Title: The Dark Ones
Author: Rachel Van Dyken
Series: The Dark Ones Saga #1
Release Date: September 20, 2015
To touch a Dark One is death.
To talk to an immortal is suicide.
Yet, I’ve been marked by both.
And the King of the immortals.
My life is no longer my own.
And now I know the truth, my life was never mine to begin with.
It was theirs.
It’s always been theirs.
GAH! I don’t even know where to begin with this book! It takes something really special to get me to read a paranormal romance, but with Rachel Van Dyken I took the leap without question. I was shocked that The Dark Ones turned out to be one of my absolute favorite Rachel Van Dyken novels. This story is just so well written, drowning in vibrant imagery and overflowing with palpable emotion. Everything about this book is addictive. I lost myself in the intricate storyline, inimitable relationships, subtle humor, and powerful feelings that Rachel Van Dyken has so exquisitely crafted into this novel. The Dark Ones is one-of-a-kind, straying from many of the perceived stereotypes of the vampire/supernatural genre and delivering something that was original and memorable. Rachel’s unique twist on vampires and the paranormal world in general made this book utterly captivating. Genesis and Ethan’s story was impossible not to love, their journey explosive and raw.
“No fear. You are nothing. You are everything. You are simply… you.”
I absolutely adored the characters in this story. Each one is so incredibly unique and they all felt vital, in their own way, to the story. I loved the dynamic amongst the group, enjoying their teasing banter and the family-like connection they seemed to share. The character growth that Rachel Van Dyken orchestrated was absolutely beautiful. I loved watching Genesis transform from a naïvely optimistic girl into someone with the ferocity and strength to do whatever was necessary for the good of others. I fell hard and fast for Ethan. Something about his obviously broken heart and the walls he’d built to protect himself making me connect with him on an emotional level. Seeing him struggle to allow himself to be vulnerable to Genesis was heart wrenching in a deeply satisfying way. Cassius surprised me the most, his transformation entirely unexpected. He embodied the true ambiguity of nature, struggling to balance his darkness with his light, the evil in him with his inherent goodness. I can’t wait to hear his story!
“Three words. I don’t mind. Three words. They weren’t romantic. They held no lust, no desire, nothing – but to me it was trust. It was her trying.”
Rachel Van Dyken crafted a storyline that was cleverly layered; drawing you in as each piece of the puzzle fell into place while simultaneously conjuring up several more questions. The Dark Ones was unexpected, continually surprising me and offering unforeseen twists that made this book one I just couldn’t put down. Rachel’s writing felt effortless, the story easily coming to life from the pages and evoking intense emotions in me as I experienced Genesis and Ethan’s journey. I enjoyed the easy humor that Mason and Alex brought to the story. The relatability of their sarcastic commentary and quick wit grounded this book, circumventing any feelings of being “too paranormal” and allowing me to stay completely immersed in this fantastic world. The Dark Ones held me hostage with its fascinating storyline, complex characters, and powerful emotions. This is a phenomenal read, even for people wary of the paranormal romance genre. From beginning to end I was mesmerized by The Dark Ones, staying up all night to finish Genesis and Ethan’s epic story and left wanting more!
I will start by saying that I am not normally a huge paranormal fan. However, it’s a Rachel Van Dyken novel and I’d read her grocery list, so I decided to give The Dark Ones a try. Needless to say, I was not disappointed and utterly blown away. The characters were mysterious yet deep, the plot was intricate and fascinating, and the writing was some of Rachel’s best work to date.
“Love, in all my experience, was just that – selfishness wrapped up in a pretty little bow.”
The heroine, Genesis, dug her way under my skin – I fell in love with her personality. She symbolized so many different things and played such a giant role, even as the human of the bunch. She didn’t go into anything blindly, yet always saw the good in others despite the way she was brought up. I also was addicted the brewing feud between Cassius and Ethan. They were very much opposites, yet at their cores, were very similar. They each burrow their way into readers’ hearts –despite one being cast as a villain. And for those who may read this review and think I’m referring to a love triangle, it’s definitely not like that…so don’t let that deter you.
“When the heat scorches you from the inside out, when tears no longer come, when the need is all you can contemplate…you survive.”
Van Dyken pulled me in to the story pretty much instantaneously. With the talk of numbers being drawn and the characters’ bitterness toward each other, I was hooked. I had to see where all the tension was coming from and how it would all culminate. The way that this author made pieces of the storyline connect and piece together was absolutely brilliant. She would drop a morsel, let you wrap your head around it, and then leave you shouting “DUUUUUUDE” in your head. The mapping and planning that had to go into The Dark Ones just blows my mind. Her writing was fantastic and certainly left me drooling for more. It is, by far, one of Rachel Van Dyken’s best novels to date.
“I could own her body. I had to earn her heart.”
As I said before, I’m usually very hesitant to jump into the paranormal genre because I’m quite picky on what I like to see. However, Rachel Van Dyken knocked this one out of the park. It’s easily one of my favorite reads of the year, and definitely one of my favorites of hers. I loved where she took us in The Dark Ones and I can’t wait to see where she brings us next!
