Title: King of Darkness (Amazon)
Series: Chronicles of Yavn, #1
Author: Elizabeth Staab
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Sensuality Rating: Steamy
Source: review copy from author
Published: February 2012 by Sourcebooks
This first book in a hot, edgy, dark paranormal romance series from a debut author has all the right stuff: a deep urban fantasy feel, a take-no-crap tough heroine and a sexy, arrogant vampire king who gets his comeuppance.
Isabel Anthony has lived a carefree existence masquerading as human, but when this party-girl meets the king of vampires, her world turns deep, dark, and dangerous double-quick. Thad Morgan is looking for the prophesied mate who will unlock his powers. But when he finally finds Isabel in a seedy nightclub, he thinks fate must have gotten it wrong.
Reviewed By: J9
In a Nutshell: The world-building and the secondary characters are much better than the lukewarm lead romance. I’ll read subsequent books because of the plot arc, not necessarily because the author created a great romance.
The Set Up: Isabel has lived the life of a vampire party-girl, getting her blood substance from humans in the skanky clubs she visits. Thad just inherited the vampire throne and needs to find his prophesied mate to unlock his powers. Thad is shocked to find his mate, Isabel, in a club drinking from a human woman. Now Thad has to convince Isabel to mate with him while the wizards are escalating their war against the vampire nation and Thad personally.
Why I Read this Book: As I’ve said before, paranormal romance is the toast and peanut butter of my reading world. I’m always looking for new authors, especially debut authors as Staab is.
What I Liked: The secondary characters are outstanding here! Staab creates a wonderful community of vampires (and one lone human, Lexi, Isabel’s BFF.) There are too many to share but here are some of my favorites:
- Lovable, indefatigable Lexi, Isabel’s fearless best friend who admittedly falls in love too quickly and has been burnt by life.
- Lee, Thad’s personal security guard who was played by a vampire seductress but is now reluctantly attracted to human Lexi.
- Siddoh, the uber-mysterious oldest vampire who is a bit of a rogue mixed with a mad scientist.
- Tyra, Thad’s half-human sister with inexplicable powers, including teleportation.
- Anton, a wizard who refuses to hurt Tyra and who is nearly killed by the wizards because of it.
I could go on and on with the outstanding secondary characters but this give you an idea. The author’s strength is clearly in the characters she creates and I know other readers will love them like I did.
What I Also Liked: The mythos isn’t too unusual with vampire warriors and magic-wielding wizards but it’s well written. There is a lovely touch with how red wine affects vampires that will have readers chuckling as I did. This world is similar to J.R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brother but a lot lighter in tone. The battles flow well and set up this world well for subsequent books (next one out in January 2013). I will definitely read the next book, especially since it features Tyra, who was left missing in the cliffhanger ending in King of Darkness.
What I Didn’t Like: I didn’t hate the romance between Isabel and Thad but I didn’t love it either. The couple seems to connect sexually but the emotional intimacy was two-dimensional in my opinion. Isabel fell back on the excuse “I’m a party girl” too often for my taste and didn’t seem to care about what Thad was going through trying to become the vampire leader. In fact, I’d go so far as to say I think Isabel was slightly selfish and bratty. I didn’t like her character all that much and think Thad deserved someone stronger.
IMO: Don’t let the lukewarm, though sexy, romance prevent you from reading this good paranormal debut. The secondary characters alone make the novel a good investment.