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I Belong


Review: Dwellers of Darkness by Stacey Marie Brown

Dwellers of DarknessTitleDwellers of Darkness

AuthorStacey Marie Brown

Genre: NA Paranormal Romance

Series: Darkness Series (Book #3)

Publication Date: February 11, 2014

FormatPaperback, 344 Pages

ISBN-100989013146 (Twisted Fairy)

ISBN-13: 978-0989013147 (Twisted Fairy)

Reviewed by: Kelly

Synopsis:

Some days feel like years, but in Ember Brycin’s case just the opposite is true. She had only been in the Otherworld for a day or two when she escaped with her mom, Kennedy, and Jared to the Earth realm. But it’s three years later on Earth. Em would be 22 now—if she was a human. But she’s not. She is a Dae—part Demon and part Fay—with a little Dark Dweller thrown in to make her even more of a freak.

One thing that hasn’t changed, though, is her undeniable connection to Eli Dragen, who is sexy, gorgeous, and even more frustrating. But her problems go way past him.

The Seelie Queen of the Otherworld still holds Mark, Em’s father, and her friends, Ryan, and Josh as hostages. Em needs to rescue them without, once again, getting caught and being used as a pawn to help the Queen regain possession of Earth. At the same time Lars, the Unseelie King, reminds Em she is bound to him and has to locate the Sword of Light to fulfill the prophesy and kill the Queen.

As the tension for war mounts between the Seelie and Unseelie (Light and Dark), the tension at the Dark Dweller’s compound mounts even more as they prepare to obtain the sword no matter what the price. But is Ember the answer to the location of the sword? Is she the one to fulfill the prophecy? As usual nothing is ever what it seems.

Quick & Dirty: This series just keeps getting better! Dwellers of Darkness has it all: sexual chemistry so hot it scorches the page, entertaining characters, a fast-paced plot and enough secrets to keep you guessing. Eli and Ember continue to be one of my all-time favorite couples and I can’t wait to see how their story ends.

Opening Sentence: Some days can feel like years.

ExcerptYes

The Review:

There is nothing Ember Brycin won’t do for the people she cares for. Give herself up to Lorcan and his band of un-merry Dark Dwellers? Pssssh. Face the Seelie Queen with nothing more than her sarcastic wit and spunky attitude? Done. Making – before then breaking – a promise to the Unseelie King? That just makes things interesting! And things are definitely more interesting when she pops back into the human realm.

Ember has returned with a mother she believed dead (and human), a best friend who also happens to be the last living Druid and a fresh recollection of what Eli Dragen feels like naked. Problem is that while it’s only been a few days in the Fay realm, three years have passed on Earth. Eli has become more Dark Dweller than man during Ember’s absence and their relationship…well, things are back to the way they were when they first met. This made me extraordinarily happy since I’m one of those jaded people who enjoy angst-filled sexual tension. Their antagonistic banter is just as fun in this third book as it was in the first two and keeps the relationship amusing.

Still, as entertaining as it is to have them constantly at each other’s throats, it’s even more gratifying to see them progress. One of the things I love most about Ember and Eli as a couple is that they’re equals. Unlike other stories where the girl is trying to either change herself or the guy to make a relationship work, Ember and Eli are content with who they are. Eli is always going to be an egotistical but sexy-as-hell Dark Dweller. She’s the only Dae-Dark Dweller hybrid ever – something she obviously still needs to work on embracing, but makes her powerful enough to take on almost any other Fae. Knowing they’re both stubborn and opinionated doesn’t diminish their desire since they both want a partner that challenges them. Yet a genuine connection and sizzling sexual chemistry aside, Ember and Eli do have serious issues that need to be addressed if they hope to have a happily ever after. Like how Ember is oath-bound to Torin, which basically means they’re in a prearranged marriage. Or why Eli let Ember believe that he killed her mother.

