Saturday, November 8, 2008

Review: Any Given Doomsday

I often feel lucky that I've been blessed with broad reading interests. I'll read a little bit of pretty much anything: fiction, non-fiction, you name it. That does not, however, mean that I enjoy everything I read, and unfortunately today's book just didn't do it for me. I had much higher hopes for this book than what were met. I enjoy the odd paranormal thriller, mystery, etc., but this book simply did not deliver. The premise of this book is that Elizabeth Phoenix discovers upon the death of her foster mother that she is now responsible for leading the worldwide fight against evils of all sorts. Vampires, demons, berserkers, they're all here. Theoretically, these might be the elements of a good story, but those elements are never actually drawn together into a good story. There's very little plot, and almost no character development. We know little about Elizabeth except that she was abused and abandoned in her past, and there's no discussion of how this has shaped her thoughts and her life. All we really hear from Elizabeth is her distaste for the new responsibilities that have suddenly landed on her shoulders. The lack of character development is magnified by the fact that the book is narrated in the first person, but there's absolutely nothing to the character who is the narrator. And then we have the content issues. This book is replete with gratuitous sex scenes that read more like a bodice-ripping romance novel than anything else. The descriptions of the sex scenes go on for pages. I'm just not interested in all that pulsing and throbbing. If I was, I'd read a romance novel. It's not just the fact that the book is full of sex, though. If that was the only problem, a reader could easily skim the sex scenes. The problem for me is that the book is full of sexual violence. I'm not really sure what gratuitous sexual violence is meant to accomplish. And the violence really is gratuitous. Sexual violence can have its place in writing if it works to tell a story or contribute to a larger theme. But when its just there, for no reason, it really serves only to be disturbing. Ultimately, I see little value in this heroine. She's described as kick-butt and no-nonsense, but she's presented as a victim who is only capable of giving in to her sexual urges, and can only accomplish her goals if she sleeps with a variety of men she'd rather avoid. I'm thankful to Librarything's Early Reviewers program for awarding me this book, but I'm sorry I didn't enjoy it more.

Lori Handeland, Any Given Doomsday (St. Martins, 2008) ISBN: 0679732241

1 comment:

Wanda said...

This doesn't sound like a book I'd normally read anyway but I very much appreciated your honest review! I now know NOT to pick this up as an alternative reading selection for my niece, who, is very into the whole Twilight vampire scene.