Sunday, March 24, 2013

Dark Light and The Dark Prince (Dark Light #1 and #2) by S. L. Jennings

Love. Sex. Magic.

Before her 20th birthday, Gabriella was pretty much clueless about all three. In love with her best guy friend since the age of 14 and too crass and intimidating for most of the male population of Colorado Springs, love and good sex were virtually a myth.  And then there’s magic. Freakin’ magic. There’s no way that legend could have a place in her less than exciting life. So why after twenty years of utter obscurity do her adopted parents hit her with the ton of bricks that is her true identity? And how the heck is she supposed to accept all this and become what she was truly created to be?Lucky for Gabs, sexy as sin Dorian is more than equipped to help her embrace these new revelations. And while everything about him feels oh so good, she soon learns that there’s more behind his crystal blue eyes, chiseled body and exotic beauty. Something dark, menacing and downright unnatural. Yet Gabs is in way too deep to even try to turn away from him now.

Dorian Skotos is Dark. And although that brand of sheer, unrelenting evil is a direct threat to her life, Gabriella is tragically in love with him.  Gabriella knew it was all too good to be true. The way his touch radiated electricity right to her core, the way his ice blue eyes somehow made panties drop involuntarily, how his sexy half-smile crumbled the barriers around her heart…Dorian was extraordinary in every way.
She ignored the alarm bells for the sake of pleasure and a little slice of peace from her mixed-up life. She thought that whatever he was, she could help him. Maybe even change him. But now that the proof of Dorian’s true identity and what he was sent for is staring her in the face, Gabriella can’t deny the inevitable. And confronting that truth could very well slaughter more than just her fragile heart.

Release Date:  October 28, 2012; March 15, 2013
Publisher:  Self Published
Pages:  313; 387
Genre:  PNR, New Adult

"I've been waiting my entire life to love you."

Five bright, big, sparkly stars for both Dark Light and The Dark Prince!  I read these books back-to-back without breathing time in between.  S. L. Jennings has written the beginnings of an excellent series that will keep you on the edge of your seat.  These two books were addictive - the characters, the world building and the plot are all top notch.  Hold on folks - I think we have a new must read author!

Dark Light introduces us to Gabriella - an ordinary, mundane girl who has grown up as the adopted daughter of a loving couple.  Gabriella isn't especially good at doing anything - she is mediocre in every aspect of her life.  The one thing she has going for her are her friends and family - she has a wonderful group of people who love her.  On Gabriella's 20th birthday, she receives a gift from her adopted mother - a book from her biological mother that lets Gabriella know that she is special - a product of a tragic love between powerful Light and Dark people.  There are two forces in the Dark Light world.  The Light that is committed to helping people and healing, and the Dark that is concerned more with evil.  The Light and the Dark have been adversaries for eternity.  Gabriella happens to be the daughter of a Light warrior mother and a Dark assassin father.  Since she is considered a half-breed, Gabriella must chose which  side she will ascend to on her 21st birthday - the Light or the Dark.  Since Gabriella is made of both Light and Dark, she is expected to be one of the most powerful practitioners of magic that the world has ever seen.

"It's just...I never wanted to be some dainty damsel in distress.  I never wanted to be rescued.  I've never been that girl.  I wanted to be the one kickin' ass and taking names.

Early in Dark Light, Gabriella meets Dorian Skotos.  Let me start my gushing by saying that Dorian is a special kind of hero.  He is all the expected things - gorgeous and sexy, rich and mysterious, powerful and brooding.  Dorian is also vulnerable and kind, living with his own horrific past and battling his true nature.  When Dorian first meets Gabriella, sparks fly.  They are immediately drawn to one another like magnets.  Dorian and Gabriella begin seeing one another and their beautiful and rocky relationship begins.  And the sex scenes!!!  Talk about heating up the pages!  The scenes between Dorian and Gabriella are among some of the best written and hottest that I've read.  I couldn't get enough of these two!

He is so bold and sure of himself, it's weirdly turning me on, and I hate it!  I breathe in his intoxicating scent, praying the rise and fall of my chest doesn't betray me.  His unyielding gaze completely unnerves me yet I can't tear my eyes from him.  I know I should; everything about him is screaming sex and danger.  The combination of the two mixed with my weakness for bad boys could very well be my kryptonite.

While Dorian and Gabriella are falling in love, there is a murderer on the loose.  Gabriella and Dorian don't know if the killer is Light or Dark, but it seems that Gabriella is the ultimate target.  Dorian does everything he can to protect Gabriella and her friends and family.  Dorian, however, returns to his home in Greece several times without much of an explanation.  Dorian has a crazy father that is also after Gabriella which leads to some interesting moments.  There is also Dorian's ex, Aurora, who has quickly become one of my most favorite characters to hate.  She is intoxicatingly beautiful and sexy, but also manipulative and cruel.  And the bitch wants Dorian back.  By the end of Dark Light, I already fell in love with Dorian and know that his feelings for Gabriella are true.  

