Dark Descendant by Jenna Black
Oh My Gods. Don’t let the title fool you into thinking this is another series about demons, witches, or vamps. The name doesn’t do the premise justice. Dark Descendant is an excitingly gritty mix of mythos and urban fantasy.
Nikki Glass is a bloodhound in the P.I. business, but her current client is hoping to give her more than a commission. After an accident and near death experience involving her, and her latest employer, strange things start happening. She starts seeing iridescent tattoos on certain people, including herself. Her aim is dead on 100% of the time, and two rival tattooed factions are vying for her time and allegiance. Turns out Nikki is a mortal descendant of Artemis, goddess of the hunt. Descendants like Nikki are rare and can become immortal, one of the Liberi. But there’s a catch. One that Nikki may never forgive herself for.
Jenna Black puts a new spin on Heroes. Creating a refreshingly new series out of an eclectic array of mythology. I always love that first book in a series where everything is being developed, the world building, story threads, histories, and players. Black doesn’t disappoint. The story is fast paced, and set in the D.C. area. There was a lot of background on Nikki that provided a strong foundation on her personality. Glass has to seriously reevaluate her traits and demeanor as her past definition of herself is altered by supernatural revelations. Using a blend of gods from different cultures really lends it’s self to more diverse characters. The supporting cast is just as interesting with descendants of Eros, Kali, Loki, and Zeus just to name a few.
The only thing I didn’t like was how often the main character was unarmed. For someone with Nikki’s small stature and god given skill set, I find this to be a problem. While I like Nik’s resourcefulness, I can only support the David slays Goliath routine for so long. I do hope Nikki gets some better hunting gear like a holster for her gun and vest to hold her phone and stuff. Carrying around a backpack and leaving or dropping her gun in an inconvenient place just seems like a rookie mistake. Maybe when we next meet Nik she’ll be more of a pro.
Overall I thought the concept was great. I know Jennifer Estep was doing a YA series with characters like these, and Rick Roidan’s Percy and Lost Hero books are some of my favorites as well. So finding an adult series was very exciting to me. There was a lot of world building, but I thought the storyline was woven in there well. It was compelling and entertaining. I am looking forward to the next book to see where Black takes things. I think Nikki has only scratched the surface of her abilities, and a clear path for an overall storyline has yet to be revealed, so I am definitely staying tuned in for that.
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