Over the summer, Pamela and Kati recommend this series to me, and I bought the first book but then never got around to reading it. A bit ago I received an arc of the third book, Going Under and saw many positive reviews for it on Goodreads and decided it was time to give this series a try. How pleasantly surprised I was! And I say that because it’s hard for me to find a new paranormal series to get excited about. Lauren Dane writes an exciting world filled with witches, mages, shifters and other supernatural creatures. The world building is extensive yet not overbearing. What stands out though, are her characters. Each book features a new hero and heroine, although the world builds upon itself so I encourage you read them in order.
Goodreads blurb: Meriel Owen, next in line to control the largest organization of witches in the country, is asked to investigate the owner of a notorious club reportedly siphoning magic from the font of the Clan. It’s a direct violation of the Clan Code of Conduct, but one look at Dominic Bright and Meriel’s willing to make a deal. One taste of the sexually feral outlaw witch, and she’s eager to go further: he’s her bond mate, a legal conduit into the world of Clan witches and their magic.
Playing by the rules isn’t Dominic’s style, but bonding with Meriel—night after explosive night—is. However, Meriel has unwittingly invited someone else into her world: Dominic’s mother, a dangerous and poisonously influential magic addict whose lust for death and power corrupts all she touches. Now her shadow is closing in on Meriel, her Clan, and the man Meriel loves, and it’s casting them all into the inescapable heart of darkness
This book starts with the bondmate/insta-lust between Meriel and Dominic, who meet for the first time at the beginning of this book. Dominic was raised knowing he was a witch, but not in a clan, so he doesn’t know everything there is to know. When Meriel realizes he is her bond-mate, she calmly explains they are going to have a future together. What really stands out about this book is how mature Meriel and Dominic are. You can’t pick your bondmate and they take a step back and make sure they give each other enough space and information so they can proceed forward in their life reasonably.
It’s damn refreshing. Their relationship may be a tad on the too perfect side, but it made me so happy the way they used each other, their friends and their family for support. There was no indignation or immature running away. They always thought things through like an adult and I just really liked that aspect of the book. And it’s damn sexy. DAMN sexy. Dominic has that bad boy feel, yet he is so generous and kind. Meriel is a super smart, strong heroine. I loved her relationship with her best friend Nell too. The action and mystery with the suspense part of the book may have fizzled a teeny bit towards the end, but overall I enjoyed this one. Sooo..I immediately started book two.
Goodreads Blurb: The life of Lark Jaansen, hunter in Clan Gennessee, has been shaped by violence and unrest—and it defines her future. Well-trained and resilient, she’s met her militaristic match in Simon Leviathan, a warrior not of this world. Locked in mutual admiration, and a desire so hot it burns, Lark and Simon have something else in common: they love the dark, and as a shadow is cast over their world, they’re each coming into their own.
A mysterious war has been waged among the Others. As witches and humans turn against each other, as faes retreat in fear, and as vampires rise, Lark and Simon discover that an unseen force is behind it. A single, hungry entity older than recorded history has returned to gorge on the magick of his victims. He is the Magister, nothing less than the end of time. Finding him is Lark and Simon’s first hope. Surviving him is their last.
Again, another sexy, well done book. Lark has blue hair and is pretty strong and independent. She comes to Clan Owen to help them figure out their mage situation, only to realize there is a much more evil force at work – The Magister. She meets Simon a powerful and old Lycian (shifter) and while their romance takes much longer to evolve than the romance in book one, Simon pretty much knows from the beginning Lark is the one for him.
Again I felt like this book has very mature relationships and at the same time, the heroine again is a little too perfect. She lectures and schools the hero a lot. Not annoyingly a lot but it stood out to me. Either way, a well done romance and I really like where Lauren Dane is taking this world. I can’t wait to start book three Going Under, which comes out February 5.
***Also note – Lauren is giving away 15 copies of Heart of Darkness (closes tomorrow) and then Chaos Burning at her blog!