By: J. Lynn Bailey
Publisher: Poorhouse Publising
Publication Date: November 2015
No one ever accused Penelope Jackson of being normal, nor did they suspect the dark secret she kept. A dangerous web of deceit and secrecy unravels when news of a stranger’s death puts Penn on a collision course with the very person she’s been hiding from her whole life. Her fragile world is shaken to its core with the sudden arrival of Vacavious and she soon discovers the bizarre and magical world surrounding her seemingly ordinary life.
No one is who they claim to be, including those closest to Penn. A mysterious security detail emerges from the shadows scrambling to protect her as powerful forces await the fall of her protective veil on her eighteenth birthday.
Penn prepares to fight against unseen evils before it’s too late. The world of Nighmerianotte and its population depends on her survival, for she is the Sanguine.
Black Five started as a promising, captivating read. I wanted to learn more, I wanted to find out about this world and the story started off showing not telling. I had found a book I was going to like. The showing not telling ended quickly, becoming convoluted storytelling that pulled details out of thin air. And then: high school drama quickly arises as does a love triangle and stalky vampires.
The main issue with the book is that there is way too much going on. There is love drama and magic drama and family drama and then the soldier neighbor with PTSD from Afghanistan and the little girl with cancer at the hospital. The overabundance of stuff going on means that the book should have been longer or split in two. The book plays out with the author dropping in random facts and characters and events like we are suppose to know about them already. Suddenly, Penn has a healing ability and is referencing it like she’s mentioned it before, a dog pops up out of nowhere, and the only redeeming factor is that when things get weird and suspicious, Penn questions things.
In addition to the random new characters and powers that are shoehorned in, and the horrid explanations as to why Penn was stuck in an abusive household until she was eight while people knew what was going on, there is Jesse. Jesse is a piece of work. Apparently he really likes our Penn here, but he can’t be bothered to explain why they just can’t be together. And then he goes and starts a relationship with a chick that bullied Penn. Which, I my book, is unforgivable. Speaking of love interests, there is also Church. The ancient vampire who has been guarding Penn all her life and just so happens to have developed feelings for her in the process. Yuck. And, thus, Penn is faced with two not so awesome love options. Though, unfortunately, if I had to pick one, the stalky vampire is a vast improvement over broody Jesse.
The only thing that had potential to save the book was Kendra. The BFF extraordinaire and the only character I could mildly stand besides Penn. Sadly, this wasn’t enough to save the book, and it needed some more closure on the romantic front to have a satisfying ending.
Disclaimer: The synopsis and cover picture were pulled from the book’s Goodreads page. Neither belong to us. A review copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.