Review: Surrender the Dark by Tibby Armstrong

Reviewed by Jen

I had high hopes for this book. The premise was so intriguing. It’s a male/male romance between mortal enemies. One hero is a blind, scarred vampire hunter; the other, is the War King vamp who slaughtered the hunter’s entire family. It has two of my favorite tropes rolled into one, a scarred, tortured hero and a forbidden romance. It sounded dark and edgy and fully of sexy angst, and it was all of those things. But it didn’t work for me.

I generally enjoy an enemies to lovers story. My problem with this one is that these two wanted to have hate sex and that is not my bag. I’m all about holding on to the idea of hating someone while falling in love with them against your better judgement and those messy feelings –including attraction– leaking all over the place. That is not the same thing as wanting someone dead and still wanting to give them a blowjob. Does not compute.

I’ll give the author credit for turning my expectations on their head a little. I thought Tzadkiel was going to be the villain in this piece, but we learn it’s the hunter Benjamin’s family that were the real monsters. They were exterminating vampires on a crusade… torturing them. Poor Benjamin was only a child. And though the War King did indeed kill Benji’s family, it was because they kidnapped and nearly killed him first. Also, did I mention he’s the reason Benjamin is blind?

Benjamin was too young to understand the fault his family played. He made it his life mission to slay vamps after his parents were slaughtered. He has good reason to hate vampires and Tzadkiel has every reason to hate hunters, especially Benjamin. Yet before they get to the part where they see each other’s side of things, they already want to have sex with each other.


I hated Tzadkiel’s name. This sounds petty, I know, but it was a distraction for the entire book. So were the high end vocabulary words interspersed throughout the novel. I’m not going to stop reading to look up a word I don’t know, and it pulls me out of the story every time.

The writer made it a point to acknowledge that she wanted to respect the blindness of Benji’s character, yet we cheated it by allowing him to see in Tzadke-whatever’s presence. I found Benji emotionally weak, and lacking in self-respect. And I didn’t care about a single character in the story.

The sex that I expected to be super-sexy was just meh. There was like one sex scene and some oral.

To be fair, lots of people loved this on Goodreads. If you don’t mind lust drenched in hate, you might like it to. But it wasn’t for me.

*ARC provided by publisher

Click to purchase: Amazon

Surrender the Dark
by Tibby Armstrong
Release Date: May 23, 2017
Publisher: Loveswept

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