Release Day Book Review: Rising Darkness by Thea Harrison

Title: Rising DarknessRising Darkness by Thea Harrison 
Series: Game of Shadows, Book 1
Author: Thea Harrison
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Sensuality Rating: Steamy
Source: review copy from publisher via NetGalley
Published: April 2, 2013 by Berkley Sensation

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.

Then she remembers who killed her during her last life, nine hundred years ago…Michael.

Reviewed By: J9

In a Nutshell: Good first book with lots of unique world building. Readers be warned: both the romance and the plot lack full resolution as this is clearly a series set-up.

The Set Up: Mary is an ER doctor who feels her mental state is falling apart when she starts hearing voices and her vivid dreams seem real. When mysterious men try to kill her, Mary goes on the run—right into the arms of Michael, a mysterious man she can’t help but feel she knows.

Why I Read this Book: Hello, Thea Harrison fan here!

What I Liked: I love good world building and Harrison is a master at it. In this world there were eight beings from another universe until one, the Deceiver, came to earth thousands of years ago. The others followed to prevent him destroying Earth and they’re reincarnated time and again fighting the Deceiver. Mary and Michael’s current incarnations are drawn to each other but the best part is how they were together in the past. Harrison’s talent as a writer comes through in how she weaves together Mary and Michael’s past and present. This could be confusing and messy in the hands of a less accomplished author but here it adds a good tension and mystery.

What I Also Liked: The plot of the Deceiver chasing Mary ebbed and flowed really well. There was urgency to it that kept me turning the pages. The Deceiver is a perfectly creepy villain and how Mary and Michael outmaneuver him in this battle showcases their partnership and romance. I hope the other beings like Mary and Michael make comebacks as they sound so interesting from what little is written about them. I want a community for Mary and Michael and hope that the ghost Nicholas remains with them as well as the weakened Astral.

What I Didn’t Like: The romance is slow here. The leads don’t even meet until 100 pages into the story. Once they do the romance develops well but it has only one moderately erotic scene though the emotional intimacy is a bit more intense. Since this is a series set-up I’m not surprised that the romance is just budding here but I think readers should be aware this is going to be a series romance and expect a slower development than Harrison’s Elder Races romances.

IMO: Rising Darkness is a good book I flew through. I think a lot of readers will want to know how this book compares to Harrison’s Elder Races series but IMO it’s not fair to compare this one book in a new series to an established, beloved series like the Elder Races. Still, I will say this is totally different and may not be for all Harrison fans.

J9’s Rating:
3 Frogs

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About J9: Vegan. Avid runner. Android addict. Never without a book in hand. Currently devouring MM romance but reads historial romance and paranormal romance as well. Follow J9 on Twitter.


  1. I love the premise of this series, and love that we will get historical backgrounds on these intertwined characters.

    Love me some Thea!

    1. Yes, this is different than the others, I'd say a tad darker in tone with more action and suspense than romance but still good. LMK when you get to it.


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