When one of my blog readers suggested I try a Donna Grant book, I looked her up on Goodreads and was pretty impressed to see how many books she has with a four star rating or above. So I picked up this first installment in her Dark Sword series. Though it had some engaging moments, I am sad to say that this book wasn’t a big hit for me. I liked the concept, but it suffered from a classic case of insta-love, paired with characters which felt more built in a mold, than uniquely forged.
The set-up is intriguing. Hundreds of years ago, powerful Druids called up some ancient Gods to help fight off Roman invaders. When their job was done, the Gods wouldn’t leave, but the Druids did manage to bind them inside the warriors they inhabited. There, they stayed dormant, passed down to sons throughout the generations. Until one power-hungry Druid priestess tried to let the Gods back out, with her to rule them all. The MacLeod brothers were among those warriors, but they would not be her tools. They escaped her and returned to their old castle, where they have lived –immortal– in secret for the past 300 years.
Now it’s 1603. Like most people, Cara has no idea that the MacLeods live in the old rundown castle that’s rumored to be haunted. But when she almost falls off a nearby cliff, it’s Lucan McLeod who saves her life and brings her inside his home to recover. When she wakes up, she learns there is an entire world of magic and monsters that she never knew existed. And suddenly, she is thrust right in the middle of the battle between magic used for good and evil.
Lucan knows she is The One right away. Cara was going to be a nun, but one look at Lucan and she is ready to drop trou. She has never known anything of the supernatural, but she is totally ok with the fact that her new man turns obsidian and grows killer claws and fangs. In fact, she accepts all of this monster and magic business as easily as if someone told her it might rain tomorrow. I don’t want to her to be obtuse, but come on! That’s a lot to take in.
The MacLeod brothers all fit inside neat little boxes. Fallon is the eldest, who fears losing control so much that he never uses his God powers and dulls the impulse with wine. Quinn, the youngest, lost his wife and child and is subsumed by rage because he was unable to protect them. Lucan, the middle brother, feels like he needs to take care of them both and puts his own needs last in order to help the other two. There is very little else to say about any of them. The characterization is very superficial, making it difficult to care about them on any deeper level. The romance is too easy to care a great deal for it either.
This is why the book didn’t score with me. I didn’t care much about anything because I wasn’t invested. It wasn’t bad necessarily, beyond the fact that the hero’s man part was called a “rod” about 872 times over the course of the book. (A thesaurus never hurt anyone.) It was an ok read, just not one I can summon much enthusiasm for. I don’t think I’ll continue with the series, though fans of highlanders/ time travel/ immortal warriors might still enjoy the ride.
Click to purchase: Amazon
by Donna Grant
Release Date: December 29, 2009
Publisher: St. Martin’s