Of course it would be helpful if Ember’s mother, Lily, would provide some answers, but her hatred of Dark Dwellers in general – and Eli in particular – seems to take precedence over Ember’s happiness. If there were an award for Worst Mother Ever, Lily would be among the finalists. She has: 1) faked her own horrific death; 2) allowed her thirteen-year-old daughter to find the gruesome remains; 3) lied to Ember about the true identity of her father; and 4) told her nothing about the Fay world. This might be excusable if Lily knew nothing about the prophecy that prompted the Seelie Queen to murder all the Dae and Druids, but she did know. This prophecy states that there is only one who can wield a powerful weapon known as the Sword of Light and kill the Seelie Queen. The fact that even the Unseelie King believes Ember is the one mentioned in the prophecy means that Lily has only endangered Ember more by not telling her the truth. I actually fist-pumped when Ember stood up for herself and made it clear that her mother needed to come clean about what she knows to remain part of Ember’s life.

(Speaking of unscrupulous family members, is it too bloodthirsty for me to say that someone needs to take Lorcan out soon? The guy has shot Eli, kidnapped Ember, given Ember’s stepfather and another young Dark Dweller to the Seelie Queen, killed Ember’s friends and yet is still somehow walking around making more trouble? I understand if Eli can’t be the one to take him out since Lorcan is his brother, but come on!)

Granted, none of their lives may last much longer if they can’t figure out where the Sword of Light is buried. Even though Ember doesn’t want to bring her friend any further into the Fay world than what she’s already suffered through, Kennedy’s value as the last Druid is clear since she’s the only one who can locate the Sword. Unfortunately, training a Druid is something which most of them have little experience with. Luckily, the Unseelie King sees the value in keeping both Ember and her loved ones alive while Kennedy learns the magical ropes. When a map is accidentally uncovered, Ember is the only one who can bring all of the competing groups together to accomplish their common goal to kill the Seelie Queen.

If you’ve read my reviews for the previous books in the series, you know that I’m a big fan of Brown’s animated writing style. This isn’t the type of dry fantasy book where you have to memorize family names or keep a notebook to keep the characters straight. Dwellers of Darkness has another cliffhanger ending that left me wanting more RIGHT NOW. More secrets, betrayals and surprises where packed into this book than either of the previous ones, so I do suggest reading the series in order. Knowing there’s only one book left in the series is both exhilarating and heartbreaking. There’s so many mysteries still to be solved, yet it also means saying goodbye to characters and a world I’ve come to love. I know Brown will give us a spectacular ending to Ember and Eli’s story and cannot wait until August!

Notable Scene:

Finally, I pulled away, both of us breathing heavily. My eyes burned into his.

“I’ve come to recognize this week that you are a serious pain in the ass. I will probably come to regret telling you this, but I’ve realized I can live without you, Dragen. I just don’t want to.”

A grin hinted at his mouth. “Ditto, Brycin.”

He went to kiss me again. I knew how things would turn out if I let it. And this is where the vicious cycle lay. Eli and I never talked about or solved the problems between us.

I drew away. “We need to talk.” Even I cringed as the words came out of my mouth. Eli’s eyebrows went up. “Yeah, I can’t believe I uttered those words either. But we do.” My teeth tugged at my bottom lip, gathering my words. “I never wanted a normal guy or a typical relationship. It’s not who I am. I wouldn’t be happy with a ‘nice’ guy.” I made quotes in the air.

“A nice guy wouldn’t be able to handle you,” Eli agreed with a smirk.

“We can’t keep going around like this. I can’t take it anymore not with everything else going on. I want one thing I can rely on.” My toe rubbed at the cracks in the wood floor. “Not that we won’t fight, be sarcastic, or drive each other mad because it’s who we are. I can’t take the hot and cold from you. I want to know you are in this… you want this.” I motioned between us.

Eli’s chest expanded as he took in a deep breath, his arms crossing defensively. He was silent for a few moments before uttering, “I want you.”

Happiness, desire, and fear fought through my body. “If you really mean it, we can’t have secrets between us. I don’t want someone trying to be my protector; I want a partner. If we are in this together, we are in this as equals. I am no delicate little girl. I need the truth all the time. Harsh or scary as it might be.”

“Agreed. But, in all fairness, I’ve never seen you anything but as equal… even times I didn’t want you to be.”

“Then tell me the truth now. Tell me what happened between you and my mother.”

A frown cut across his mouth, and he shook his head. “I can’t. It is the one thing I cannot talk about.”

Frustration burned up my esophagus. “Why? What happened between you? We said no more secrets. Tell me. Why do you  both keep things from me?”

“I cannot tell you. You need to ask your mother.” Eli’s eyes flashed red, his jaw set. “Decide now if this changes things for you.”

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)

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

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