Reading level: Adult
Trade paperback: 352 pages
Genre: Paranormal romance
Publisher: Kensington Zebra
Release date: August 7, 2012
Series: Deadglass #1
Source: Review copy from author
Reviewed by: Jenn
In the first of a dazzling new romantic trilogy, one woman’s courageous search plunges her into a millennia-old supernatural war—and an irresistible passion…
Nurse Kayla Friday has dedicated her life to science and reason. But for her, Seattle is a place of eerie loss and fragmented, frightening memories. And now the only clue to her sister’s murder reveals a secret battle between two ancient mythologies…and puts Kayla in the sights of lethally-sexy werewolf mercenary Hart. He’ll do whatever it takes to obtain the key to the Gate of the Land of the Dead and free what’s left of his soul. But seducing the determined Kayla is putting them at the mercy of powerful desires neither can control. And as the clock ticks down to hellish catastrophe, the untested bond between Kayla and Hart may lead to the ultimate sacrifice.
Named by Publishers Weekly as one of the Best Reads of Summer 2012!
HEARTS OF DARKNESS is a well-crafted paranormal romance set in an alternate Seattle with the seediest of underbellies. Kira Brady has created a brilliant world that I would not want to live in. In the Deadglass novels, there are two warring factions: the Kivati, an ancient race of shape-changers of legends that includes Thunderbirds, Ravens, Wolves, Coyotes, and more. Historically, they've protected humans and the Gate to the Land of the Dead from the Drekar, dragon-shifters who have no souls and consume those of the humans around them. The Kivati have a vaguely steampunk vibe in terms of technology, dress, and some social behaviours while the Drekar tend to be a bit more modern in some regards. This war has been hidden from humans, who are apparently more than happy to blame the damage from the war and from the ghosts that inhabit the Aether on more mundane causes.
Kayla Friday is new to this world. She comes to Seattle to claim her sister Desi's body, only to find out that her sister was pregnant and had acquired a necklace that everyone wants. Kayla ends up working with Hart, a werewolf who is an operative for the Drekar known as Norgard, who Desi had been seeing. The Kivati also want the necklace because of its ties to the Gate and Kayla and Hart have a limited time frame to figure out what Desi did with it.
My favourite part of HEARTS OF DARKNESS, aside from the world building, is probably Hart. He goes on a journey in this novel and you can see him change from start to finish. Once Kayla comes into his life, his priority goes from finishing this final mission for Norgard to something more emotional, as he connects with parts of himself that he doesn't typically access. Plus he's got some of those nice alpha male characteristics I love in a romance novel hero (even if his armour's a little tarnished). I also liked Kayla, though there were a few moments where I was baffled by her choices. I admired her dedication to her sister and her willingness to adapt but there were a couple moments where I was screaming "no, no, no" in my head as she made certain decisions. Kayla also experiences a lot of growth and self-discovery and the novel ends with the pair in a very different place than they started. In fact, that's not the only change that you'll see by the end of the novel, which is why I can't wait for the second Deadglass book to come out!
Kira Brady is a fantastic new writer and we can expect compelling, bold stories from her in the future. HEARTS OF DARKNESS is a well-crafted and original debut and I'm really looking forward to HEARTS OF SHADOW (and whatever else Kira writes!).