Urban fantasy, paranormal romance… Where does one draw the line between one genre and the other? In this case I am going with the following standard: an action novel can have sex in it without becoming a romance, so an urban fantasy can contain relationship/sex themes without becoming a paranormal romance, but the line is very blurry.
Jennifer Armintrout’s The Turning chronicles the invasion of Dr. Carrie Ames’ life by the dark forces of vampires and their ilk. After being Turned into a vampire and having her life explode, she gets caught up in a struggle between the evil vampires and the not-evil vampires. There is nothing new or ground-breaking in either the depiction of the vampires or her explanation of how they came to be.
Armintrout seems to be caught in the dilemma that many urban fantasy authors find themselves in while trying to walk the line between writing a romance or a fantasy novel, so there is much that’s familiar here. The main character is a fiercely independent, highly intelligent, unknowingly beautiful woman with lots of baggage and issues to carry into the story. The villain is handsome, cruel and dangerous. The hero is really good looking and sexy as well, but he is afflicted with a dark past that haunts him and makes it difficult for her to trust him all the way. But to appease the fantasy readers, she colors pretty much in the lines for a fantasy novel and doesn’t have any ridiculous plot errors.
Ok, so the book is familiar, but it’s not bad all the same. The characters don’t get too cloying and Armintrout can write fairly interesting fight scenes. The story moves along pretty well and the sex scenes are not so drawn out and ridiculous that they detract greatly from the story. Anita Blake this isn’t. So, if you are a huge urban fantasy fan and you are stuck waiting for the next Kim Harrison or Patricia Briggs book, this is good filler. It’s not going to make you add it to the “must read” list, but Armintrout doesn’t punish you for reading her books either.