I generally review romance, paranormal and urban fantasy. I tend to pick review books that I want to read, so generally my reviews will be positive. I always give my honest opinion: good, bad, and indifferent.
Note: on my blog I use a letter grading system. I've listed the ratings below. For sites with stars, I have listed the equivalent rating. If I didn't finish the book, I will not rate it with stars.
A+ Personal Favorite (5 stars)
A Loved It (4.5 or 5 stars)
A- Enjoyed A Lot (4 or 4.5 stars)
B+ Liked It A Lot (4 stars)
B Liked It -- Recommend (4 stars)
B- Liked It -- But I had a few small issues (3 or 3.5 stars)
C+ Liked It -- But I had issues (3 or 3.5 stars)
C Finished It -- Liked some, didn't like some (3 stars)
C- Finished It -- Liked a little, didn't like a lot (2 or 2.5 stars)
D Not A Big Fan (2 stars)
E Don’t Waste Your Time (1 star)
TW: Reading this book was like watching a Train Wreck
DNF: Did Not Finish
updated July 9, 2015
My Rating: B, Liked It
Originally posted at That's What I'm Talking About
Review copy provided by NetGalley
Drake is a dragon shifter, a species thought to be extinct. Four months ago, he was pulled back to earth after being trapped in hell for over 1,500 years. He was saved by Finn Stavros and his pack of wolf-shifters. Now he lives among them, knowing that his one and only mate, Victoria, is the pack’s healer.
Victoria has become good friends with Drake, but wants much more. Worried that Drake is only interested in friendship and hangs with her because she’s “safe,” Victoria keeps her feelings to herself. After he notices Victoria witnessed his competition in the non-deadly shifter-fights, Drake and his adrenaline get caught up the moment, and he publicly claims Victoria as his.
Although Taste of Darkness is the second book in the Darkness series and takes place four months following the events in Darkness Awakened, it can be read without having picked up the first book. The story takes a different direction than the first book, moving from a pack of wolf shifters and vampires to dragon shifters, and the storyline is stand alone (however there is set up for future stories). I really like the shift in focus and locale, as I haven’t read many dragon shifter stories. Ms. Reus spends time developing the dragon-centric world, introducing new characters and developing a unique mythology that is separate from, but includes the previously developed wolf shifters and vampires.
Drake and Victoria are both solid characters, each coming across a bit young and unsure. Drake is this way because he was sacrificed to and trapped in hell since the age of twelve. He grew up for 1,500 years on his own, fighting demons, so when he arrived back on earth only four months ago, and without the memories of his time before hell, he knows little of modern culture and customs or anything about dragon-kind. Conversely, Victoria was alone at an early age and the Stavros pack took her in as one of their own. Because she was younger and more vulnerable, her new pack mates protected her with a fierce determination, giving her little room to blossom.
Together, the pair go from a teen-like crush to full on lust and love quickly after the story starts. Early on, I cringed when Drake made some big missteps, but was pleasantly surprised when those issues didn’t drive a wedge between the couple. I appreciate the pair’s honest and direct conversations, clearing away misunderstandings and creating a stronger bond. HOWEVER… this pair of virgins took way too long to complete the mating ritual, if you catch my drift. I was as frustrated as Victoria when Drake continually put off sex. Their constant hot then stop journey left me dissatisfied. Yet once the pair connected in every way, their relationship solidified.
The primary story focuses on the mystery of who sacrificed Drake all those years ago. The story is peppered with sections told from the anonymous antagonist’s POV along with subtle clues, leading the reader in a guessing game. Worried that Drake would recover his memories and finger him as the dragon behind his betrayal, the murderous dragon comes up with plot after plot on ways to destroy Drake, his family, and Victoria. Incidental plot lines look at dragon pack politics, regaining Drake’s connections with family and friends, and burgeoning romances for future books. I like that although the primary story concludes by the end of Taste of Darkness, the author has left open several possible avenues for future stories.
Overall, I enjoyed Taste of Darkness. I found the dragon mythology fun and a refreshing change from my usual PNR. With the shift in the focus of the series, there is substantial world building, but nothing overwhelming. The romance between main characters Drake and Victoria is sweet, but like Victoria, I was frustrated with the continual delay in mating. The Darkness series is one I will continue to read, and I look forward to seeing more of the dragon shifters.