Book Review: Damned If I Do (The Harker Trilogy Book 1) by Erin Hayes

Vampire hunting has been passed down through Edie's family for generations, but months ago Edie's sister was killed and Edie was infected and will die unless she can find a cure. Now, with the help of her few remaining family members and an amnesiac vampire, Edie is determined to avenge her sister and keep her niece safe by killing the vampire who did this before the infection kills her.

Title: Damned If I Do
Book Number: Book 1 of 3
Pages: 344
My Rating: 3 Stars
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon


*I received an ecopy of this book via Xpresso Book Tours. This has in no way influenced my review.*

I didn’t dislike this book, but I just never felt invested in it or connected to the characters.

One problem was the 1st person present POV. I think it backfired. It’s my least favorite POV because, from my experiences, it’s the hardest one for authors to do well. And in this case, the two characters sounded pretty much the same, and they didn’t seem to have that much depth despite the fact that I was inside their heads. It was like the writing only skimmed the surface of their thoughts and feelings and who they were.

I think that’s also why I didn’t feel the chemistry in the romance. It was like I was simply being told what their feelings were.

I actually thought the most interesting thing about the book was Edie’s relationship with her brother-in-law, Graeme. It was realistic yet complicated since he clearly hated all the vampire-hunting stuff (with good reason), he seemed to put a lot of blame on Edie, he was always mad or frustrated with her, but they were family, and he would do things like stay up late worrying about her while she was out hunting because he did care about her, even if he didn’t say it much. And Edie cared about him (as well her niece) too.

Honestly I don’t really have much else to say. The characters themselves were fine, I didn’t dislike them. The plot made sense and had a steady pace. The romance wasn’t the most believable to me, but it at least wasn’t instalove either. There were no glaring flaws or plot holes or TSTL decisions or anything. But like I said, I just didn’t feel invested.

Overall, I really wanted to like this book as it sounded like exactly my kind of read, but I mostly just feel apathetic toward it :-/ The ending was significantly more interesting though and has made me very curious about what will happen next and how the things that happened will affect Edie’s life and her relationships with certain other characters, so I’m going to give the series another shot and see if the next book does a better job of pulling me in.


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  1. sjhigbee

    I’m really interested to read your views on first person pov. I’m in the process of switching one of my novels from first to third person pov, as it seems to read more smoothly that way and fits the style of the storytelling better. I enjoyed your review – thank you for sharing:).

    1. Kristen Burns

      For me, if POV is done well, I won’t even notice it. Like, I’ll finish the book, and if you asked, I wouldn’t even be able to tell you the POV. Some of my favorite books are first person present. But like I said, more often than not it just doesn’t work for me because it’s just not done well. I do prefer third person past. Seems like a lot of work to change a novel, though probably worth it if it does make a difference. Thanks 🙂

  2. Lola

    Sorry you didn’t enjoy it more, but I am glad you got the chance to read this one. I hardly ever notice what kind of pov a book is, now I wonder if all her books are in this pov or not, I can’t remember. I do feel like I liked the characters more than you did. I did like them, although I do agree there would’ve been nice if there was more character depth.. I do think it’s more story driven than character driven book. Edie her relationship with Graeme was interesting indeed with him hating all things vampire. I really felt bad for Graeme and his daughter. I also thought the ending of this was a good one and you can see how the ending impacts things in the next book. I liked the unusual romance with her being a hunter and him a vampire and even though the romance progressed fast, it didn’t feel like instalove. I hope you’ll enjoy the next book more!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I’m glad I got the chance to read it too as it did sound like something I’d like. For me the thing about POV is, if I don’t notice it, then it’s good, that means it worked well. And I *can* like first person present. But more often than not that POV just sounds kind of weird and stands out and doesn’t work for me. You may have liked the characters more though. That’s a super subjective thing. You might be right about it being more story-driven, maybe that was part of the problem for me. The Graeme parts were interesting at least. And yeah, the ending was unexpected and interesting, so I’m reading the second book now. Not very far in yet though, so thanks, we’ll see!

  3. AngelErin

    Uh oh, not being invested in a book is big no no for me. Sometimes that drives me crazier than just hating the book! Sorry you didn’t like it as much as you were wanting to. It does sound pretty good and up your alley, but if it makes you feel apathetic then that’s not good!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Honestly I still prefer a book I feel apathetic toward over a book that I hate lol, but neither one is really a good outcome. Thanks, it really did sound like my kinda thing! The second book is turning out a bit better at least.

  4. Greg

    Vampire hunting, that’s what I’m talking about. I like this cover too, you can’t really tell what genre it is, looks like romance or PNR maybe but sounds more like UF? Kind of ambiguous but in a good way. I can see where the POV would be a problem if it’s like you’re not really into the characters. Sorry to hear this wasn’t great, maybe the next one gets better? At least the ending had promise.

    Is the Harker trilogy so named because there’s a Harker connection (Dracula) or just a coincidence? Just curious. I’m always intrigued when vampire stories build on the Dracula stuff but then extrapolate it out into its own story. Kinda gives it depth.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I wouldn’t have looked at this if I hadn’t seen Lola’s review since the cover just looks like contemporary new adult romance to me, not anything paranormal. I wasn’t really sure if I should call it PNR though since the romance is pretty important, but it wasn’t what the plot was about. I actually just finished the second one before checking my comments lol, and it was a little better.

      I would imagine it relates to Dracula, that’d be an awful big coincidence, but it was never actually mentioned in the book, unless I somehow missed it.

  5. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    I hate when you just can’t connect with a book. I’ve got that with one of my current reads. I like it but I’m not invested which makes it difficult to get through a romance read. With this one it definitely seems the POV did this book a disservice. It’s not my favourite POV as it can go horribly wrong and done badly just makes me put a book down. This just sounds like it was a meh read but it was an interesting idea at least.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah, I think the POV did do the book a disservice. That’s exactly the problem, I *can* like it as a POV, but it’s so hard to get right. So yeah, it was one of those books in which nothing really bothered me per se, and it had some good things, it was just kinda meh.

  6. Bookworm Brandee

    I grabbed this book after reading Lola’s review. I’m going to admit I’m a bit nervous now after reading yours but I understand that first person POV can be problematic. And I’m hopeful for the series since you’re continuing on with it. 🙂 I’m sorry the story wasn’t everything you were hoping though. It stinks when we have certain expectations and the author doesn’t deliver. :/

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah, I grabbed it after seeing Lola’s review too lol. It does seem 1st person present often goes wrong for me, but books are subjective, so you might still like it more than I did! I will definitely be curious to see your thoughts.