Author: Thea Harrison
Release Date: April 2, 2013
Game of Shadows #1
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Romance
Format(s): Paperback (304 pgs), e-book
Book Source: Publisher/ NetGalley
About the book:
In the hospital ER where she works, Mary is used to chaos. But lately, every aspect of her life seems adrift. She’s feeling disconnected from herself. Voices appear in her head. And the vivid, disturbing dreams she’s had all her life are becoming more intense. Then she meets Michael. He’s handsome, enigmatic and knows more than he can say. In his company, she slowly remembers the truth about herself…
Thousands of years ago, there were eight of them. The one called the Deceiver came to destroy the world, and the other seven followed to stop him. Reincarnated over and over, they carry on—and Mary finds herself drawn into the battle once again. And the more she learns, the more she realizes that Michael will go to any lengths to destroy the Deceiver.
Then she remembers who killed her during her last life, nine hundred years ago…Michael.
What I’m talking about:
The story opens with a dream of a life from the very distant past, in a “galaxy far, far away,” although our heroine, Mary, doesn’t realize this until later in the story. She dreams of a criminal escaping and of comrades dying in one life to be reborn in another in order to find him and bring justice. To try and shake the dream and the stress of her life as an ER doctor in a nearby hospital, she goes for a run. When she thinks she sees and hears the wind talking, Mary becomes even more confused and a little concerned, starting to question her sanity. However, when her ex-husband (but still good friend) tries to get her to the doctor, she runs from the appointment and his help.
Rising Darkness unfolds slowly, giving the reader different point-of-views and sides to the same story. We learn about our hero, Michael and meet “Grandmother,” along with a few humans who know some of the secrets hidden among the naive population of Earth. I was a bit confused for a while, trying to piece together all of the sections and understand what had happened in the past and what it meant for this book. Although the story is revealed gradually, it is mostly necessary to convey the rather involved backstory and history of Michael, Mary and their companions. As the story progresses and the reader becomes more familiar with the nuances of the tale, the pace picks up a bit.
Mary is one of the original aliens/beings that transcended time and space to chase after the evil being who escaped to Earth; however, she has no clue who she is. After meeting a friendly psychic, experiencing an unexplainable encounter with the Virgin Mary and surviving a frightening confrontation with some deadly men, Mary beings to think that there is something more going on. I adore how the author has Mary compare her situation to that of Sarah Connor in the movie The Terminator as she begins to process what is happening to her. It was very relevant because it’s something we all do in our every day lives – relate our situation to something we’ve seen in a TV show or hear in a song. It was a well written sequence in the book.
Whereas Mary was always a little frantic, for over half of the book, Michael appeared emotionless and stoic. It was enjoyable to get some answers via Michael’s POV about halfway through the book when we finally became privy to his inner feelings about finding his long-lost mate. It was sorely needed because 1) Mary doesn’t recognize him and 2) his actions seem so cold and calculated.
Overall the mythology behind the Game of Shadows series is interesting and unique. However, this first story dragged on for most of the book. While there was need to relate an intricate backstory to the reader, at times it was too confusing and/or not able to hold my interest. Mary and Michael had little emotional connection for the majority of the book; although they did manage to create a small spark closer to the end of the story. In addition, I was not satisfied with the conclusion of Rising Darkness. It’s not a cliffhanger per se, but it sort of just ended at a “break in the action,” and the journey is far from over. I just never could fully care about the characters, even though I liked the premise.
Finished it – take it or leave it (C)