As a fan of Dark Shadows, I was curious to read Lara Parker's prequel to the never-ending tragedy of Barnabas and Angelique. I did not have high expectations for the novel, assuming it would be a good read but on a par with formulaic romance stories.
We share fond memories of the campy Batman show featuring Adam West, comic books like Superman and Turok Son of Stone, the Wizard of Oz, and the animated Spiderman series on TV when we were kids. Its funny what these wide-ranging conversations can shake loose in the dusty recesses of your memoryit got me remembering how much I enjoyed the show Dark Shadows, a weekly soap opera featuring the immortal Barnabus Collins, a doomed vampire, and his aristocratic family to whom he returns. Dark Shadows is probably one of the pop culture influences that have gradually transformed the vampire from a disgusting, terrifying revenant (think Stokers Dracula or films Nosferatu) into the handsome, romantic character that features so prominently in recent fiction (think Twilight or Anne Rices works).
I am no real reviewer, but I know what I like, and I like Lara Parker's writing and this story, these characters, this setting. It was beautifully written with descriptions that easily took me to the setting of Martinique, the home of Angelique during childhood, and Collinwood, where the Collins family lives. This story of her early beginnings by Lara Parker is perfect and explains so much. I know it is one I will read again.(and or listen to) And that is saying a lot. Also, I was tickled to find that at the end of the audible version, we are given the first chapter of the second book in Parker's trilogyThe Salem Branch. I have already downloaded book 2, The Salem Branch from audible and am looking forward to Lara Parker weaving more of the story of the Collins family (and Angelique); as well as listening to her narration, which I think she is very talented at.
When I was approached to review Dark Shadows: Angelique's Descent, one of the reasons I accepted was the fact that this was the story on which the new Tim Burton film was based. It wasn't my cup of tea, turning out to be far more on the romance side than I expected. As I stated above, Dark Shadows: Angelique's Descent is very reminiscent of a soap opera, which seeing its genesis isn't surprising, but did make for an exasperating read. I do have to say that the prose tightened up a lot toward the end of the book and the purplishness wasn't as jolting in the sections set in the past, which tell Angelique's story. I found the prose far more of a problem in the sections set in the 1970's, which are told from Barnabas' point of view. I find it hard to give a final judgement for Dark Shadows: Angelique's Descent, because of the fact that it just wasn't my cup of tea.
In truth, Angeliques father suspects that she has inherited a portion of her mothers powers and plans on using her as a pawn to keep his slaves in line by having Angelique impersonate the voodoo Goddess Erzulie. What Angeliques father learns, albeit far too late, is that Angelique is far more powerful than he could have imagined. Along the way we learn of Angeliques earliest meeting with a young Barnabus Collins and their eventual love affair before Angelique becomes a servant of the rich and powerful Du Pres family. The latter half of the book will be familiar to anyone who watched the series as the author describes the events which played out on screen using dialogue from the original scripts.
Her mother had been a medicine woman who believed in magic.So from a very early age Angelique had seen her do spells.
Having never seen the Dark Shadows TV series, or the recent Dark Shadows movie starring Johnny Depp, I was a little confused when starting this book, as it seemed as if background knowledge of the characters was needed in order to fully connect with the story. There is very little introduction to the character of Barnabas or Angelique, with the book delving straight into the complex plot. The book did pick up slightly after Angeliques escape from the plantation, as she then meets Barnabas and we discover how he became a vampire, but I still wasnt drawn into her story. After enduring a slow read to reach the end of the book, I started asking myself why I wasnt more interested in Angelique, as her story is harrowing and emotional but was missing something. The book is full of descriptions like this, and when looking back at the events I found that they could have been summed up in a couple of sentences rather than pages, and the story wouldnt have lost any of its value.
The story, which takes place in the continuity of the original DARK SHADOWS series, visits the early life of Angelique Bouchard, the sorceress/femme fatale responsible for the plight of the pivotal central character, vampire Barnabas Collins. Written by one who understands the iconic DARK SHADOWS characters, and who also brought one of those characters to startling life, ANGELIQUES DESCENT is a revealing tale delivered with the highest level of compelling drama found in the series itself.
Elle qui est d'une beauté si saisissante et atypique lui donnera bien du mal pour se laisser charmer par ce beau parleur jusqu'à ce qu'elle lui offre finalement son coeur... C'est que certaines femmes voyant leur coeur brisé par un homme ont du mal à empêcher leur âme de noircir, ce qui fut le cas pour Angélique dont le prénom est pour le coup ironique.
As a fan of the original soap saga, I was pleased that my favorite character, had a book based off her story, and her love written by the woman who portrayed her. Parker took a soap character and made her come to life, you felt the loneliness of her being held prisoner by her father, you felt her heartbreak.