In the hospital ER where she works, Mary is used to chaos. But lately, every aspect of her life seems adrift. She’s feeling disconnected from herself. Voices appear in her head. And the vivid, disturbing dreams she’s had all her life are becoming more intense. Then she meets Michael. He’s handsome, enigmatic and knows more than he can say. In his company, she slowly remembers the truth about herself…
Thousands of years ago, there were eight of them. The one called the Deceiver came to destroy the world, and the other seven followed to stop him. Reincarnated over and over, they carry on—and Mary finds herself drawn into the battle once again. And the more she learns, the more she realizes that Michael will go to any lengths to destroy the Deceiver.
I adore Ms. Harrison’s Elder Races series. One of the most appealing parts of that series is the humor. I lol at some of the Dragos and Pia moments. This new series is completely different and I think the complete tone change for Ms. Harrison threw me a little. The Elder Races is funny and has some really likable characters. The Game of Shadows series is dark, serious and I am on the fence about the characters.
Michael is almost cold and harsh in his duty to the cause. Every now and then we got glimpses of his inner core where he so adored Mary but for the most part it was impossible to break through his hard shell. I don’t think it helped that the first 50% of the book was spent on a ton of world-building and setup. That only left 50% of a full book for us to get to know our hero. It wasn’t enough and I never warmed up to Michael. It’s not that I didn’t like him, it’s just as if I never fully understood him or was far enough into his head to jump onboard with him and his cause.
Since the first part of the book is about Mary and her learning the world as we did, I did understand her more. But that understanding didn’t come with too much emotion either. For her, I felt, almost apathy? That is not the best word but she wasn’t strong enough, she wasn’t wholly weak, she wasn’t sure of her powers, she denied who she was….I just never got the sense of her as a person. She intrigues me though. I look forward to more time with her.
The mated pair part of the story is well done. Oftentimes we are given the mated excuse as a reason to not develop the relationship. There is a bit of that here as these two have been mated for centuries. But the difference it that they have not have not always been “together”. It is explained that their souls recognize each other but they have not always taken the form of lovers. Also, Mary is very hesitant to give over to the idea of mates because she is just learning about her history. Michael has always known it was Mary for him and has saved himself for her. Virgin hero alert!!
There are two other mate pairs mentioned in the story. They are said to have been destroyed but I almost think they will come back. There is nothing in they story that even hints to something like that but to have even mentioned them several times makes me think they will play a larger role.
One thing I found interesting is that I didn’t hate the bad guy. He is certainly a bad guy but he is a likable bad guy, if that makes any sense. There are large parts of the book done from his side of the story and, whether on purpose or not, he isn’t awful. He has a sense of being a real person. Maybe that is just what I read into it but I am not anxiously awaiting his demise which could be a bad thing considering the way the story should go.
Rising Darkness is a very detailed and intriguing start to a new series. I caution lovers of Ms Harrison’s Elder Races series to go into this one with an open mind. I was looking for something similar to her first series and that isn’t what I got. This series is classified as PNR but I think it straddles the line between UF and PNR especially since it focuses on one relationship and more world-building/conflict than romance. Maybe that will change as the series goes on but for now it is definitely not about the romance. Final grade- B-
She was revolutionary, transformative. He had not known beauty before he looked at her. He had not known desire, until he touched her face.