Monday, February 13, 2012

Review: King of Darkness

King of Darkness (Chronicles of Yavn - Book 1) by Elisabeth Staab

Publication Date: February 7, 2012
Publisher: Sourcebooks Inc.
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Pages: Paperback, 340pp
ISBN-13: 978-1402263156
ISBN: 1402263155

(Received for an honest review from Sourcebooks Casablanca)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, IndieBound

Elisabeth Staab on the WEB: website, blog, facebook, twitter

Excerpt from King of Darkness



Scorned by the vampire community for her lack of power, Isabel Anthony lives a carefree existence masquerading as human - although, drifting through the debauched human nightlife, she prefers the patron's blood to other indulgences. But when she meets the sexy, arrogant king of the vampires, this party-girl's life turns dark and dangerous.


Dead-set on finding the prophesied mate who will unlock his fiery powers, That Morgan must find his queen before their race is destroyed. Their enemies are gaining ground, and Thad needs his powers to unite his subjects. But when his search leads him to the defiant Isabel, he wonders if fate has gotten it seriously wrong...


Elisabeth Staab makes a real splash in the paranormal romance community with the first release in the Chronicles of Yavn series, King of Darkness. She is a strong new voice in the sub-genre and gives a solid first effort in what's sure to be a popular vampire romance series. Her world-building skills are exceptional, as are her multi-faceted characters and smooth writing style. This isn't a book that any paranormal romance fan would want to miss!

I will have to say that Staab really surprised with me with this book, which is kind of hard to do, since I am a huge paranormal romance fan. It is by far my favorite genre. The first book in a new series is always challenging for a writer, because of the sheer amount of background and world-building that must be done. Often the overall plot of the first book suffers, but that is not the case with King of Darkness. The world-building itself is so interesting that the reader will hardly notice the amount of time spent on it. It is very cleverly woven into the main storyline. 

Staab's vampire mythos is compelling and provides a different take on "yet another vampire novel." I liked the fact that the author understood when she undertook writing this book, she was up against some pretty big names. Her book had to stand out in some way. It had to grab the attention of the reader and hold it. The attitudes, abilities and structure she gave to her vampires was riveting. She gave them special abilities on top of their vampire qualities and the affect of red wine on her vamps was definitely original. 

Staab had to give her vampires a darn good villain to stand up to their prowess. The wizards are mysterious, power hungry and altogether bad ass! They came across as power hungry and even a bit sadistic in nature. I liked that they needed the vampires in order to obtain their own abilities. They had be literally absorbed from the vampires they killed. An innovative idea for a vampire novel. 

The characters are also cleverly written and a-typical for the genre. Thad Morgan, King of the Vampires is not exactly an alpha male. He is a bit insecure in his ability to lead his people the way his father did. He is looking for a prophesied mate, but she turns out to be totally not what he expected. I liked Thad a lot. He was certainly different than most paranormal leads. He grows a tremendous amount from start to finish in this book and I think readers will find that he resonates with them more than most heroes.

Isabel was a little harder for me to get into. She had a lot qualities I liked, but she came across as a bit selfish in the beginning. But if the reader considers her existence thus far, her behavior isn't too far fetched. She is forced to pretend to be human because she doesn't have a vampire special ability. She looses her parents at an early age and has no one but herself to rely on. With that kind of background selfishness is kind of to be expected. But on the plus side, she was very independent and had a big heart. Once she resolves the fact that Thad holds special meaning to her, she begins to open up and communicate better. So this character is one that grows a great deal as well.

There were several other subplots going on at the same time the main characters are trying to figure out their relationship. The secondary characters and stories added a great deal of depth to the novel and set the series up for future books. There was a lot of witty banter amongst the cast, as well as some good romance. I see a lot of potential in this series. King of Darkness had a lot of depth to it and many layers. I loved the world-building and the characters were not your patented paranormals. A very good start to what will likely be a great series!

King of Darkness is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

Elisabeth Staab lives in a menagerie of pets and kids in Northern Virginia with her hero and soul mate, Tom. She has been a telemarketer, a web page editor, a software developer, a reader for the blind, a technical trainer, a coffe shop barista, a teacher, a tutor, a homemaker, a government project manager, a graphic designer, a bookseller, and a professional eBayer. Finally, she's realized that her true passion is writing, which is what her high school guidance counselor originally suggested anyway.

Elisabeth believes that all kinds of safe, sane, and consensual love should be celebrated - but she loves the fantasy-filled realm of paranormal romance the best.


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