24-year-old Jane Boyle is by most accounts living a charmed life. In spite of the trauma of losing her parents when she was young and her estrangement from her overbearing Grandmother, she has grown into a beautiful, up-and-coming architect living in Paris. She has also met a handsome, wealthy American named Malcolm Doran, who in addition to wanting to have all sorts of great sex with her, wants to marry her. Now, if only her mother-in-law-to-be wasn’t such a witch.
No, seriously, she’s a witch – as is Jane, although the discovery of that comes as a bit of a surprise to her. She always knew she had “bad luck” with electronic devices, but actual magical powers…well, that’s something it takes Jane a while to work her mind around. As she does, she begins to realize that the family she is marrying into may have ulterior motives for welcoming her so eagerly into their home, the immense, lavish Drake building in New York City. As she learns how to use her skills, she is both excited and frightened by this new aspect of her life. Luckily, in addition to Malcolm, Jane meets a few friends who can help her sort through her powers, the Doran’s family secrets and her future (if she has one) in New York.
I picked up 666 Park Avenue by Gabriella Pierce after seeing a TV promo for the upcoming show of the same name. Staring Terry O’Quinn, better known to almost everyone as Locke from LOST, and Vanessa Williams, most recently known for her role on Desperate Housewives, the ads for the show focus on Gavin and Olivia Doran and the apartment building they run, The Drake.
At 666 Park Avenue, all of your dreams and burning desires can come true: wealth, sex, love, power, even revenge. But just be careful what you wish for, because the price you pay… could be your soul.
Interesting…and other than sharing the last name of the literary version of the family, in no way related to the book upon which it claims to be based, at least as far as I can tell thus far. It looks like it is shaping up to be about an evil couple that lure in tenants and then mess with their minds using magic. In the book, the Drake is simply the Doran home – giant, expansive, full of witches – but not specifically a psychological torture chamber. Or, at least not most of the time.
The good news is that by the time I remembered I had 666 Park Avenue on my Kindle, I had mostly forgotten the ads for the show, so I did not go in with one set of expectations only to find a completely different story unfolding. This is a good thing, as the book is surprisingly engaging. Given the supernatural elements, combined with the over-the-top romance, wealth, power, etc., one might expect nothing more than Twilight 5-years-later-esque story-telling, but Pierce is better than that.
While it is undeniable that the book uses plenty of tropes of the trade, so to speak, and has a few slightly uncomfortable sex scenes (for me, not for the characters), there is something just smart enough, witty enough and…well, interesting enough about Jane Boyle, her friends, and the Doran clan to keep the story from ending up in paranormal-romance-tripe-town (I made that phrase up just now, by the way. Feel free to use at will. Also, in case you aren’t familiar, tripe is a cheap, disgusting meat which has served as partial inspiration for at least one song).
I started 666 Park Avenue on a Friday and was finished by Sunday night. I literally read it on the beach and it truly is the perfect book for a vacation, or even a weekend during which you have scratched everything else off your to-do list. There is a second book in the series, The Dark Glamour, and wouldn’t you know – I’m heading to the beach again this weekend. What a lovely coincidence.
It is also worth noting that while I am fairly certain the show will bear little resemblance to the book, I can’t say that fact bothers me. It will be interesting to see what they do with the barest outline of premise from the book (rich, magical family with possibly nefarious plans for people living in their house) without constantly anticipating specific events. The book is good, but it’s no Game of Thrones. I’m not likely to tear my hair out every time there is a change from the source material.
Plus, dude, LOCKE IS BACK.
Stuff we geek out about…
- A Little Something for the Fellas (2)
- A Little Something for the Ladies (9)
- Avengers Boot Camp (9)
- Before the Movie – Trailers (13)
- Editorials and Reviews (135)
- Interviews (19)
- Miscellaneous Geekery (48)
- Nostalgia (17)
- Sandman Re-Read (11)
- Three Favorite Things (4)
What we JUST said…
- All the Posts I Meant to Write this Month, Abridged
- Hemlock Grove-A New Guilty Pleasure
- Deborah Harkness and A Discovery of Witches
- Syfy’s Defiance- Hope They Didn’t Blow the Budget on a Song
- Cover Reveal for the New Liz Long Novel Witch Hearts
- From Gen-X, To Chris Hardwick With Love
- Before the Movie: G.I. Joe Retaliation