Samhain Publishing, $5.50, ISBN 1-59998-952-2
Fantasy Romance, 2008
Midnight Reborn is D McEntire’s first book and also the first book in a planned series called The Watchers. The best way to describe this book is that it is a Hallmark melodrama of the week with vampires.
Robyn Andrews first showed up in this book as a precocious fourteen-year old who watched as her mother slowly became a drug addict under the not-so-loving care of the woman’s boyfriend Jake. Eventually her mother died of an overdose and Jake held Robyn captive in the basement, often making unpleasant sexual advances towards Robyn.
Eventually Robyn manages to escape by chapter one. She is the kind of waif that is saintly and plucky, yet at the same time manages to be always in trouble so that everyone can come to her rescue. Heaven knows, our hero Trigg only has to take one look at her as she happens to stop at the diner where he happens to be sitting and brooding, and he’s struck by how scared and desperate she looks. Trigg is a Watcher whose job is to eliminate Rogues who, you know, bite humans and all. We can’t have that, can we?
What follows is a Hallmark drama of a Very Special Little Match Girl who happens to fall in with a gang of clichéd spook-busting enforcers who can’t even find a name that hasn’t already been done to death in a billion vampire stories out there. If you cannot stand very sweet, very saintly, and yet always helpless heroines, I have a feeling that you are going to want to press a pillow over Robyn’s face and sit on it until she stops moving before you reach page 100. She embodies every cringe-inducing cliché that is the Poor Little Match Girl that everyone who is good and nice falls over trying to help. On the other end of the spectrum, Trigg embodies the cliché you can think of associated with a character who is a Watcher. Watcher, Enforcer, Guardian, Warden, whatever – he’s just like the rest of them. The bad guys are predictably so evil that they may as well come with twirling mustaches and Ming the Conqueror costumes. Nothing is subtle here – everything is exaggerated in some way.
I find Midnight Reborn quite hilarious in the sense that this is probably what will result when Catherine Anderson jumps onto the paranormal bandwagon. Half the time I don’t know whether to laugh or to cringe at some of the melodramatic excesses in this story. Since this is the author’s first book, I suppose some missteps are to be expected, so I’ll still keep one glove on this time around and let this one off lightly. It does manage to amuse me in a way, after all.