Monday, September 23, 2013

ARC Review: Darkness Rises

Darkness Rises (Immortal Guardians #4)



Krysta is used to getting the drop on vampires. Her "special abilities" aren't much, but the plan is simpleshe plays helpless pretty young thing to lure them in. Then her shoto swords come out and it's bye-bye, bloodsucker. Until one night she finds herself with an unexpected ally. He's a vampire, all right, but different. Mysterious. Handsome. And more interested in saving her skin than draining it.
Étienne has been an Immortal Guardian for two hundred yearslong enough to know that Krysta is special. He can't stop thinking about her long legs, even more than her short swords. Then he discovers the vamps she's exterminating have friends in high places, and the Guardians are in danger, too. He'll have to accept Krysta's help to save them. The stakes for a mortal are high. But the cost to his heart might be higher . . .

Wow this book was beyond all expectations!  I have been looking forward to this novel almost since I finished the last one, mainly because the heroes were brothers, French and hot as hell—how can you beat that?! Dianne did not in any way let me down.  With a dazzling warrior woman meeting her match in a sweet, but sexy French immortal, Darkness Rises has twists, turns, and traps at the turn of every page and you never know what to expect next. The Immortal Guardians are a great group and their stories always do them a great justice and I cannot wait to find out who Dianne’s next victim—oops I mean hero will be.  If you haven’t read the others in the series you may not enjoy the series as much as others who are immersed in these people’s lives, but by no means will you be lost or feel lacking if you just read this novel. 
Étienne’s life changes for him from the first word of this novel.   When he’s out hunting he is stunned to find another hunter on his turf, but not any type of hunter he would have ever expected. Krysta is a mortal, but damn if she doesn’t hold her own as she battles her way through the group of vampires she’s lured in.  Until another group comes onto the scene and he cannot leave her to die.  By rescuing her he puts into motion something he never would have imagined.  Both Krysta and Étienne are immediately attracted to each other but both are wary of trusting the other.  As their unlikely attraction leads them into an interesting partnership, their desires become more complicated and they have to face the fact that some things are inevitable.  When Krysta is pulled entirely into Étienne’s world their friendship quickly develops into a deeper need and when Krysta makes a life changing decision, they are forced to ask themselves if they are willing to let go of all their expectations and fine happiness together? And can they handle all the changes in their lives when an old enemy resurfaces and puts the lives of all the Immortals and their Seconds in danger?
Krysta is one of my favorite female characters in a long time.  She is strong willed and physically able to kick some serious vampire ass. She has been fighting and killing vampires using her special gift for years, ever since she was attacked by a group of vampires and faced with a great loss.  Her gift has served her well, making it easier than most humans for her to fight the vampires, and her strong will has made her unwilling to give up her mission, even as she is having greater difficulty and finds herself injured more than she once was. Finding out that her mission objective has been skewed from the very beginning rocks her solid foundations, but she rolls with the punches and isn't so stubborn that she denies the truths that are presented to her. Krysta is perfectly matched by Étienne.  He is sexy of course, but his best feature is his understanding and compassionate nature.   Once he learns the truth about Krysta and her goals, he is determined to keep her safe and ensure that she doesn’t have to give up her mission, but doesn’t endanger herself and those around her. He has always seemed to me to be a serious kind of guy, loyal to his family (both immediate and extended) and serious about his work, so it is nice to see Krysta lighten his heart and bring a bright spark of joy to his life.
Sometimes I find myself wishing that the H/H would slow down their overly speedy relationships, giving it more of a realistic feel;  Krysta and Étienne fulfilled my wish.  Though their attraction was obvious from their first meeting, they wait until the trust has built between them and they can come together in more than just immediate lust.  By waiting we get to see them develop a deeper and more emotional bond, before things get physical.  However, when they do jump into that side of their relationship there is certainly no lack of fireworks.  They are inventive, passionate and joyous in their time together, showing us the lighter side of the lives of the immortal warriors that are protecting our world from insane vampires. Seeing Krysta and Étienne fall in love as they face the dangers of battles, deceptions and betrayals, was amazing.  I certainly don’t know that I would have been able to put aside all the craziness around me to find true love.
While I have loved all the previous books in this series, for many reasons Darkness Rises struck a special cord in my heart.  Maybe it was the immensely entertaining Krysta with the irreverent sarcasm and deep loyalty to her loved ones or perhaps it was Étienne and how he embraces the changes that Krysta brings to his life with such dignity.  Whatever it was, I can guarantee I’ll be reading this one again and again for years to come.  Étienne and Krysta are a perfect match, with strong senses of duty, deep emotional ties to their families, and the determination to not let something as special as their unexpected love pass them by.  The return of an old enemy certainly throws the team for a loop, and their battles are well written, action packed, and a testament to the author's in-depth understanding of battles and battle tactics.   I was surprised and thrilled with the little plot turns right up until the very last page and am dying to find out what’s going to happen next in this series.  I have greatly enjoyed this series from the beginning, with each individual novel bringing more unexpected greatness to the overall plot arc and introducing great new characters for me to fall in love with.  If you haven’t read any stories in this series I recommend you go out and buy one of the books(or all of them) right now and immerse yourself in the world of the Immortal Guardians with me.  Looking forward to what’s next and HOPING the next book will bring Lisette together with her perfect match too.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Rose Rating:  

*eARC provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided. 

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