"I had been living my nightmares, Gabriella.  Finding you has freed me from them.  No one is going to take you from me."

There is a cliff hanger at the end of Dark Light that I have to admit I saw coming, but changed the entire story in Gabriella's eyes.  Gabriella begins questioning everything, including Dorian's affections for her.  It doesn't take long before Dorian soothes her weary mind, but there is a lot of angst and second guessing in The Dark Prince.  Dorian explains what love is like for him - how it's something that the Dark rarely do.  It's something he will hold onto as tightly as he can.

"Little girl, we, the Dark, don't love easily.  It's a notion that is rare for our kind.  So when we find it, we don't take it lightly.  We fight for it.  We die for it."
The killer is still stalking Gabriella in this book, Dorian's father is making in roads into Gabs' life, and Gabriella begins to question everything that she has been told.  Not only does she question Dorian's true intentions, but she begins to question what she is been lead to believe about the Light and the Dark.  For me, this is the central plot point of this book.  Is the Light really the do-gooders they portray themselves to be?  Are the Dark completely evil and depraved?  We learn soon enough that the Light and the Dark are just two sides to a coin - neither are absolute but only varying shades of gray.  

Dorian makes some very big commitments to Gabriella in this book, and although there is a lot of stomach churning angst and drama, I never once questioned Dorian's feelings for her.  There are many questions to ask about Dorian's methods, but he won my heart completely in this book.  Of course, the absolutely disgusting Aurora is involved in a major way in this book.  If I've ever wanted to smack-a-bitch, this is the one.  

"Gabriella.  Let it carry us through the storm."

While Dorian is away in this book, Gabriella begins to change.  She does a lot of thinking about her place in the world, and does a lot of growing up.  She questions everything, which I applaud her for.  She has been seemingly betrayed and kept in the dark.  I think that Gabs definitely needed this time to grow as a character and as the soon-to-be powerful being that she will become.  One thing I love about Gabriella is that she is a smart heroine - she asks the right questions, even though sometimes they are uncomfortable.  During this time, Dorian sends his ridiculously hot, sexy and boyishly handsome brother, Niko, to look after her.  If I had met Niko first, I might be singing his praises as much as Dorian's.  Niko is kind and funny, watching after Gabs and keeping her out of trouble.  He is supportive of her and tries to help her through all the difficult times she encounters in this book.

"There she is!  I've heard stories about you.  And what you did to Aurora...I commend you.  That bitch has been itching to get her ass whooped for decades!"

I love the relationship between Niko and Gabriella.  There's a story to Niko, and I can't wait to read it.  He was like a breath of fresh air!  He is honorable and trust worthy.  Normally I would have been rooting him on to make a move on Gabriella if I hadn't been so taken with Dorian.  Niko, however, would have never betrayed his brother, even though those thoughts are present in this book.  This is just one of the many examples of the Dark not being as terrible as they are portrayed to be.

"Could you have loved me like you love Dorian?  If you had met me first?"

 By the end of The Dark Prince, many things become exceedingly clear to Gabriella and to the reader.  Gabriella transforms into a powerful being in her own right.  We learn what Gabriella chooses when she ascends, we learn the truth about her relationship with Dorian and we are left with another cliff hanger, albeit not an angsty one.  We are treated to an epilogue from Dorian's point of view followed by a Woah-I-Didn't-see-that-coming ending.

Maybe Dorian isn't my destiny.  Maybe I am his.

I cannot recommend this series highly enough.  It has everything.  The writing is tight and descriptive.  The voice Jennings uses for her characters is spot on.  There are so many laugh-out-loud moments for me sprinkled throughout this book that capture a lot of my own thoughts.  And many thanks to S.L. for introducing me to my new favorite word, "slore."  

Jennings builds the world of Dark Light effortlessly and had me completely wrapped up in this story.  Although there is an overarching plot, the characters are what really drives this series for me.  All of the characters, from Gabriella and Dorian, to Niko and Gabs' friends, are layered and perfectly written.  I am so glad that I picked these two books up, but am suffering from a major book hangover.  If you are a fan of PNR or New Adult genres, this is a cannot miss series.  I will be holding my breath waiting for the third book in this series, Light Shadows, coming sometime this year.

"When are you going to realize that I am stupid, crazy in love with you?"

Keep a look out for an upcoming interview with Dorian and a chance to win the first two books in this series!


Shane said...

ooh great review. I like the sound of this series.

Carmel @ Rabid Reads said...

These sound like two great books to get lost in! Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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