Awaiting The Night
by Donna Lea Simpson, historical/paranormal (2006)
Berkley, $6.99, ISBN 0-425-21285-8

I randomly picked Awaiting The Night out of a few of Donna Lea Simpson's books that I have in my pile of unread books, which is a mistake on my part because this book cannot stand alone. I strongly suggest that you read Awaiting The Moon first because Awaiting The Night kicks off with so many characters, all with pre-existing relationships with each other, that I personally find myself totally lost. Every guy seems to be a Count, interchangeably broody emo ones at that, while every woman seems sweet and lovely and genetically programmed to believe the best of those broody men, no matter whether these men have or haven't earned that trust.

Let me try to summarize the story. As I've said, I wander through this story feeling lost most of the time, so I won't be surprised to know that I have made a mistake here and there. We have Counts Kazimir Dimitre Vasilov and Gavril Sevastjan Roschkov in a race to beat each other in retrieving an ancient treasure that will hopefully bestow upon these men some much-needed sense of humor. How do I know when these men are mad? They will cry something like "Damn you to hell!" before shouting out their opponent's full name. In this book, when these posturing blowhard men call out your full name, be prepared to experience the full emo head trip because these men really mean business then.

Our heroine is Melisande Davidovich who is living with the family of some Count or another after the murder of her family in a tragedy known as Read That Book Yourself Because I Sure Haven't. Meli is, of course, loving, devoted, eager to get impregnated by the seeds of love of an emo dude. When Kazimir shows up in her life, she's finally going to get her wish and a boyfriend who howls at the full moon. How sexy is that?

This is one story where traditional gender stereotypes in the genre are out in full force. Meli doesn't really do anything much other than to trot after the hero, not really adding much to the story apart from being Kazimir's ego prop. She's not the smartest woman around, being that she comes to an obvious conclusion very late in the story and she also pulls off a ridiculous stunt late in the story to allow the obligatory climatic drama to happen. As for the hero, he's just one of the many men in this story who love posturing and holding secrets so much because they believe that such brooding antics go well with their billowing cloaks and Fabio-like hair.

Awaiting The Night is a dreadful chore to read in its first half or so because of the overwhelming presence of a huge cast of characters, all with established relationships and interchangeable personalities ("brooding current and future heroes" and "sweet and loving current and future heroines"), that is very hard for someone new to the series to follow. When the story finally sheds most of the product placement characters, the story turns into a familiar drama of a heroine with more enthusiasm than brainpower loving a man who is an unfortunate stereotype of the sad sack emo hero who takes himself way too seriously. Chalk this one up as "too much work for too little satisfying payoff".

Rating: 48

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