Author: Lex Chase
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 256 pages
Rating: B List
Blurb: Darkmore Saga: Book One
On the Coastal Bend of Texas, a hidden kingdom called Darkmore lies in ruins, and King Sevon Maraté is trapped. Using Sevon as a mouthpiece and a scapegoat, Lord Dominic rules from the shadows. Sevon copes with the unrelenting abuse by dressing in women’s finery and casting an image of graceful nobility. Born of royal verkolai blood and as beautiful as he is lethal, he possesses the ability to part the Veil separating his world from hundreds of others. His gift is his chance to escape, but Dominic refuses to relinquish his tool for power. Dominic forges an ambitious plan to invade the prosperous land of Priagust. Only a select few know the mythic kingdom of shifters exists. Sevon is out of options for his people’s survival, and cooperating with Dominic is his only chance.
On their foray into Priagust, Dominic’s men kidnap and interrogate a shifter named Jack. Even under torture, Jack’s loyalty to his kind never wavers. But as Jack’s knowledge about Darkmore’s king and its history unsettles Sevon, a curious bond begins to form. Despite Sevon’s mistrust, Jack is determined to tame Sevon’s wild heart and perhaps earn his freedom. As invasion looms, Sevon wonders if trusting Jack will lead him into another trap or if he should forget about chasing the sunrise and remain Dominic’s compliant prisoner.
100% of the presale royalties of this book will go to Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center’s Domestic Violence Service.
Review: Firstly thank you Nina for pushing this read my way. The Darkmore saga book one, has been a pleasure to read with a good storyline and a good balance of characters throughout. Plenty of action and I feel this will be a hit for those readers who enjoy fantasy/paranormal which contains f/f and m/m characters. I loved the ‘Glossary’ telling me who was who, where they came from, who lived in what lands – now that saved a lot of time and I could get right on with the story. There are fair few characters in this book, and I wasn’t there going “so they are who and they are part of where, again?” which can happen occasionally with a new series of books, or I could refer back if needed. I know it can be part of the fun and challenge getting to grips with new characters….but it is also lovely to have a little of that info up front too.
The story begins with the heir to the throne, Prince Sevon, as an ever so cute soon to be four-year-old, whose world changes overnight from that of a secure, loving environment to that of brutality and evil. Sevon grows up brainwashed and domineered by a man whose only goal is to use Sevon for his powers and prestige against their people and to overthrow the worlds of others.
Sevon appears in some ways naïve and perplexed, although when his heart pulls at him, he does his best to stand up for himself and others while knowing this will entail beatings, humiliation, rape and being chained in the dungeons for days on end. Sevon is powerless to Dominic’s demands. Dominic cruelly misleads Sevon into believing his ancestry was weak and incapable of ruling their world. Sevon has to hide his sense of humanity, empathy and compassion for humans and shifters. As time passes, Sevon is lonely, and cannot risk talking to or trusting anyone with his fears and realisations, without painful consequences. With no one to turn to and despite his powers, Sevon has no other option but to withstand the brutality, whilst living in hope of either change or finding a way out.
‘Dominic encompassed the entirety of his world…And nothing would ever change. It was easier to pretend it would all be okay.’
Dominic once respected by Sevon’s father, King Louis, who believed him to be loyal and a devoted brother-in-arms, abuses his position to take control from the Marate royal family. Dominic is domineering, crude, unrelenting, full of greed with no care to the pain of others, other than taking pleasure from it. He believes he can rule Darkmore (Aisa world) and Priagust (Shifter world) without charge or consequence, using Sevon as a tool, bullying, punishing and creating fear wherever he roams.
Jack is Sevon’s childhood friend and sweetheart, loyal throughout, no matter the trials that come his way. Separated during the hurricane that is set to destroy their palace home, Jack makes a childhood promise to king Louis to protect Sevon. Although Jack was unable to safeguard Sevon from Dominic’s evil clutches, now an adult Jack is unbending in his campaign to save Sevon and restore king Louis’ ambitions to provide an equal world between all living beings. No easy task with Sevon’s feelings of anger, doubt and inadequacy along with his confusion over his emotions for Jack. Jack’s shifter strength, mentally and physically, aid in his ability to overcome the torture he suffered during his capture by Dominic to forge ahead.
This is a fantasy tale filled with horror and bloody war, mystical happenings mixed with the reality of the human world. It is gruesome in places, with characters enduring painful, torturous deaths along with evil thoughts and actions, which is sweetened with the beauty of magic, love, survival and determination where Sevon’s allies fight to defend and defeat.
Sevon is a beautiful, magical verkolai prince; Jack is the hunky saviour of the day, Dominic is pure evil. I’m looking forward to book two.
Reviewed by Teddy