Series: Darkness of Light, #1
Description: Freak. Witch. Crazy. Schizo.
Ember Brycin has been called them all. She’s always known she’s different. No one has ever called her normal, even under the best circumstances. Bizarre and inexplicable things continually happen to her, and having two different colored eyes, strange hair, and an unusual tattoo only contributes to the gossip about her.
When the latest school explosion lands her in a facility for trouble teens, she meets Eli Dragen, who’s hot as hell and darkly mysterious. Their connection is full of passion, danger, and secrets. Secrets that will not only change her life, but what and who she is—leading her down a path she never imagined possible.
Between Light and Dark, Ember finds a world where truth and knowledge are power and no one can be trusted. But her survival depends on finding out the truth about herself. In her pursuit, she is forced between love and destiny and good and evil, even when the differences between them aren’t always clear. At worst, she will incite a war that could destroy both worlds. At best, she will not only lose her heart but her life and everyone she loves. Once the truth is out, however, there will be no going back. And she’ll definitely wish she could.
A high school outcast with equally outcast but quirky BFFs has some kind of unknown and uncontrollable power that manifests at times of high emotion/anger and causes havoc. She is blamed for an incident at her school that was caused by her powers and is sent to special school for troubled teens. She gradually learns the secret of who she is while having a love/hate relationship with a mysterious and secretive guy. There is another mysterious guy who shows up mostly in her dreams for most of the book and seems to claim her. By the end of the book she will find out who she is, what Eli and Torin are, why she is in danger, and who is coming after her.
I first read the sample for this book and was easily pulled through the story and wanted to keep reading. I wanted to know what was behind Ember’s freaky powers and I was intrigued by the two mysterious guys that show up in the sample and how they are connected to Ember. Overall, I really enjoyed the story. Here are some things that jumped out at me…
- I actually liked the relationship between Ember and Eli. It drew me in and kept pulling me along. There was a lot of romantic and sexual tension, but it was also really frustrating because Eli was so hot and cold. He was a jerk to Ember one minute and then drawn to her the next. His emotions toward Ember were constantly swinging back and forth. It was like watching a tennis match… a constant volley of emotions. He is supposed to hate her because of what she is and what he is, but he is also intensely attracted to her. So there is a reason for it, but daggumit, I just wanted to slap him upside the head at times. Poor, poor Eli…so conflicted. Does he follow his heart or his heritage and duty? Of course, Ember doesn’t know what she is (and nobody seems willing to tell her for most of the book) so she doesn’t understand Eli’s hot and cold attitude. I don’t blame Ember for getting fed up with him at times, but as you might guess she is always drawn back to him.
- Torin is the other romantic interest but the love triangle wasn’t that much of a triangle since the focus was primarily on Eli. Though Ember is attracted to Torin, Eli is really the main romantic interest. Torin shows up in person briefly at the beginning and seems to claim her and then he mostly only appears in her dreams. He is always saying he is doing whatever he can to protect her (though of course he cannot tell her why she needs protecting or what she is) but I don’t recall him doing much of anything to actually back up those claims of protection except at the end of the book. I figured out what Torin was early in the story, but when I found out what Torin does—like his “job or position” so to speak—I was a little surprised and wondered why he would feel Ember is meant for him. I’m being vague here as I don’t want to give away a spoiler.
- I liked Ember’s friends, Ryan and Kennedy. They were fun sidekick characters and I think there is something more to Kennedy than meets the eye. She seems to have some type of clairvoyant power of her own. The mean girl cheerleader and popular boy of interest that appeared in the sample do not really play any further role in this book other than a brief scene a little later in the story. They were mostly throw away characters in this book.
- There are a lot of secrets in this book: the secret of what Eli and Torin actually are, the secret of what Ember is, the secret of who/what is looking for her and why, and the secret surrounding her mother. The author keeps you guessing for some time before revealing some of these answers and even then I’m still not sure I have a handle on exactly what Eli is or why Torin is claiming her. There is also humor in this book and Ember comes out with some funny and snarky comments at times.
- Though I mentioned there was a lot of romantic/sexual tension between Ember and Eli, there was not much return on investment on it. At least not in this book. The sexual content in the book doesn’t go beyond some heavy kissing scenes, which doesn’t really happen until the second half of the book. Also, I was told this book was a Paranormal Romance so I expected an HEA. However, there was no resolution to the romantic relationship, no I Love You moment, and no HEA. In this respect, I find it hard to call it a romance. It actually has more hallmarks of an Urban Fantasy, but it does have a significant romantic theme with sexual tension so I’m calling it a Paranormal Romantasy. Not only are you left hanging on the romance angle but nothing in the plot is really resolved either. You will need to continue the series to find out what happens. I don’t have much patience for cliffhangers these days so this part kind of annoyed me, especially since I had the expectation of a romance which was not fulfilled.
- There were elements of this story that reminded me of the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning with the most significant being the way Ember and Eli would talk to each other with their eyes. Mac and Barrons from the Fever series did this a lot. It was a very significant behavior between them so when I read these scenes between Ember and Eli, it really jumped out at me and I can’t think of those scenes without being reminded of the Fever series. This is not to say the plot is the same. It involves fae but it is a different story. There were some other small aspects that in and of themselves are typical of many Urban Fantasy stories but when you put them all together, it just really felt like some aspects of this story were, um...“inspired” by the Fever series.
- There were a few more typos than I expected but nothing excessive or distracting…just a handful more than I thought there should be. There were also a few "huh?" moments in the story like when Eli gets upset and leaves Ember alone in the woods even though he has repeatedly told her not to go off alone in the woods.
So, it may sound like I had a lot of issues with the story, but in fact, I did really enjoy it. It is usually a good sign when I can have several issues with a book yet still like it and want to read more. The story engaged me. It kept me turning the page and I wanted to keep reading when I had to put it down. However, given the unresolved nature of the ending, I am expecting the remaining books will follow the same cliffhanger pattern so I will probably wait until subsequent books are released before continuing the series.
“If you have a tattoo in this town, it’s assumed you’re in a tough biker gang. But let me give you a little advice, it helps if you do have a bike.”
“I got a ten-speed. Does that count?”
“You are so badass.”
“Hey, when I ring the bell, you should see them clear out of the way.”
Heat Level: Sweet/Sensual but sexually charged. Kissing/groping but nothing else.
Cover Art: Very Good – It attracted my attention right away and made me want to read the blurb and sample the book. I like the way the cover elements represent the way Ember is described in the book with red streaks in her hair and different color eyes.
Word Count: approx. 94,800 (including back matter)
Kindle locations: 4113 (story text ends at 97%)
Ebook includes a Table of Contents and a Glossary