Requested Review: Original Sin – Allison Brennan

Back cover:
Haunted by chilling memories of demonic possession and murder, Moira O’Donnell has spent seven years hunting down her mother, Fiona, whose command of black magic has granted her unprecedented control of the underworld. Now Moira’s global search has led her to a small California town that’s about to become hell on earth.

Tormented by his own terrifying past and driven by powers he can’t explain, ex-seminarian Rafe Cooper joins Moira’s dangerous quest. But Fiona is one devilish step ahead. Hungry for greater power, eternal youth, and stunning beauty, the sorceress is unleashing upon the mortal world the living incarnations of the Seven Deadly Sins.

Together with a demonologist, a tough female sheriff, and a pair of star-crossed teenagers, Moira and Rafe are humanity’s last chance to snatch salvation from the howling jaws of damnation.

Since the back cover blurb describes efficiently what the book is about I’m not starting with my own plot summary but will dive straight into what my thoughts about this book were.

Before I give my opinion of this book I must sketch a little background of how I came about reading and reviewing it. I have had books by Allison Brennan on my shelves for a few years now. I think since Speak No Evil was released. A fan of romantic suspense/thrillers I glommed her entire backlist up to that moment and have bought every new release from her ever since. However, they are all still on my TBR pile because I just haven’t gotten around to reading any. Then I read about the start of a new series by her, The Seven Deadly Sins and its first installment ORIGINAL SIN. The author called it a supernatural thriller and my attention was immediately drawn and there it went…on the order list. When the book was offered to me for review I didn’t even hesitate and almost fell over my feet, running to accept it. I took it with me on vacation and started reading it about halfway through my vacation.

And here is where my expectations harshly collided with what I actually got from the book. I was expecting a fast-paced read full of suspense, action and engaging characters. I was expecting a paranormal romance combined with romantic suspense. What I got was a book that to me qualifies as Urban Fantasy, a genre that is not high on my reading menu and I think this was the main reason of why I struggled so much with this book. I am absolutely convinced that if you like Urban Fantasy you will love Original Sin, despite the slow pace, the extensive and complicated world-building with info-dumps and flashbacks. For me, unfortunately, the book didn’t work until about the last 150 pages of the book.

My main struggles were with Moira’s characterization, the excruciatingly slow pace (until the last part), and the fact that the book doesn’t contain a rounded, stand-alone story. It’s very clearly an introductory first book in an UF-like series and I suspect that everything I was expecting in this book, will be offered in the following installment(s). Because I do have to admit that the last part of ORIGINAL SIN has made me curious about a lot of things that were revealed and I am very tempted to get CARNAL SIN to find out more.

Another thing that impeded my full enjoyment of the book was Moira. She and I just didn’t click, especially in the beginning. She was too guilt-ridden, too insecure. This improved a bit once she and Rafe were put together and I did like that she developed a bit to being more confident and less guilt-ridden. Despite the flashbacks and characterization of the main characters through the multiple POVs I didn’t have the feeling that I have gotten to know the characters. They all stay on the surface, again contributing to my feeling that there is so much more to be revealed about all of them.

Despite the above I cannot say that ORIGINAL SIN is a bad book. Absolutely not. Even if the build-up and pace were slow I was intrigued by the premise of the all magic is evil plot and the deadly sins that have been unleashed on the world. And the suspense building was well done too because in every chapter small revelations were subtly imbedded into the many flashbacks and information, revelations intriguing enough to keep me reading despite Urban Fantasy feel of the book.

The last part of the book worked the best for me because after the slow start and world building, from about 3/4 into the book, Brennan gave me the pace and action I was longing for. In a considerably faster pace the suspense grew and some threads were unraveled with surprising and unexpected revelations. After how ORIGINAL SIN ended I am heavily speculating about some stuff surrounding Rafe and Moira and I’m curious to see if my speculations are correct.

So despite the things that didn’t work for me in this book, the last 150 pages were great and that part is making me look forward to the next installment because now I need to know how things are going to play out and what’s further in store for Moira, Rafe, Skye, Anthony and the rest. And I have high hopes for a more romantic focus in the future books because even if there was no clear romance thread in this book, there were subtle suggestions that something is developing between Moira and Rafe. The romance lover in me clung to these subtle hints and to the romance between Anthony and Skye.

In conclusion, as UF is not my favorite genre and this book really leans strongly towards it, it could not enthrall me as much as I hoped it would but even if the book didn’t quite work for me, I do believe this book will greatly appeal to UF readers and lovers and I do plan to read more by Allison Brennan, starting with her straight-up romantic suspense/thrillers because that thread in ORIGINAL SIN pulled it up from a disappointing to a fairly satisfactory read.

Rating: 6.7 out of 10

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7 thoughts on “Requested Review: Original Sin – Allison Brennan

  1. I've heard a lot of people say the same thing that you just did-that it took about the first 100 pages or so for the book to pick up it's pace, and that the last half was really good. I think that I'll eventually read this book-only b/c everyone said the ending was really good.

  2. I can see where someone who was expecting a PNR would feel this book falls short. For me, it was a wonderful read but I love Urban Fantasy. It was also my first book to read by Allison Brennan so I had no expectation before reading Original Sin. I fee the same as you that I really hope the romance between heats up more in the next book with Moira and Rafe. :)

  3. We already talked on the phone about OS but I'm really glad the last part made it a bit better for you. I read the first 200 pages in the blink of an eye and what you struggled with was something I loved. I hope CS will keep the reading pleasure in an upwards spiral for you!

  4. I am more in the mood for Highlanders and PNR lately, I can see your struggle with this book, love your review but it does not entice me to go read it.

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