Samhain Publishing, $4.50, ISBN 1-60504-136-X
Fantasy Romance, 2008
Lux in Shadow is the second entry into RG Alexander’s Children of the Goddess series and you may want to read the previous book Regina in the Sun before you read this one. The plot of this story takes off from that of the last story. Do take note that this is a ménage à trois story, though. Some folks prefer not to make an effort trying to keep track of which slot is being inserted into which tab, and if you are one of those folks, you may want to proceed with caution.
Lux Sariel, our hero, is a Trueblood vampire. Being “Trueblood” means that he was born a vampire rather than being made into one. If you have read Regina in the Sun, you may recall that Lux is the brother of the hero of that book, Zander. You may also remember that in Ms Alexander’s setting, our gang of vampires, both Trueblood and Unborn, are at war with a bunch of Weres. Lux, in particular, is all angst-ridden over the fact that he feels guilty over the death of Joel, his sex toy until Joel became dog food to these Weres. He has lots of woe over the fact that he didn’t love Joel enough to work himself up into a grief-stricken frenzy over the man’s death. Who do I get this feeling that Lux’s state of emo is actually more about him than poor dead Joel?
Meanwhile, Lux has teamed up with Arygon “No, I Don’t Do Hobbits – That’s the Other Guy” Dydarren, the Alpha of his Clan, to track down the sister of Grey Wolf, the mean Were who bit the big one in the last story. Arygon makes no secret of his lust for Lux and when he encounters Sylvain, he makes no secret of his lust for her as well. Lux is this close to writing angst-ridden poetry in his blog about the state of his erection for Arygon and now he may have to work on a sequel because he’s also getting a chubby for that woman. As for Sylvain, you know how it is with heroines of her kind. Of course she has Great Powers that are hidden until now. Bring on the whole mate-mate-mate soap opera and we’re all set to go.
On one hand, I appreciate the effort Ms Alexander is making to ensure that there is a coherent story line developing in the two books in the series so far, mostly dealing with the reconciliation of fangs with fur. The reason Lux and Arygon is looking for Sylvain is part of the story line, which is why I suggested earlier that readers new to the series should read the previous story first before tackling this one.
There are some character inconsistencies, such as Lux stating that he couldn’t mate with the enemy after his brother had turned his back on tradition and taken an Unborn as a mate in the previous story, only to state a few chapters later that he isn’t proud of his people’s xenophobia. But what really frustrates me here is that the characters aren’t allowed room to become better-drawn just as the plot is often constrained to paragraphs of exposition. Ms Alexander instead tries harder in making her characters all naked and doing the ugly as often as possible.
Hey, if these characters are happy making whoopee non-stop, I can only give them the two thumbs up. However, I find the story line and the setting interesting enough to feel frustrated instead when the author sacrifices the story and the characters for sex scenes. The balance between story and the need to titillate the readers is off in Lux in Shadow. There is a story here, but the end execution doesn’t do the story any justice. This one ends up dangerously close to being a series of sex scenes held together by a very flimsy plot.