Indie Book Review: City of Promise by Dawn Prough
In the not-so-distant future, Misty works as a maintenance diver at Gideon, a city floating in the middle of the Atlantic, a haven for the undead. She’s good at her job; it helps that she doesn’t need to breathe. But during one night dive, she discovers a dead body, weighted and tangled in the nets. In a world where all vampires are one deportation away from execution, Misty wants nothing to do with corpses and criminal investigations. But then she meets Li, a man with a death wish, a dangerous past, and a connection to the body Misty found.
This book was a welcome addition eBook addition to my vampire-filled shelf. Prough does something different in her novel, City of Promise by moving her story and vampire heroine out of the urban fantasy setting into the 2063. From the delightful gritty details of the world (based on a real-world proposal of a city extension off Boston in the 1970s), to the (sometimes) over-the-top action, to the (scrappy) dialogue, the novel kept me tapping the screen for the next page.
And oh, the narrative details. I kept stopping at passages (backstory, setting, whathaveyou) and thinking, I need to bookmark this to share in my review. After the upteenth bookmark, I realized my review was on its way to being a list of awesome excerpts of world-building done well and no review, so instead, I’ll just direct you to the sample on Goodreads. See what you think.
What else did I love? Though it wasn’t entirely followed through, I enjoyed the novelty of following a powerful and old(ish) vampire. In a genre where we’re almost always stuck with the new human or the outsider, Misty reminded me more of Jean-Claude (Anita Blake), Stephan (Mercy Thompson), Bill (Sookie Stackhouse) or Thomas (Harry Dresden). It created for an engaging relationship dynamic with Li, who was a badass in his own right. And of course, it’s always a breath of fresh air when the two characters aren’t automatically chucked into a love triangle withing five pages of meeting each other. Bullet dodged!
But, a canary did get knocked off its perch. For one, a certain disconnect between character motivation, world and plot kept the “critical thinking” part of my brain gnawing on the edges like a little, insistent velociraptor. I couldn’t get a beat on the “why” of some critical decisions, and that meant I couldn’t quite able to buy into the characters.
Another canary almost got shoved out of the nest for that one bit that made me burst out in incredulous laughing – an impulse I tried to smother in a quick fit of coughing as people stared. But I still can’t tell if I hate or love it, so the canary stays. I won’t spoil it by telling you (ARM!), but you’ll know it when you get to it. No, no, you really will. And when you do get to it, come back to me and tell me what you think.
I was pretty excited to discover that the second book has been written and is in the throes of editing. Now that Misty been shoved into the limelight, I can’t wait to see where the next story takes her.
Review copy generously provided by Light Unseen Media.
Check out our other reviews of indie books in our Independent Authors Series here.