Book #5: Darkness Brutal (The Dark Cycle #1) by Rachel A. Marks

25010747Blurb from Goodreads …
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?

First Impressions
Gritty. Fast-paced. Secrets. Street smart. Self protection.

*** I received Darkness Brutal in Kindle format from Rachel herself, after having read/reviewed her new release, Fire and Bone. When I read the synopsis about Darkness Brutal, I couldn’t wait to read it. All opinions of this review are my own. ***

YA. Urban Fantasy. It has the feel of many different shows/books I have read/watched in the past. It gives me a bit of a Supernatural feel (which is what hooked me to begin with), but also a fresh outlook with the setting in LA, the broken home, kids having different psychic abilities, coming into your own skin (coming of age) and learning to accept not only your history and your lineage, but also your future and its destiny.

Darkness Brutal follows Aidan as he does the best he can to keep his abilities hidden deep within, not trusting anyone, and trying to keep his sister Ava safe, and her talents hidden. Aidan lives on the streets while working (using his abilities – being a demon hunter as his most primary) for money, and visits with Ava who is in foster care. In comes Sid who helps Aidan, and Ava, by bringing them into his safe house with other teens who also have abilities (known as the Lights of the World), and in turn telling Aidan the true identity of who is father is, and for Aidan to accept his destiny.

We have a love triangle trope going on with Aidan, Kara, and Rebecca. Which is interesting to say the least. As Darkness Brutal is the first in a trilogy, I hope Rachel explores this more in the second book. Oddly enough, I can relate a fair amount to not only Kara in many ways, but also Rebecca. Poor Aidan. Stuck in the middle, not knowing really what to do. Just go with it dude.

I really, really liked this book. And appreciate what Rachel was trying to conceive with the premise of the story. I do feel that the writing/story could have been a little tighter in some places. And I would have loved to see a couple more of the side characters fleshed out a bit more. Maybe in the second book.

One of the biggest points in the story that I think was not only on point, but also well done, is the connection especially between Kara and Aidan. The assumptions that everyone around them seemed to have taken, and then it not being what those assumptions were at all. It spoke volumes, and I love Rachel for it.
*Sorry, you are just going to have to read the book to find out what I am talking about. ;)*

Alright, where’s the next book?

Rating: 3.75/5

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