I didn’t open my eyes. “No staying in bed all day?”
“About that…” Ethan sighed. “The good news is it will feel like we’ve been in bed for days when really it could have been mere hours.”
“Hmm?” I perked up. “Well, that’s a nice trick.”
“I’m full of them.” His eyes sparkled. “Care to know more?”
“Yes,” I whispered, my mouth finding his.
With a groan, he pushed me back against the mattress and loomed over me, his naked body glorious-looking against the sunlight streaming through the window. “Perhaps we’ll stay a bit longer.”
“Yes.” I nodded my head eagerly. “I’m your mate, after all. Don’t you want me to be pleased?”
“You were pleased at least four times last night, possibly five, if we count the time I—”
“Shh.” I put my hands over his mouth.
He smirked. “Afraid the dust will hear?”
I rolled my eyes.
“Ethan!” Alex’s voice boomed on the other side of the door. “Feed her!”
“Ignore him,” Ethan hissed.
The knock got louder. “For the love of God, she’s human. Give her food.”
“He’s a siren. He knows nothing.” Ethan continued kissing me.
“Mason will break down the door if he has to.” Fighting broke out in the hall. “Ethan, I can smell the sex from here. One immortal to another, feed her before you can’t feed from her anymore.”
Ethan growled and pulled back from me. “They have no manners.”
I was half-tempted to cover my face with my hands. Had they heard us? Of course they’d heard us, and they knew, and they could… Yeah, I wanted to crawl under the bed and hide for a few days. Instead, Ethan pounced from the bed, put on a pair of jeans, and jerked open the door while I tried to hide beneath the covers.
Alex peered over Ethan’s shoulder and waved.
I had no choice but to wave back and hope that I wasn’t as red as I felt.
“She’s alive.” Alex held up his hand for a high five. “No? Not funny? Too soon?”
“Horrible joke,” Mason said next to him. “I made eggs. She’s going to need food. Make her eat everything on the plate and—”
He was still talking when Ethan slammed the door in his face and brought a giant plate of food over to me.
“Forgive them.” Ethan scowled. “There aren’t typically secrets between us, and they’re just concerned for you.”
I pointed at the eggs, ten slices of bacon, and toast. “Clearly, they don’t want me to starve.”
“Wolves.” Ethan looked heavenward. “He should be more concerned with his own diet, the ass.”
“It does smell good.” I moved up the bed so I could lean against the headboard. “Do you eat?”
Ethan’s lips curved into a predatory smile. “I ate several times last night. Care for me to refresh your memory?”
My cheeks burned.
“So tempting.” He reached for a piece of bacon and held it to his lips, taking a small bite that had my entire body clenching to keep from reaching out and attacking him. “And yes, I can eat. I typically do eat but haven’t been because when we drink, we don’t need normal food.”
“But before me…” I grabbed a piece of toast. “You were eating normal food.”
“I like you better.” He winked. “But yes, I was.”
“Good to know I’m better than bacon.”
“Your taste…” His eyes brightened. “…is unlike anything I’ve ever had.”
“Hmm…” I licked my lips.
“Stop it,” he hissed and looked away. “Damn, I can’t watch you eat. I’m going to shower while you eat your entire plate as per Mason’s orders, and then I’ll contemplate letting you leave this room so you can go to the bookstore.”
“Ah!” I almost knocked over the food. “My job! Am I late? Will I get fired?”
Ethan burst out laughing. “It’s eight in the morning. He’s expecting you when I drop you off. No sooner, no later. You won’t get fired. He wouldn’t dream of it, and you really are adorable.”
“And hot.” I sighed.
“No, I mean hot, as in, it’s scorching in here.”
Ethan winced. “You may be that way for a few days.”
“Too much vampire blood makes you overheat a bit.” He shrugged. “It won’t turn you— You’re very much human, like I’ve said before, but sometimes the vampire blood causes a type of burn to take over in your bloodstream, not painful, just not exactly pleasant if it’s a hundred degrees outside.”
“Good thing it’s Seattle.” I bit into the toast.
“Yes, well, I imagine at this point, raindrops would simply turn to vapor if they landed on your skin.”
“Shower.” He nodded. “I’m going to turn around now and walk away.”
“Apparently, that’s what I do when I can think of nothing more than ripping that sheet from your body, slamming you into the nearest wall, and possessing you all over again.”
I dropped the toast.
He growled, taking two steps toward me, then swore and turned back around.
“Have a good shower!” I called.
Another growl was his answer, and then his jeans went flying. I wasn’t laughing anymore.
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Don’t miss the rest of The Dark Ones Saga:
Untouchable Darkness (The Dark Ones Saga #2)
Dark Surrender (The Dark Ones Saga #3)
Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she’s not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor.
She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband, adorable son, and two snoring boxers! She loves to hear from readers!
Want to be kept up to date on new releases? Text MAFIA to 66866!