Title: Of Light And Darkness
* Series: Of Light And Darkness #1
Author: Shayne Leighton
Pages: Kindle (2nd Ed.); 400
Genre: Urban Fantasy / Paranormal Fantasy
HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers who enjoy discovering worlds situated on the fringe of our own.
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Shayne Leighton's stunning New Adult debut is a fiercely imaginative, multilayered dark fantasy where Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus meets Anne Rice's The Vampire Chronicles in a story about a girl caught between two societies . . . two magic sides . . . and two loves.
Raised by a Vampire in a secret society of Witches, Shifters, and Elves, Charlotte finds that she is the freak in her world of magic and wonder. When she stands before an army of impossible obstacles, the likelihood of survival in this coming-of-age modern fairy tale is slim, resulting in a war between light and darkness.
Charlotte knows no other home than the one nestled deep in the woods of Eastern Europe, where Witches draw spells of enchantment, Shifters throw tea parties, and Elves are the closest in kin.
As genocide and war threatens her life and her home, Charlotte will not allow her one true love to be destroyed. Fighting for her adopted coven of rogue monsters, she will do whatever it takes to save them...and she'll do it before the sun comes up and light takes over forever!
Truth be told, I'm still on the fence about Of Light and Darkness. I had to take some time after finishing to step back, and really think about my feelings regarding this book. This is marketed as Urban Fantasy, which is one of my favorite genres. I love the strong heroines, and that thin line they walk between romance and suspense. For the most part, this book held exactly what I had hoped for. There were just a few nagging things that kept me sitting right on that fence.
Let's start with Charlotte. I actually really enjoyed Charlotte as a character. She was strong, intelligent, and full of that type of fire that tends to get a character into trouble. I enjoyed the fact that she was able to think for herself, instead of getting caught up in the concerns of the rest of the town. Actually, I liked Valek too. He was convincing as that charismatic, but on the edge of blood lust, vampire. I felt his draw, and understood why Charlotte was so attracted to him. Although I never really felt that there was an actual chemistry between them, romance wise, I at least understood her fascination.
In fact, the romance aspect of this book is where I had most of my issues. It just wasn't that believable. Even though I eventually became comfortable with the idea of Charlotte and Valek involved in that capacity, despite their beginning as a master and a young ward, I never felt the sparks between them. The fact that Charlotte pined for Valek, but was shocked by his baser instincts, didn't make sense to me. If she had studied up on vampires, she should have known that Valek's darker side existed. You can't have the light without the dark.
While the world building could have been a little bit more in depth, it's also the part that really kept me reading. Charlotte's home is a place on the fringe of what we, as humans, know exists. The concept of cities full of paranormal creatures, bordering the human world really spoke to me. I loved it! Especially because Charlotte was one of the few who could hop back and forth. Add in political intrigue, and a brewing war, and you have the type of story that I can really sink my teeth into. I just wished it was a little more solid.
So, as you can see, I'm pretty much firmly on the fence about Of Light and Darkness. I'm hoping that there might be more coming, and maybe this will all just be the foundation for something more solidly written. Still, I see a lot of promise in this story and I'm sure there are plenty of you out there who would fully enjoy Charlotte's escapades! Give it a shot.
FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.