Review: Darkness Reborn by Stephanie Rowe

darkness rebornReviewed by Jen

Some days, I feel like the odd man out… that reader that must be impossible to please. Because everyone else seems to have liked this book. Everyone but me. I enjoyed the first couple of installments in this series, but the last one was a real miss for me. A good friend assured me, though, that the series gets better. I won’t say that she lied, but I will say this is clearly a matter of perspective.

Much like the last book, I was excited about the premise. Kane has been a dark and brooding mystery since day one. He is heavily scarred and doesn’t remember anything about his life before he joined the Order. I love tortured heroes, especially when I get to see their salvation through love. Unfortunately, how it was executed was neither something a path I expected or enjoyed.

Our heroine is Sarah. She has lived her entire life in fear of the Calydon warriors who are determined to kill her. Her very own brother is on the verge of succeeding once and for all when Kane hears her mental cry for help. He saves her life and takes her under his protection. She soothes him. For the first time he can remember, he is feeling something other than the blackness that has been threatening his soul. Sarah is a being of light. She gives him peace where he had none before. And he vows he will repay that with gift by assuring her safety. And having wild sex with her.

Sarah is afraid to trust Kane. She has been burned before by a man she loved. This is not the first time she has been someone’s sheva. So the book follows her internal struggle as part of her wants to give herself over to Kane and the other, fears she will fall victim to the same violence that nearly destroyed her years ago.

I had a few problems. The first is that the emotional responses from both Kane and Sarah are totally over the top. It reminded me a little of the Christine Feehan Carpathian books, where everything is just so big and poetic. All of emotions are soul-deep. The heroine isn’t just Kane’s mate, but all that is goodness and light. Kane isn’t just conflicted, he is eroded by darkness. And again, the crazy need-filled sex bridges the gap. This made me roll my eyes. As did Ryland’s steadfast devotion Sarah and her special status. But this wasn’t was I disliked most.

The big mystery here is the question of who Kane was before he joined the Order. Sarah has her suspicions that play out over the course of the book. It was the answer that left me put off. They made our hero a bad guy. Not now, of course, but he killed his wife and child. He was the scourge of the village. Who wants a hero like that? Especially when you pair him with a woman whose last husband tried to do the very same thing. It’s hard to empathize with that, much less root for an HEA.

I just couldn’t get on board. I couldn’t believe in the emotions, because they were borderline ridiculous. They were completely unrelatable. There was nothing to the romance other than fated mates and the juxtaposition of lightness and dark. The characters were superficial, and the hero was ruined. This was just not the romance for me.

Click to purchase: Amazon

Darkness Reborn
by Stephanie Rowe
Release Date: September 7, 2012

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