Detective Chase Johnson heads up the Faerie-Human Crime Scene Investigation (FH-CSI). Events in Bone Magic gave the girls the choice of letting him die or giving him the Nectar of Life. It’s…not been a fun ride for him. He’s now seeing Sharah, Queen Asteria’s niece, and an elfin medic with FB-CSI. Yugi is Chase’s second-in-command.

Other allies and friends who live at the house include:
Rozurial, a mercenary and incubus as well as one of Mennolly’s lovers. Vanzir is a dream-chaser demon who sucks up the life energy of others. After events in Blood Wyne, he’s no longer bound to the girls.

The Court of the Three Queens (the girls call them the Triple Threat) is that of the three Earthside Fae queens: Titania is the Queen of Light and Morning of the Seelie; Morgaine is a half-Fae Queen of Dusk and Twilight; and, Aeval is the Queen of Shadow and Night of the Unseelie. Camille is expected to pledge to Aeval’s court. An act for which her father will disown her.

Hyto is a white dragon, a ninth son of a ninth son, and Smoky’s father. He’s now divorced from Smoky’s mother, Vishana, and banished from the Dragon Reaches and he blames it all on Camille. Yeah, yeah, yeah, cry me a river.
He’s teamed up with Asheré, a “snow monkey”, a monk who has gone rogue from the Northlands. Hanna is a Northman held captive by Hyto and forced to help him. Kjell is the son Hyto uses to keep Hanna in line.

Carter is a leader of the Demonica Vacana Society; he’s half-demon and half-Titan through his father Hyperion. Howl is the Elemental Wolf Lord of the snow (see Hexed: “Ice Shards”), a Great Winter Wolf Spirit; Kitää is his wife and the Mother of the Katabas Wolf People. Grandmother Coyote is one of the Hags of Fate, who helps the worlds retain balance. Trytian is a demon who can’t make up his mind which side he will support. All the girls know is that he doesn’t want Shadow Wing either. Herne the Hunter makes an appearance and holds back his son, Tra. Yannie Fin Diver is a greedy Finfolk and one of the Elder Fae. Not a good enemy to have. St. George, a.k.a., Georgio, and Estelle Dugan make an appearance as well.

Elaqneve is the Elfin lands in Otherworld (OW), which is a human generic reference for another dimension where many of the elves, gods, Elemental Lords, etc. all live. Access to OW is through portals. The Sidhe and Fae themselves call it Y’Eírialiastar. Y’Elestrial is the city-state in OW where the girls were raised and which is ruled over by Queen Tanaquar. The Ionyc Seas are a current of energy by which some of the supernaturals can travel. Talamh Lonrach Oll, the Land of Brilliant Apples, is what the Triple Threat are calling the land they bought in the foothills of the Cascade Mountain Range. The U.S. government recognizes it as a sovereign nation provided they hold up their end of the deal.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a soft lavender sky with huge snowflakes softly drifting, the all-white Smoky posing in the background and a demure-looking Camille gazing out at us in her black rubber camisole and silver under-bust corset, her long black hair drifting with the snow. A very romantic looking cover. What a misnomer, that is!

The title sounds better than it is as it’s not so much Courting Darkness as surviving it.