In the first of a dazzling new romantic trilogy, one woman’s courageous search plunges her into a millennia-old supernatural war—and an irresistible passion…Hearts of Darkness: A Deadglass Novel by Kira Brady is her debut novel, and the first in a planned trilogy. A fusion, it is an excellent blend of paranormal romance with the grittiness found in urban fantasy.
Nurse Kayla Friday has dedicated her life to science and reason. But for her, Seattle is a place of eerie loss and fragmented, frightening memories. And now the only clue to her sister’s murder reveals a secret battle between two ancient mythologies…and puts Kayla in the sights of lethally-sexy werewolf mercenary Hart. He’ll do whatever it takes to obtain the key to the Gate of the Land of the Dead and free what’s left of his soul. But seducing the determined Kayla is putting them at the mercy of powerful desires neither can control. And as the clock ticks down to hellish catastrophe, the untested bond between Kayla and Hart may lead to the ultimate sacrifice.
Kayla Friday arrives at a morgue in Seattle to identify the body of her murdered sister. Having just flown in from Philadelphia and unaware that she's in a city where magic reigns, ghosts and wraiths are loose, and an ancient battle is waged by supernatural beings, Kayla steps in the middle of it all as she tries to find clues to her sister's murder, and an ancient artifact that in the wrong hands might mean the end to civilization and hell on earth for all.
Her arrival at the morgue places her in Hart's path. A mercenary werewolf, Hart has been cast out by the Kivati and is blood slave to Lord Drekar. He only has two more jobs to perform to obtain his freedom, he has hope for a future. Unfortunately for Kayla, he is also searching for the key to the Gate of the Land of the Dead. Hart is willing to go along and help the trusting Kayla find her clues and the key, but knows that in the end he will do his job. He must. The cold hearted, sexy werewolf, however, never counted on the warmhearted Kayla to make such a long-lasting impression on his body or what is left of his hardened soul.
I really liked Kayla. She's a nurse with heart and warmth. Clueless as to the supernatural world, she learns about it from Hart, a man that she sees as dangerous but trustworthy and has no choice but to follow. Kayla is not necessarily a kickass heroine, instead she's more of a protective heroine who kicks ass without using physicality to do so. I liked that. Hart is tough and rough. He's also truly angsty and torn in this story. I like the fact that he's not a black and white character in this story, but has flaws with redeemable qualities. He's sexy and protective with alpha qualities, but tender and oh so wounded and loving. Yes, I liked him. Together, Kayla and Hart make a really great couple.
The secondary characters are great. I loved both the Kivati and the Drekar characters introduced and developed in this story. I liked even more the fact that the reader really doesn't know who is good or evil, but that there are gray areas all over the place, maintaining a sense of anticipation throughout.
This paranormal romance turned out to be a good read for me. As a matter of fact I began reading it and after the first few pages, which I read slowly because the author initially throws the reader right into her world, couldn't put it down until the end. The world building is based on Native American mythology, however, later on Brady incorporates bits of Norse and Babylonian mythology into the mix. Although initially the reader is thrown into her world and this is the first book in a trilogy, fortunately this book does not suffer from "first in a series syndrome" where chunks of info dump are thrown at the reader, instead the rest of the world building is incorporated slowly as the story progresses and Kayla and Hart go on their hunt. There is enough revealed about this world to satisfy readers, however there should be more revelations in future books.
Hearts of Darkness has great atmosphere from the beginning. Brady uses Seattle as her setting, but it's a gritty, dark place where unbeknown to humans magic and a supernatural world filled with ghosts, shifters, dangerous and scary dark places exist. Between the mythology-based plot and the grittiness of the Seattle streets, Hearts of Darkness has an urban fantasy "feel" from the beginning. However, the romance between Kayla and Hart is absolutely central to this story, so definitely a paranormal romance with a happy ever after. It's a great fusion of both of these genres, as Brady almost effortlessly weaves them into one.
I did have a few problems throughout and at the end of the story where I was taken aback by the character used to solve a particular conflict. I didn't see that one coming! Thoroughout the story there's also a sense that the females in this story have either been or are about to be abused that made me uncomfortable more than once because it concerned more than one female and in more ways than one. However to be clear, there is no rape in this story.
Hearts of Darkness by Kira Brady is a paranormal romance with excellent atmosphere, interesting worldbuilding and great characters. It was a surprisingly fast read for me, the quick pace and intriguing plotting kept me glued to the pages. With some excellent Native American-based mythology, a few unusual shifters thrown in for good measure, and with a few problems that did not necessarily influence my ultimate enjoyment but that I will keep my eye on in future installments, this debut novel is a solid read.
Category: Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy
Series: Deadglass Novel
Publisher/Release Date: Zebra/August 7, 2012
Source: Kensington Books
Visit Kira Brady here.