Saturday, October 3, 2015

Novella Review: Murderous Little Darlings By John Hennessy

With two specimens of the undead on either side of her, Juliana knew there was no escape. Kill the one they had selected for her, or be killed, and become one of them. What had the neighbours in the road called them, back when their childhood pranks were just that? 

Oh yes, she remembered now. Murderous Little Darlings. They had the faces of angels, but possessed the very soul of the Devil. 

Marcus had fully embraced his vampire side from the moment he was born. Rocco was the second eldest, and had fought the temptation all of his life. Then Marcus finally broke him. 

That just left Juliana. Will she resist them, or join in the hunt?

The cover is pretty, and eye-catching. I am always a sucker for dark hues, and the image of a girl staring at something unknown in the forest is very striking.

Murderous Little Darlings is a book that I found to be great as a concept, but not in execution. Overall, the idea that there are little vampires causing havoc in the world is a good one, and the fact there are siblings who do not agree with each other does lead to some strong character moments. But unfortunately, this is a hard one to read.

Ultimately, it feels as though the novella is trying to be too clever for the story itself. There is nothing wrong with a book that tries to make the reader think-that happens so rarely and is a great thing for the author to try and accomplish. But in this case, however, it gets to the point where things become overly confusing very quickly.

To give an example, there is a scene where the vampire kids decide to attack a group of people mourning at a funeral. Their reasoning, it seems, is that people are so focused on the funeral they won't notice someone being dragged away. Okay. Questionable, but okay. They then get in a very loud argument with a boy, and the parents tell them to be quiet. Okay, well, they are no longer being quiet obviously. But they are able to do it anyway by knocking the bratty kid in a funeral hole that everyone is turned away from-wait, what? Why is everyone turned away from the hole in the ground someone is going to be buried in? Does that normally happen in funerals? Or is that another hole in the ground? Why aren't the parents double checking on the bratty kid which seems like the natural thing for them to do? Already I am so confused.

There is also a twist at the end that is supposed to be an 'ah ha!' moment, but it's the same problem as the story in general-it's great in concept, lacking in execution. Without giving it away, this twist does not work if the reader really thinks about it. Some character motivations are all mixed up as a result, and other characters have literally teleported to different locations in order to justify this twist, which does not work in the story either from a timeline point of view or due to the fact that other people were involved in those same scenes and might have mentioned that. That being said, I do appreciate the idea behind it-from a character standpoint, it is a great twist.

The novella ends on a satisfactory note with some loose ends as well, but it is supposed to be the first in a series of seven so hopefully more will be explained. I am personally curious to see what will happen to Officer O'Hara, as it seemed she was going to be part of the conclusion but was strangely absent.

FINAL GRADE: 2 out of 5. Even though this is a vampire novella, there are too many cases where I had to suspend my disbelief to get through to the end.

Murderous Little Darlings can be found here.

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