This is just my own personal opinion, but there is an awful lot of wretched, stomach-churning (and not in a good way) horror out there that tries to splice in some erotica to make things interesting. It’s rare that I see this touch work, and I’m not sure what started the trend. I guess we could blame Anne Rice (and I’m completely okay with that), but with things like Twilight and now 50 Shades of Grey, it seems as though it’s become an even bigger genre than ever. The problem usually is that one element, the horror or the erotica, tends to be a lot better than the other. Blending the two into something that creates a distinct, enjoyable read is a daunting task.
The other problem is that lousy horror writing isn’t going to be magically transformed by good erotica and vice-versa. Maybe I’m just picky, but overall it’s a genre that rarely gets to me.
It is possible, though. Jhada Addams proves it with It Never Ends, the first in a long-term series (the second book is apparently due for release soon), and one of the better examples I’ve seen of horror and erotica being both equally well-written, and able to strike a near-perfect balance between the two.
What helps to make It Never Ends more than just porn with gore (and there’s nothing inherently wrong with that concept when it’s done well) are its characters. Addams loves her story, in which a young woman, Dani Jilson, who has taken up a role of an avenger in a vicious, cruel world, meets up with an ancient, exiled vampire, Argent Valentine, and that enthusiasm becomes contagious early on. She loves the horror and erotica equally and gives both of them the respect of a strong narrative and language that rarely itself a little too seriously (and this is something in particular that has destroyed the chances of many a promising genre piece). More than all of that though, she loves her two main characters, and puts obvious time into giving both of them distinct, believable and engaging personalities. The pace of the book slows a little too much here and there in their moments together, but one of the best points of It Never Ends remains how well Addams creates and then builds upon their relationship. It’s good enough that the horror and erotica elements being so well-executed are really more of a bonus than anything else. Addams could take her twin gifts of narration and characterization to any story she might be inclined to share. However, fans of erotic horror will undoubtedly be grateful she put them to work in something like It Never Ends.
And what about the rest of us? I liked quite a bit of It Never Ends, and it’s worth mentioning one more time that I’m not someone who is generally drawn to this kind of work. I was on this occasion, and the results were more pleasant surprises than I would have ever guessed. Take that for what it’s worth. In a ridiculously over-saturated market of erotic horror, or anything to do with vampires, It Never Ends deserves to stand out a little past its contemporaries. Just enough that more people than its built-in fan base usually yields will notice it.
Jhada Adams, It Never Ends: