With the new VC Andrews novel Daughter of Light being released in Australia later this week I thought that now was a fitting time to review its prequel, Daughter of Darkness which was released in late 2010. Daughter of Darkness was the first V.C. Andrews novel to stray from the gothic fairytale (or Sci-Fi, if one is to count Gods of Green Mountain) theme and venture into the paranormal. And this all happened perhaps not-so-coincidentally after the release and fanfare of Twilight. And like all novels baring the V.C. Andrews name, it had an interesting concept. Three adopted daughters, all raised to find and trap bait for their adoptive father, who just happens to be a vampire. Unfortunately, all the usual plot-holes of the modern V.C. Andrews novels (think people chanting impishly, bratty/bitchy siblings who detract rather than add to the plot, weirdos with skewed sexual morals and a lack of understanding of female behaviour and conversation,) get in the way. The novel itself tells the story of Lorelei, a young woman who falls in love with the guy she is supposed to bring home as bait for her adoptive father, and shows this young woman having enough moral fiber to question the values she has been raised with and to stand up to her adoptive father. And then comes one of the most ridiculous plot twists I have ever seen in fiction.
And I mean ridiculous.
Some authors have enough skill to get away with all kinds of great plot twists. I mean who didn't love that bit in Yan Martel's Life of Pi where the tiger simply disappears and it leaves the reader to question whether the tiger did or did not exist, if no one but Pi ever saw it. That is a great and clever twist. Or in Sophie's World where one gets to the halfway point and then the author reveals that this has all been a story written for another little girl who then becomes the heroine of the novel. Those kinds of plot twists take brains and talent. The early V.C. Andrew novels (i.e. the ones written by the real V.C. Andrews,) had some great twists as well. I still remember the moment when I discovered that the parents of the children in Flowers in the Attic were actually brother and sister. Or that moment when it was revealed that the First and Best Audrina and the Second and Worst Audrina were one and the same person.
The plot twist in Daughter of Darkness is just silly. And wrong. (Oh and massive spoiler alert here. Massive. No. Seriously. Consider yourself warned.)
When Lorelei returns to the orphanage where she was adopted, she discovers that the orphanage is actually home to several of her adoptive father's wives. And more than that, Lorelei's mother lives among them. Sergio Patio, the bad vampire is Lorelei's biological father. And if that wasn't quite enough to make the skin of even the most unsentimental reader's skin crawl, the worst is yet to come. All of Sergio's wives are his daughters. And, as his daughter, Lorelei will also be expected to marry Sergio. And from there, the book just keeps on getting sillier.
Daughter of Darkness, I suspect, will never be a favourite among fans. And nor should it be. With unbelievable concepts and shock value plot twists that do not make sense, it's unlikely that this book would have ever made it to print, had it been written by a new or unknown author.