Review: Darkness Surrendered by Stephanie Rowe

darkness surrenderedReviewed by Jen

I had such high hopes for this book. Sometimes the anticipation is better than the payoff, and unfortunately for me, that was what happened here. The very fact that Elijah is alive was enough for me to get excited. This is a man who sacrificed his very life for his mate, a woman who has built him up in her mind as this amazing savior. He is her protector, a beloved friend to other members of the Order, and a deliciously tortured hero. Add to that, this is the book with the big climax to the series arc, and there was so much potential.  Only, I really struggled to get through this one.

Elijah has been held captive and tortured for the past couple of months. Everyone believed he was dead. So when his mate, Ana, and his friends from the Order find him clinging to life, everyone is thrilled. Unfortunately, Elijah is stark-raving crazy. Only Ana’s touch can allow him to distinguish reality from the crazed imaginings of his mind. It seems like that could make for a deeper connection between our hero and heroine, except that his need for her is only rivaled by the revulsion he feels for her.

You see, Elijah’s torture came at the hand of an Illusionist and that’s what Ana is. Not to mention, she is inadvertently responsible for much of what he endured. She spends most of the book blaming herself, lamenting about how much he must hate her, about how much is her fault… and he never really disagrees. Yeah, they have a bond between them. She keeps him from going nuts and he wants to have sex with her, of course. But for most of the book, it feels like he blames her or is at least repulsed by her for things that were out of her control entirely. Not cool.

So, issue one, the hero finding the heroine repellant. Issue two: the constant miserable internal dialogue from both characters. I love a tortured hero, but these two never stopped their self-hatred and pity party from beginning to end. For Ana, it was how terrible she was for the things she had done. For Elijah, it was all the ways he had failed. Just wah, wah, wah. Issue three: the love triangle.

It’s not exactly a love triangle so much as a mating triangle, and really, who wants that? The very idea of this sheva thing is a soul-mate bond. How can you have two soul mates at the same time? I hated it. I hated the way it made the heroine torn. For crying out loud! The villain probably held more interest for me than either main character by the end of the book, but I still didn’t want the weird three-way that was going on.

While this didn’t bother me enough to be one of my Big Issues, I also didn’t like what I felt was revisionist history between Ana and her sister Grace. In book one, theirs was made out to be a close relationship, but here, Ana acts like she’s had no one. And Grace is barely in the picture. Plus, with two other warriors breaking the curse before him, you’d think Elijah could maybe have a little faith that things could work out. And, I didn’t like the resolution of the climax.

Frankly, it was a disappointment all around. I need to take a break from this series, but I’ll probably give it another chance at some point. (Meanwhile, I should point out that several other readers loved this book. It has a 4.23 average on Goodreads. Maybe it would be better for you.)

Rating: C-

Click to purchase: Amazon

Darkness Surrendered
by Stephanie Rowe
Release Date: May 15, 2012


  1. This was my least favorite, too. I had high hopes because she’s so determined to get to him once she knows he’s real. But, then BAM whiny whiny whine. I pushed through just to get it over with. I was rewarded by the next books though.

    • Jen at Red Hot Books says:

      I’m glad to hear that. This one disappointed me so much I had to take a break from the series. But if they get better again, I’ll try some more.

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