Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Review: Rising Darkness

Reviewed by Jen
If you're a Thea Harrison fan looking for something in the same vein of her Elder Races series, stop right here.  This is nothing like that. Instead, the Game of Shadows series is something much darker, complicated and non-traditional.

Honestly, I was terribly lost in the beginning. I was almost a third of the way through the book before I finally caught the rhythm and felt like I had an idea of what was going on.  There was just so much information. But more than that, I think it was the various points of view, exacerbated by past life memories that made it hard for me to figure out who was the focus of some passages and what the relevance was. My confusion pulled me out of the story and as a result, it took me longer than usual to connect to the characters.  Once I was about 90 pages in, however, the problem had passed.

The story follows Mary, a doctor, who has never really felt like she fit... like she was never really a part of the world. She tried dating, even marriage, but never found a romantic connection, or even a desire.  She has had strange dreams all of her life about a group of beings who sacrificed their alien lives to track a fugitive to Earth.  Each had a soul mate they were forced to separate from.  And through the course of the story, she learns that she was one of those beings.  They have lived multiple lives on earth, searching for their quarry, the Deceiver, and hoping to reunite with the other half of their soul.

As the story begins, a dark force is hunting Mary, and killing whatever gets in its way.  She runs, almost straight into the path of Michael, the other half of her soul who has been searching for her for centuries.  She doesn't know him right away, but it's only a matter of time before they reconnect and recover the memories of their past lives together. They must learn to know and trust each other again if they have any chance of defeating the malevolent being bent on destroying them both.

Once Mary and Michael find their way to each other, that's when the book found legs for me.  After all, it's romance I connect to in Harrison's work.  And I loved the dynamic between these two.  Once I got to see Michael with Mary, I really appreciated having seen who he was before he found her. The contrast was what was so effective. I loved watching him come alive with her. The sexual element between them was great and I believed in the connection between them. It really was the best part of the book.

Be aware that this book does not have a finite ending.  Think of it more as the opening salvo in war between the good guys and the bad.  The story is clearly just beginning. And we still have a lot to learn, especially about our villain and the mysterious grandmother.  Now that I think I have a firm grip on the worldbuilding, I think book two will be a lot easier to jump into. It's a shame I have to wait until 2014 to see what happens next.

Rating: B-

*ARC Provided by Berkley

Click to purchase: Amazon
Rising Darkness
by Thea Harrison
Release Date: April 2, 2013
Publisher: Berkley

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