Review: Sterling by Dannika Dark

Reviewed by Jen

This is my first book from Dannika Dark, and I must be the very last person left on earth who had not read her. This author has 10,000 ratings on this book alone on Goodreads. Where have I been that I have never crossed paths with her work before?

In reading this first installment in the Mageri series, I see the spark that earned her such high regard. There is definitely something compelling in this book. Maybe it’s all of the sexy man or the strong emotions that the main character runs through. Whatever it is, I wanted to keep reading, despite a few things that bugged me.

The story follows Zoe, woman in her late 20s who is happy to live life hanging out with her best friend and her cat. But after a night out with her BFF, Zoe is attacked. Someone slits her throat and kills her. But instead of moving to heaven, hell, or some other great beyond, Zoe awakens in her body bag and has to claw her way out. She is rescued by Adam, a handsome stranger who nurses her back to health. Her appearance changes significantly and she has to leave her old life behind. She seems to wander for a while, kind of aimlessly sponging off of her savior, until she stumbles onto Justus, someone who recognizes her for what she is: a mage. Justus introduces her to a new world, filled with magic and laws she never knew existed. And though they get off to a rocky start, he becomes her mentor and friend.

I liked all of the main characters in this book. I was interested in learning more about them. But let me talk about some of those niggles I mentioned. First, as many have said before me, it was a bit off-putting to really get to know Zoe’s old life before it is completely shut off after the first several chapters. The best friend disappears, and so does the cat. I have to imagine, though, that they will come back in later books. The BFF’s mysteriously boyfriend read too much like a mage for that not to come up again. Then there is Adam. Perfect, perfect Adam. What kind of person brings home a bloody stranger and then essentially lets that person sponge off of them for weeks? That strains credibility beyond simple things like rising from the dead and moving at the speed of light. The book read like it was three different pieces of a whole. The first part, where she gets turned and moves in with Adam. The second part, where she trains with Justus. And the final act, where her maker returns. It’s more than a little bit choppy.

But despite those things, I enjoyed it quite a bit. I loved the men in Zoe‘s life. Yes, they call her Silver for the second half of the book, but I will keep my eye rolling about that to myself. I liked, too, how different Adam, Justus, and Simon were. Oh, didn’t I mention Simon? The sexy mage who is friends with Justus, this is almost like a love… Not triangle… Square, I guess? I’m rooting for Justus, folks.

Anyway, there is an awful villain here who is so easy to root against, and while the ending is not a cliffhanger, there is obviously so much more story left to tell. And I am there for it.

I wish I could better explain the intangible thing that made me enjoy this so much, but I am in good company with the other thousands of people who liked it too. I will let you know how the series unfolds.

Rating: B/B+

Click to purchase: Amazon

by Dannika Dark
Release Date: September 5, 2011


  1. This is where my love for all things Dannika Dark started out. I did have a bit of “first book in a series syndrome” with Sterling, but as I continued on, I fell in love and had to read all her books. I actually listened to them, which is such an awesome experience. She has an amazing narrator.

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