Monday, May 19, 2008

"Dark Maiden" by Norma Lehr

Title: "Dark Maiden"
Author: Norma Lehr
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Juno books

Dark Maiden by Norma Lehr is an intriguing new read, which can be finished in one breath at its length of 224 pages and the reader is left energized by everything that happens. The pacing of the novel is lightning fast and action seems to fill every page. The book itself goes along the lines of paranormal romance and urban fantasy, settling for the title paranormal suspense.

Sheila Miller is a devastated mother after losing her only child Timmy to crib death. However she is convinced that her baby was killed by an Asian woman, a theory, which is met with wide skepticism from the people around her. Upon moving out from San Francisco and into the suburbs in order to handle stress things go out of control. People close to Sheila and her family start to die in mysterious ways, huge grey foxes are spotted and the personal drama that marked Sheila’s life is threatening to repeat itself. Amongst this chaos Sheila manages to fall in love with Chad, who has come to reopen the mine on the property she lives in. when all of the events point towards and ancient fox demon, which has desire in a magical stone lost in the mine, Sheila doesn’t sound so crazy after all.

What I personally found as great strength in this book is that Normal Lehr delves into the pool of Chinese mythology, even though today the supernatural genre favors vampires and usual shapeshifters. There is a great diversity of motives and elements used from the mentioned fox demons that change into maidens and their lore, reincarnation and love that has lasted for centuries to even dragons and magical amulets with mystic properties. Sheila herself seems to break the paranormal canons as she appears vulnerable and clueless to what happens with her, which is quite the opposite from headstrong and confident women that know what lurks in the shadows.

The whole story is shown through the points of view of a large cast of characters as they have to deal with different situations all connected with the fox demon. While this creates a wonderful sensation of watching a movie, I would have liked to see the story develop through the tighter core of main characters. As other criticism I would also point that I would have liked to see the story expand through another 100 to 150 pages. This is a really great story and I wished it would go on, so that more of the paranormal motives could be intertwined further into the story and into each other and help interconnect the characters better, but in the end I think that “Dark Maiden” deserves attention.


Robert said...

I love Chinese mythology so this sounds really interesting. Plus that cover is great!

cj said...

You do cover some really interesting books and you do it well. This one sounds very interesting. Thanks for the review.


daydream said...

Robert: It is quite good on idea level. I wish more books explored less known mythologies and yup the cover art had a great saying, whne I chose it.

CJ: YUP! You can count on me, when it comes to strange, out of the ordinary books. Thank you for stopping by.

SQT said...

This sounds good. I wish more books would look to other forms of mythology rather than just falling back on vampires and werewolves.

daydream said...

Same here. That's it's great strength in my opinion.

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