Once upon a time, Konstantin, a warrior from the Russian steppes, made a deal with the devil. In exchange for a priceless icon that had been in his family for generations (plus his soul, of course), he and his sons—and they only bred sons—would be given a special power enabling them to hunt all their enemies down.
Fast forward to about now. The latest Konstantin escaped his family to build a new life in America. He’s made a prosperous life for himself, and he has 4 children—including a daughter.
One day, his ex-gypsy wife has a vision that tells them how to break the pact and free themselves from their curse. The 4 books in the Darkness Chosen series cover just how they end up doing that.
Scent of Darkness is about Jasha, the eldest son, and his personal assistant, Ann. Ann has a thing for her boss, and one day she goes off to his house, looking hawt, to deliver important papers and try to seduce him. Part 2 of this plan goes rather well, but only after she gets scared out of her wits by discovering his special power: he’s a shapeshifter.
What I didn’t like
First of all, I’ve never been fond of the secretary and boss pairing. For me, there are just too many things that could happen, plus the awkwardness of seeing each other the next morning, thinking, OMG, was this an oops for you (too)?!?
I had so many eye-rolling moments in the first few chapters, which resulted in me repeatedly tweeting to Kat until she finally asked me why I was subjecting her to such torture. (I found the first sex scene—in a forest, after being chased—too WTF-y for one thing.)
I also didn’t relate to or like the heroine quite so much. I suppose this has something to do with the characterisation—well done on Christina Dodd that she got me to believe this—as Ann is “innocent” and fearful, almost bordering on the TSTL but still redeemable enough to not be totally eyeroll-worthy. I like my heroines strong, even if the strength is understated or desperate. Ann had moments, but sometimes she just annoyed me. Then again, that might have just been me.
That’s not to say I didn’t like her by the end. I even liked Jasha, who at the start was just so alpha I wanted to dress him in caveman clothes, give him a club and wait for him to beat his chest and say, “Me Tarzan.” He caused a considerable number of eyerolls as well. I think I may have liked the supporting cast more, to be honest, but by the end of the book, they won me over.
What I liked
This series ends. For that alone, I will read the whole series and give the author plus plus plus points. I’ve been sucked into too many series (Hello, J. R. Ward) that I not only buy in hardcover, but which sometimes get bogged down in parts, or are released so far apart that you go, What was that again, and where was I? This is definitely not that kind of series. It ends, man, it ends. Christina Dodd deserves a medal. (I am not being sarcastic when I say this. It is true!)
When I got over the whole eyerolly bit (i.e. the first few chapters), the story picked up and I got caught up in the tight pacing and the excitement of it all. I’ve read books where you have something unfold before you, but you can figure it out. I found that I didn’t have the time to do that with this book because I just had to keep going on to find out what was next.
Dodd also has excellent world building, and I found her use of mythology to be atypical and interesting. I liked her use of icons, legends and history—it was engaging and made me want to find out more. The story later reads like an old bedtime story with history and hot sex, except it’s a series so it doesn’t end and you have to go to the next part.
Dodd does a good job of piquing your interest and making you want to read more. Hence, I now have book 2 waiting to be read.
Yay or Nay?
I haven’t read the other books in the series—I’m about to start book 2—so I can’t speak for the entire series. While there may be a few moments that cause slight annoyance (and I am NOT a patient person by any means) I would recommend this book for the way the story flows and its rich world building. And again, this series ends in 4 books—what more can you ask for?
Where you can buy this book
AUSTRALIA: Booktopia | Dymocks | Ever After | Fishpond | Galaxy | Intrigue | Nile | Rendezvous | Romance Direct | Romantic Reflections | Siren | More
EBOOKS: Books On Board | Dymocks | eBooks.com | Fictionwise | Kindle
WORLDWIDE: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Book Depository
Books in the Darkness Chosen series