• Light vs. Dark
Darkness Brutal Book Cover Darkness Brutal
The Dark Cycle
Rachel A. Marks
Young Adult Fantasy
July 1, 2015
Kindle E-book

Aidan O’Linn’s childhood ended the night he saw a demon kill his mother and mark his sister, Ava, with Darkness. Since then, every three years the demons have returned to try to claim her. Living in the gritty, forgotten corners of Los Angeles, Aidan has managed to protect his sister, but he knows that even his powers to fight demons and speak dead languages won’t keep her safe for much longer.

In desperation, Aidan seeks out the help of Sid, the enigmatic leader of a group of teens who run LA Paranormal, an Internet reality show that fights demons and ghosts. In their company, Aidan believes he’s finally found a haven for Ava. But when he meets Kara, a broken girl who can spin a hypnotic web of passionate energy, he awakens powers he didn’t know he had―and unleashes a new era of war between the forces of Light and the forces of Darkness.

With the fate of humanity in his hands, can Aidan keep the Darkness at bay and accept his brilliant, terrifying destiny?

free copy“Darkness Brutal, Darkness Fair…It Waits…”

The night and the darkness can be brutal. This is especially true if you can see demons and ghosts, like Aiden O’Linn can. For Aiden the night is alive with the stuff of most people’s worst nightmares. And the days are not much better, since he can also see the true content of people’s souls, and can tell when they are lying. While these might be useful talents, they are also exhausting, since he is aware of humanity at its worst.  Aiden has spent his entire life trying to hide his abilities and to appear as normal as possible, while also grappling with the hardships of being a homeless teen, and trying to ensure the safety of his younger sister Ava. For Aiden, not only is the darkness brutal, but so is life itself.

As you may have guessed from the five star rating I gave to this book, I thoroughly enjoyed it! I’ve mentioned before that I am partial to books featuring angels and demons, but this book put a unique twist on the genre, which I thoroughly appreciated. For example, Aiden is neither an angel, nor a demon himself, but something totally new (I won’t give it away here), whose destiny is linked with the Lights of the world, who are being protected by an ancient prophet. The angels and demons in the story serve mainly as supporting characters, and the book focuses on the humanity of Aiden and his allies, underscoring the idea that our world is worth saving from the powers of darkness.

Like most YA books, Darkness Brutal features a love triangle, which promises to become more complicated as the series progresses. Kara is a dark and damaged girl, whose destiny seems to be helping Aiden realize the full extent of his power, which will be brought into being through their intimacy. Their love is equal parts sweetness and tragedy, simmering with undertones of almost carnal desire. Meanwhile, loving him from afar is an innocent girl named Rebecca, whose purity is a stark contrast to Kara’s brokenness. For my part, I am firmly Team Kara, but I look forward to seeing Aiden’s relationship with Rebecca evolve, since she is destined to lead him on his journey in some way.

Finally, there is the mystery involving the true identity of Ava. Is she a Nephilim, a demon spawn, or something else? The only certain thing about her is her desire to keep Aiden safe from the forces of hell, which may actually include herself. It seems that she may have been created as a dark foil to Aiden, who is destined to lead the powers of Light in their battle against the Dark. One  Ava is the key to something, but that mystery is left to be solved in the next book, Darkness Fair. Look for my review of it coming soon, in preparation for the third book in the series, Darkness Savage. I absolutely cannot wait to see what happens to Aiden and Kara, and the rest of their motley crew of allies!

You can get the e-book version of Darkness Brutal by clicking here. Give it a read, and then let me know what you think!