Not Dead Enough: The Windhaven Chronicles by Watson Davis is a novella written as a series of short stories that fit together – and it is not the type of book that normally appeals to me. It is dark. How dark? Very. The main characters are a semi-dead demon trapped in a book and a vampire and the vampire is the better of the two.
I decided to read this after getting Watson Davis’ newsletter. I get a lot of newsletters and most end up in the trash with me unsubscribed. If the writer lavishes exclamation points or features teen girls I’m out of there!! Like, totally out of there!! (Teen-speak and exclamation points. Ugh.)
Davis’ newsletter was good with light humor so I asked for the book – but didn’t know what Not Dead Enough was about until it arrived. I opened it with a sinking feeling and ended up staying up an hour late to finish. It was good, readable, with many interesting characters and an intriguing back story. I am glad to have taken a chance.
The Empress has used sorcery to compel Gartan to obey her, to assassinate and kill and bring pain to himself and everyone else. She is now semi-dead, trapped in a book that Gartan wants to destroy. The stories feature Gartan’s creative methods for bibliocide, from tossing it into a volcano to feeding to a sea monster to magic. Gartan slowly sheds his Empress-driven cruel madness and regains some humanity.
Initially he wants to destroy the book because he wants to destroy the Empress, but as he progresses he accepts that he is in part responsible for the mess and responsible to keep the book from relaunching the Empress. There are hints that Gartan was not always a vampire and I’m curious whether he eventually is able to free himself from that curse.
Overall this was a very good surprise, well written, with deft handling of scene changes and many varied minor characters who pass in and out through Gartan’s parade. I enjoyed the dialogue which was refreshing, down to earth and written the way you can imagine someone speaking.
I would give this a solid 4. It was enjoyable and well written. I intend to read more by Watson Davis (and stay subscribed to his newsletter.)
This was an Instafreebie book, meaning free. The links here generate commission if you click them and purchase.