Chloe is in love with Lucien.
He’s enigmatic, compassionate, generous and intelligent. Likes classical music just as much as kicking ass and knows his way around a kitchen, though he’d never admit it. He’s gorgeous yet humble and can’t see past his own scars.
The only problem is that Lucien is a character in a novel.
The Dark Riders is one of the best selling paranormal romance series of all time, and it was destined to have eight installments, one for each of the brothers-in-arms. Except the writer died. Worse yet, book seven was finished by some poser that thought killing off one of the main characters would bring a more modern twist to the finale.
Chloe is absolutely devastated by the news that one of her “friends” is dead and that the series is canceled. A midnight escape from the locked office lands her in a deserted parking lot after hours where an unseen force has been waiting. This supernatural assault strands her in an alternate reality where the Dark Riders are real and the horrible ending created by the publisher hasn’t happened yet.
The greatest strength of this book is how meta it is: an almost obsessive fangirl of a famous romantic urban fantasy series (coughBrotherhoodoftheBlackDaggercough) lives a boring life, wishing she lived in the books she so much loves. Her favourite author dies, leaving another author nobody likes, to complete the series and ruining it forever. And, then, she wakes up inside her beloved series, and proceeds to impress everyone with her secret knowledge of the world, gets adopted into the family and a life of luxury, and ends up finding her amazing powers (and romance with her favourite male character (coughZsadistcough) and never being the victim ever again.
As far as wish-fulfillment fantasies go this is the typical one (a better life + superpowers + wealth + a clique + hooking up with favourite character + being seen as beautiful), but I actually found myself liking how it was pulled off. Now, I know a lot of readers will be turned off by what amounts to Brotherhood of the Black Dagger self-insertion fanfiction (let us not kid ourselves, it is what this is, to the point where I was already addressing the book characters by their BoTBD counterpart’s names in my head — despite the nod to the Dark Hunter series). However, it is still written in a way that I could not fault the writer for, and I still empathized with the main character – certain parts were heartwrenching (I can totally relate to seeing someone taking a favourite book series of yours, and handing it to someone who basically ruins it while desperately trying to get more money out of it – the Chronicles of Amber comes to mind.)
I think the author tapped into a very specific aspect of being a fan of a series of books and managed to put into words things that we all felt before, and that is, I feel, the strong suit of the book.
Ultimately, I think I would recommend this to BotBD fans, because if you take away that particular aspect of the novel, it ends up losing most of its entertaining value, and you miss most of the nods to the main series.