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I Belong

Review: Darkness of Light by Stacey Marie Brown

Darkness of LightTitleDarkness of Light

AuthorStacey Marie Brown

Genre: NA Paranormal Romance

Series: Darkness Series (Book #1)

Publication Date: February 13, 2013

Format: Paperback, 298 Pages

ISBN-10: 098901312X (Twisted Fairy)

ISBN-13: 978-0989013123 (Twisted Fairy)

Reviewed by: Kelly


Freak. Witch. Crazy. Schizo.

Ember Brycin has been called them all. She’s always known she’s different. No one has ever called her normal, even under the best circumstances. Bizarre and inexplicable things continually happen to her, and having two different colored eyes, strange hair, and an unusual tattoo only contributes to the gossip about her.

When the latest school explosion lands her in a facility for trouble teens, she meets Eli Dragen, who’s hot as hell and darkly mysterious. Their connection is full of passion, danger, and secrets. Secrets that will not only change her life, but what and who she is—leading her down a path she never imagined possible.

Between Light and Dark, Ember finds a world where truth and knowledge are power and no one can be trusted. But her survival depends on finding out the truth about herself. In her pursuit, she is forced between love and destiny and good and evil, even when the differences between them aren’t always clear. At worst, she will incite a war that could destroy both worlds. At best, she will not only lose her heart but her life and everyone she loves. Once the truth is out, however, there will be no going back. And she’ll definitely wish she could.

Quick & Dirty: Darkness of Light became a favorite long before I finished the last page thanks to its sarcastic wit and searing sexual tension. Brown’s animated writing style sets the pages on fire with memorable and mysterious characters, firmly placing Ember and Eli in the top five of my all-time favorite kickass couples. Fans of paranormal romance and urban fantasy will definitely find a lot to love with this story!

Opening Sentence: What a terrifying mess this night turned out to be.

Excerpt: No

The Review:

I love to sleep. Voluntarily missing any amount of pillow time is as inconceivable to me as walking away from free money or not ogling a photo of a shirtless Chris Hemsworth – it simply does NOT happen. Therefore, finding myself completely engrossed in Ember’s story and unwilling to put Darkness of Light down at 2 am was either A) a sign of the impending apocalypse; or B) proof of how un-freaking-believable a story this is.

Ember Brycin is an immensely likeable thanks to a wicked sense of sarcastic humor and tenacious loyalty to her friends Ryan and Kennedy. Though she mostly tries to avoid conflict, she’s perfectly capable of defending herself by delivering some of the best verbal beat-downs I’ve heard. It’s not that she doesn’t care what others think about her; she just has more to worry about than being the target of cruel high school gossip. Like why nearby electrical things seem to blow up whenever she’s upset or how she’s the only one seeing the impossible fairy-tale creatures around her town. Then there’s the blue-eyed stranger who appears like a ghost in the woods – and later in her dreams – with cryptic messages about protecting her from some unknown threat.

It’s been five years since she found the gruesome remains of her mother’s murdered body but Ember is sure the strange occurrences and hallucinations are proof she’s suffering a mental breakdown. She’s desperate to hide these things from her adoptive father, forcing herself to focus on getting through the last few months before graduation instead. Then she finds herself at the center of another “occurrence” and at the top of the local Sheriff Weiss’ crap list. Convinced Ember is a danger to the other students in her school, Weiss only gives her one option if she still wants to graduate as planned – attend a school for troubled teens called Silverwood.

Silverwood turns out to be a fairly decent place with one delectable and infuriating exception: Eli Dragen. Eli may be “a guy whose boxers you want to stay permanently on your floor,” but he’s also a member of a notorious motorcycle gang and scary as hell. At times more acting predatory animal than man, Eli incites a physical reaction in Ember whenever he’s near. She can’t help but be drawn to him despite his bipolar reactions to her; one minute they’re hot and heavy, the next he’s shredding her heart. Their antagonistic and sexually-charged banter makes their attraction palpable, a feat not many writers can pull off and something Brown deserves kudos for accomplishing. It’s clear Eli doesn’t want to admit that a connection exists between them…or that he knows a lot more about the strange things happening in Ember’s life than he lets on.

Ember becomes more determined than ever to find out what Eli knows about the little extra in her DNA after she’s able to stop a boy at Silverwood from falling, even if it means putting herself in dangerous situations. Something Lorcan, Eli’s more threatening and creepy older brother, is happy to arrange. Used as a bargaining chip in a world she never knew existed outside the bedtime stories told by her mother, Ember finally gets some answers when she comes face-to-face with a woman who can destroy everything and everyone Ember has ever cared about.

I immediately one-clicked the second book in the series as soon as I finished Darkness of Light. Brown has written the kind of fun, angst-filled read that’s my favorite kind of escape after a crappy day. She does an amazing job weaving clues about Ember and Eli’s true identities into the story where it feels like you’re actually getting to know a person and not simply a character. This approach gives the story a smooth arc that subtly propels Ember into a new reality without making the changes too overwhelming. Darkness of Light is an entertaining blend of urban fantasy and paranormal romance and I’m anxious to see where Brown leads one of my new favorite fictional couples!

Notable Scene:

“Problem?” Eli’s voice had a cruel taunting tone to it.

Picking my head up, I gave him a sharp look. “You’re fucking kidding me, right?”

“I don’t kid about fucking.”

I flushed under his steady gaze. The last thing in the world I wanted was to show him that he could embarrass me, especially with his sexual innuendos. I pressed my lips together, fighting back the heat rising in my body. “You may not, but I’m sure most of your girlfriends found it a joke,” I shot back.

“Ouch.” A ghost of a smile tugged at his lips. “So, I’m gathering you have a problem working with me?”

I let out a bitter, crazed laugh. He was enjoying getting a rise out of me as if I were his personal voodoo doll he could needle. This guy could seriously provoke me. I sat up, looking him directly in the eye. “Listen, I’m not any happier about this than you, but I’m going to try to make the best out of this situation.”

“I know a few ways you could make this situation better,” he said, leaving me guessing at his meaning. My cheeks were already flushed from the earlier implications, and the imagery still rocketed in my head. I couldn’t let myself linger on it for too long.

“What? Like running to Mrs. Sanchez and crying like a little girl?”

His face darkened as his eyes locked on mine. Dread and dizziness swept over me as I realized pissing him off was not the brightest idea. Not that I could help pissing people off, especially him. It seemed to come with the territory of being me. He moved in closer, stopping only inches from my face.

“I didn’t run,” he said through clenched teeth. “I skipped.”

The Darkness Series:

1. Darkness of Light

2. Fire in the Darkness

2.5 Beast In The Darkness (An Elighan Dragen Novelette)

3. Dwellers of Darkness

4. Blood Beyond Darkness (August 2014)


FTC Advisory: I purchased an eBook copy of Darkness of Light. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.


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