December 10, 2018

B.C. Johnson: "Daphne" (ARC Review)

Title: Daphne [on Amazon | on Goodreads]
Series: Deadgirl (Book 2.5 of 4)
Author: B.C. Johnson [Site | Goodreads]
Genres: Supernatural, Urban Fantasy, Contemporary
Year: 2018
Age: 14+
Stars: 5/5
Pros: Strong, unique twist on classic mythology. Compelling writing.
Cons: Fast romance. It's not always easy to get one's bearings at the beginning of a chapter.
WARNING! Blood, gore and monsters.
Will appeal to: Those who wanted more of Daphne. Those who like unusual creatures. Those who like their human (but resilient) side even more.

Blurb: Daphne is one of the Keres, an ancient line of women from Greek myth. Part Fate, part battlefield Valkyrie, she can sense violence and death wherever she goes. After Daphne transforms into a monster and is taken away by her family at the end of "Deadgirl: Ghostlight," she finds herself on a journey of fear, flight, and self-discovery. Hounded by monster hunters and her own inner demons, Daphne must find a way to cope with who and what she is, or lose her mind and soul forever to the Beast within. Who's more dangerous: the hunters, or the monster? (Amazon excerpt)

Review:  First off...DISCLAIMER: I received this novella from the author in exchange for an honest review. And the author being B.C. Johnson, you all know I've been campaigning for his first Deadgirl book with all my might since 2012, when the original version came out. Also, B.C. Johnson and me have stayed in touch, if sporadically, for the whole time. I'm not what you would call a friend of his though, only a fan of his work. And an unbiased one. As usual, this review is the love child of my penchant for quirky, uniquely worded books and B.C. Johnson's ability to deliver them.

DOUBLE FACE

For a character whom we didn't see much of in the Deadgirl series (except in Book 2), Daphne sure is a pivotal one - and, Lucy aside, the most unique of the bunch. The blurb mentions her being "part Fate, part battlefield Valkyrie", but she also calls herself a Harpy at some point. Either way, she's a welcome detour from your usual supernatural creatures. But more than anything, it's her monster/human duality that fascinates the reader. A literal duality in this case, with the two entities (for lack of a better word) fighting for control. Like Lucy in Deadgirl: Ghostlight, Daphne will have an epiphany about herself that is, hands down, the best part of the story - heartbreaking and epic at the same time. Johnson is never afraid to have his characters suffer, yet fight (and sometimes win, if at a high cost) even in the face of despair, and each and every time, what comes out of it is a work of art, and of - sometimes funny, often tragic, always epic - beauty. [...]

LOVE IN THE TIME OF MONSTERS

For the first time, and even in the middle of the human problems and supernatural horrors Daphne has to face (and, let's be honest, bring upon others), romance takes a front seat in a B.C. Johnson story. I have to admit, it comes a bit fast (especially since the other girl just experienced a rough break-up), but given the overall situation, it's not the oddest happening in the story. Also, it has ALL to do with the way the story itself unfolds. The love interest is a Chinese-American girl, too, which makes things all but more interesting. You know I'm not the biggest fan of romantic plots or (sort-of) instaloves, but this one was done tastefully, and managed to have both women shine (so to speak), though of course in quite different ways.

IT GETS BETTER

If I had to nit-pick this novella, I would say that it took me a couple of reads in order to fully appreciate it. Mind you, in NO way did I feel obligated to give this story 5 stars just because. It's just that I sometimes need more...intimacy with a text to find it fully palatable. I always read my books twice before I review them, and more often than not it ends with higher ratings. Some books - like this one - need a little more time and concentration for one to get one's bearings, or to see the bigger picture. Then again, while at the beginning of a few chapter I wasn't always sure what role a certain character was playing - or even WHO they were - at the same time I was thankful for not having all their whereabouts (so to speak) openly displayed from the start. That's the fun of reading, for me at least. Mind you, I'm not saying this is a difficult book to get into - only that it isn't too obvious. Anyway, nothing that a second read won't fix 😉. Finally, what I AM saying instead is...this series is so different, and at the same time so potentially in tune with many readers, who probably aren't reading it just because they're wary of giving underhyped books a chance. What I AM also saying is...when a big publisher has your back, it's easy to go places. But it doesn't necessarily mean you're more worth it. Please give this series a chance. It will repay 😉.

Note No.1: Daphne is chronologically Book 2.5 in the Deadgirl saga, but it's probably best read after Book 3 (Deadgirl: Goneward), not only because it's been published AFTER that one, but first and foremost because it would spoil a plot point in Book 3 otherwise.

Note No.2: the Deadgirl series is stored in my Afterlife Room for obvious reasons, what with Lucy being a phantom. Daphne doesn't have anything to do with the Afterlife tag, but of course I had to put it in the same Reading Room as the series it belongs to.

For my "Deadgirl" review (first installment in the series) click here.
For my "Deadgirl: Ghostlight" review (second installment in the series) click here.
For my "Deadgirl: Goneward" review (third installment in the series) click here.
For my interviews with B.C. Johnson click here and here.
For more Afterlife books click here.

4 comments:

  1. I didn't know even know about this book, so thanks for bringing it to my attention! I have to be honest though, I'm not often a fan of extra novellas in a series about side characters. Would you say this is necessary to the series? I do think it's cool that Daphne is getting some focus though since she seems like an interesting character, so maybe I will give it a try.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The novella is not integral to the story, but it ties in with the ending of Deadgirl: Goneward, and since I'm sure that Daphne will be a major player again in Book 4 (not that I know, but I do think so), this story shines some light on her and helps us understand her more. Also...it's short, and it's cheap 😉.

      Delete
  2. And it's on KU! lol

    I've had the first book on my Kindle for years - I even started it once but you know how it goes...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you'll be in the mood for it one day LOL.

      Delete

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