Series: Chronicles of Yavn #1
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Published by Sourcebooks on February 7, 2012
Source: NetGalley, Publisher
Purchase Links: Amazon ✦ Barnes & Noble
Book Links: Goodreads
This first book in a hot, edgy, dark paranormal romance series from a debut author has all the right stuff: a deep urban fantasy feel, a take-no-crap tough heroine and a sexy, arrogant vampire king who gets his comeuppance.
Isabel Anthony has lived a carefree existence masquerading as human, but when this party-girl meets the king of vampires, her world turns deep, dark, and dangerous double-quick. Thad Morgan is looking for the prophesied mate who will unlock his powers. But when he finally finds Isabel in a seedy nightclub, he thinks fate must have gotten it wrong.
When I first started reading King of Darkness, the pacing was a little slow for me. The start of this story feels more like Urban Fantasy, where more in-depth setup and character development is expected and less hanky panky is initiated, than Paranormal Romance… although in the end, I’d say it’s a mix of the two, sort of Black Dagger Brotherhood style. Even with the slightly sluggish start (which should not be confused with “boring”, because at no point did I find it boring!), I had a hard time putting this book down. From the very first scene, I was hooked on Thad’s path from slightly immature, hesitant new King to confident, aggressive, capable and determined leader of his people. I also loved the subplots that expanded throughout the story and drew out more and more intriguing history and personality for the secondary characters.
One of the things I liked most about the cast of this book was their relative youth and immaturity. They’re, none of them, perfect yet none of them are fatally flawed either; each one is unique and memorable, with room to grow and their own demons to overcome, and (luckily for us) this is not the kind of growth that can (or should) happen all at once. Most of all, I like that the main two characters grow and develop as the story goes on, blossoming naturally into exactly who they need to be without losing all of the edges that make them so compelling. This story skillfully makes use of the “lovers to friends” theme and all the emotional entrapment that comes with it.
Thad, the new king, is commanding enough to pull off the leadership yet immature and inexperienced in the role enough to have self-doubts and moments of dangerous hesitance. Isabel, his queen and destined mate, thinks she’s the last female who should be leading their race but falls so naturally into the role that there’s just no question she was destined for it. She and Thad complement each other in every way, and their chemistry is incredible.
The sexual tension between the characters, and I don’t mean just the main couple, is fantastic. Thad and Isabel steam up the pages, and the connection between a few of the supporting cast is thick enough to cut. The story reads a little like a soap opera, switching from scene to scene at pivotal moments, and is lengthy enough to satisfy your need to get down and dirty with the cast without it feeling too drawn out. The pacing is very satisfying and keeps you engaged the whole way through.
I feel I should mention the cliffhanger ending, for those with a serious aversion. Thad and Isabel’s story wraps up beautifully, with a healthy dose of emotional closure, but the ending segues into what will probably be the start of the next book. I’m ok with that; it just makes me want to read more!
The hero characters have take-charge personalities, the bad guys are the epitome of evil and are truly unredeemable, and the connections between the couples are visceral and searing, sensual enough to have you squirming in your chair without being over the top. I really enjoyed this book and, now that the initial groundwork setup has been laid, we should be getting into some serious drama and action as the series progresses. (Reviewed by DaVinciKittie of GraveTells.com)
Rating: 4.0 flowers, Sensuality Rating: 4.0 flames