Favorite Quote: He died in a way that befitted his audacity.
When I finish reading a book I immediately open Microsoft word, Tumblr or even notes on my iPod touch to write down my thoughts. I always find that my immediate feelings are my most honest and sincere. Not this time. After reading "Dark Dealings," I needed to take an hour or so to process what it is I read.
I have to give author Kim Knox credit for how different this book is. I cannot recall a book that is quite like "Dark Dealings." Not just in terms of the fantastic world building. Knox uses sex and approaches characterization in a very unique way. Ava is the main character, the heroine and for most of the book I could not tell if she was the good or bad guy. Sure, I understood that she wasn't responsible for the crimes she investigated, but her actions and desires make it impossible to really call her "good." I have to say that I loved that aspect of the story. I didn't know how to feel about anyone and I didn't really know whom to root for until the last third of the book.
This world is filled with brash, vicious and magical creatures. Mages, Thieves and Elementals are all savage in their own way. They feed and use magic in different variations and cannot seem to get along for any reason. The characters live in the Institute, which I imagine is a magical city, but could also maybe be a large university type situation.
Ava and Heyerdar are different beings of dark, old and forbidden magic and they are both the only of their kind within the Institute walls. Ava is a thief, a creature who consumes the flesh and magic of her victims. She is an outcast. The pet of a higher powered mage. She is feared, hated and distrusted by the people around her. Heyerdar (honestly, how do you pronounce that?) is an elemental with power over the earth and gains his strength from the pull of the sun. He is also the Emperor's left hand and one of the most powerful men in the Institute. Together they use their forbidden magic, harnessing their sexual energy to drive a couple apart. Ava wants her master and friend, Reist, to herself and Heyerdar wants Fallon back in his bed.
Ava and Heyerdar have to work together to investigate strange deaths within the Institute walls. This is obviously a ploy by the author to get them next to each other and talk about sex. After ten years of living in the Institute and never speaking, suddenly there is a case that forces the two to interact closely? It's convenient, but it works well. While investigating the murders, obviously committed by Thieves, Ava must fight her baser instincts.
Ava's situation is enough to make anyone angry. This is a woman who has given ten years of her life in support of the Institute, the Mages and their Emperor and they do not respect her. At all. They keep secrets of her very nature from her and she realizes how little respect they have for her. There are scenes where these people actually spit at Ava! It is disgusting and really makes you feel for her.
Ava's main interest in this book is not finding the murderers. The problem that consumes her is how to get Fallon away from her beloved Reist. The issue with this is that Ava secretly views moments between Fallon and Reist that makes it clear that they probably love each other. After reading a tender moment between the couple, I rolled my eyes every time Ava talked about how Resit should be hers. I really wanted to slap some sense into her and tell her to move on!
Knox then complicates my feelings, again. While Ava is selfish and closed minded about her relationship with Reist, it seemed to me that Reist knew how Ava felt about him. Who do you root for in this situation? Do you hope that the girl that is willing to use undermined means gets her man? Or, do you hope that the guy who enjoys her attention without the commitment, get his cake and eats it too? Then there is the domineering alpha male Heyerdar. I was never sure if I wanted Ava to run to him or from him. By the end of the book you will pick a side and know which characters to love and which characters to ignore.Up until that point, it is a bumpy ride.
This book is really entertaining. It has great dialogue, a unique world, strong sensuality and a love story that takes you by surprise. It is a very satisfying read.
I recommend this book for Paranormal Romance lovers, readers of fantasy and anyone who likes a good sex scene or ten.
Originally posted on: BookGeekConfessions.tumblr(.com)