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18 Reviews
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Really good debut UF! I'm impressed
Darkness Haunts was good, peeps, and I breezed through it within a couple of hours. Miss Illene is a definite fan of urban fantasy and it is her genre. I also loved that all of this was happening in Alaska. This is not a region very popular in UF, and I can only name a few books that chose to use it as their setting.

There are plenty of yummy moments and...
Published 17 months ago by kara-karina (Nocturnal Book Re...

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Standard Fair Urban Fantasy
This work is standard urban fantasy, showing promise for this debut indie author. Melena, a 26 year old ex-soldier with a special ability to sense magic - and whether people are lying - is drawn into the supernatural world she has been trying to avoid when her best friend is kidnapped in Alaska. At times the prose seemed a little dry/stilted and the protagonist a little...
Published 9 months ago by FantasyWriter


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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Really good debut UF! I'm impressed, 25 Feb 2013
This review is from: Darkness Haunts: Book 1 (Sensor Series) (Kindle Edition)
Darkness Haunts was good, peeps, and I breezed through it within a couple of hours. Miss Illene is a definite fan of urban fantasy and it is her genre. I also loved that all of this was happening in Alaska. This is not a region very popular in UF, and I can only name a few books that chose to use it as their setting.

There are plenty of yummy moments and interesting characters: Mel herself is an intriguing woman with a background as a military interrogator; Lucas is a Nephilim angel who mostly annoys her and occasionally saves her life; and Nikolas oozes charm surprising for his advanced age and level of power.

I very much enjoyed Mel. She is tough, she is not afraid to be ruthless and use her knife or her gun. She fights for what she feels is right and she knows when to retreat. I like clever and resourceful characters, and I think that given some time, Mel will become a formidable heroine.

The plot moves really well and involves all sorts of supernatural beings - werewolves, vampires, witches, fairies. Saying all that, the book felt too tentative in its exploration of the characters and world-building. I was interested in the world and I wanted to know more, and I think the book would only have won from extra 100 or so pages.

Susan Illene is not afraid of writing about darkness, and her villains are done really well, I just think she should dig even deeper and bring all those deep, powerful, painful emotions, all those conflicts and moments of extreme joy to the surface to make her future books even better.

I will be rooting for this author because I think she's got great potential. Susan, turn it up to eleven! *grinning*
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tough heroine starting out, 20 Jan 2013
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This review is from: Darkness Haunts: Book 1 (Sensor Series) (Kindle Edition)
Melena would like to be normal.

Life doesn't always work like that (1): She's a Sensor, which means she can sense and recognise other supernaturals and is immune to their magic. That makes her a threat to them and she knows she's on the supernatural's most wanted list, for no fault of her own.

Life doesn't always work like that (2): Melena's an orphan, raised by a Sensor who was murdered by a supernatural.

Luckily, Melena's kept out of the way of supernaturals by serving in the army. This experience has made her resourceful and strong. Good thing; she needs those qualities as the life she's constructed in Monterey begins to unravel. Her best friend disappears in suspicious circumstances in Alaska, and the supernaturals find out about her.

Melena travels to Alaska to escape the Californian supernaturals and find out the truth about her friend, but this turns out to be out of the frying pan and into the fire.

Melena's quiet competence and inner steel is put to the test in harrowing, no-win circumstances.

I enjoyed this book. I liked the breadth of the hidden supernatural community, the twists and turns of the plot line interlaced with her evolving relationships with friends and foes, and the slow reveal of things as they really are.

Looks like a series.

Recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Darkness Haunts is a great start to the new `Sensor Series', 15 Mar 2013
By 
Book Passion for Life (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Darkness Haunts: Book 1 (Sensor Series) (Kindle Edition)
Darkness Haunts is a great start to the new `Sensor Series' by Susan Illene.
Our protagonist is Melina Sanders, studying at university following a stint in the U.S. Army. Melina likes to fly under the radar because her powers are rare, so rare there aren't many of her kind left and if any supernatural were to find out what she is, it would mean certain death just like her carer was murdered for who she was. When her best friend Aniya disappears after travelling to Fairbanks, Alaska to meet a male `friend', Melina takes it upon herself to find answers and follows her. Melina didn't realise just how populated Fairbanks would be with super-naturals and when it becomes clear that's who has her friend, she has no alternative but to start asking questions and in doing so, puts herself in a whole heap of danger. It doesn't take long for the enemy to find out what she is and they aren't above using her friend as leverage in an attempt to get what they want, but they don't count on the others who have approached Melina, the only thing is - when you've been brought up believing that all super-naturals are evil killers, how can you trust a word they say let alone put your life in their hands? But when your friends life is on the line and with no other options - you gotta do what you gotta do.
As I said this was a great start to a new series, I love a good story that encompasses a wide range of supernatural species and this certainly does that. With Melina's power being rare it gives her a special feel and also an understandable reason for her not trusting anyone with her secret, especially when it means death. She's a pretty cool character, I like how her talent comes into play and how she uses it, I like her outlook on life, her loyalty to her friends and her willingness to take a risk. I look forward to seeing more progression in all of these things, there are some promising ways it could go and I'm curious to see how the revelations found during this will affect her in following books. There were some possible love connections for her in this but nothing concrete - I have a couple of prospects that I would like to see play out so I'm looking forward to that playing out too but it wasn't the main focus of the book which I liked too... for now.
The storyline was really good, I couldn't fault it really. I was drawn in straight away and my attention was kept throughout the book, I know it's a good thing when I think I've read 5% but I've actually read 20%. The supernatural thing isn't new to me but the plot was where it was at. I liked the idea of it all, I liked the thought of Melina being used for what she can do, I liked what she ended up searching for, I liked the alliances/enemies that were made, I liked the way the magic & spells were described especially what they could hide - as I said, everything - even the pacing was great. I'm very curious to see what's next for everyone, a lot of things in this book could have repercussions for any number of characters so I couldn't guess as to where the story will go next but I know I will definitely be reading it. For a first book, it was brilliant & with a gritty, UF feel, it's so brimming with potential and definitely worth a read. 4.5*s
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Standard Fair Urban Fantasy, 14 Oct 2013
By 
FantasyWriter (Bonnie Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Darkness Haunts: Book 1 (Sensor Series) (Kindle Edition)
This work is standard urban fantasy, showing promise for this debut indie author. Melena, a 26 year old ex-soldier with a special ability to sense magic - and whether people are lying - is drawn into the supernatural world she has been trying to avoid when her best friend is kidnapped in Alaska. At times the prose seemed a little dry/stilted and the protagonist a little 2-D, but there was plenty of plot and action to sustain this story. I felt Melena's military background could have been brought out more. I'm afraid this is a "werewolves and vampires hanging about in genital-crushing leather looking sexy" book, but for all that, an entertaining read and shows enough promise to make me want to keep reading. The book has been well produced and edited, which makes such a difference when reading indie works.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Almost rated 5 stars!, 8 Sep 2013
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This review is from: Darkness Haunts: Book 1 (Sensor Series) (Kindle Edition)
Wow, I absolutely loved this book. Apart from a few typos I couldn't fault this book and from what I've seen so far this has been corrected for the sequel. I am finding books in general to be somewhat predictable but this is not the case with Darkness Haunts. There is enough going on to keep it interesting but not enough to complicate it. I would have liked a little romance to lighten it up but info suggests that I will have my wish granted in the next book. I would highly recommend this to lovers of urban fantasy. Please keep up the excellent work Susan Illene.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Why all the padding?, 16 Aug 2013
By 
S. Wilson (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Darkness Haunts: Book 1 (Sensor Series) (Kindle Edition)
Darkness Haunts (Sensor Series, Book 1)

I felt it necessary to warn you. I'm reading this book at the moment and everytime I do, I read a few pages and fall asleep, there's too much padding in these books and I find myself raising my eyebrows in frustration over and over again, as it reads like a child's book. The idea is good, but certainly not the story telling. Get to the story why don't you, and stop with the too much detail. I'm getting this a lot with some of the books I'm reading with Kindle at the moment, which makes me ask the question, are some of these books self published and have not even gone through an Editor? Is Kindle a YouTube for books?
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3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable c, 22 Jun 2014
By 
M. B. Czuba ""avid reader"" (Thurnby,Leicester UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Darkness Haunts: Book 1 (Sensor Series) (Kindle Edition)
Not brilliant but worth a read. It felt to me that too much was crammed in,but the story was readable and I'm sure that this series will get better, as time goes by.
The odd mistake thrown in didn't help, having said that. Take a chance you might enjoy it. 3+ stars and the author gets 4+ for bringing in a fresh outlook on the paranormal. Kudos Susan IIIene
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1.0 out of 5 stars So disappointing, 31 May 2014
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This review is from: Darkness Haunts: Book 1 (Sensor Series) (Kindle Edition)
I've read all the good reviews and decided to give this book a go. I wish I haven't. writing style is very poor, resembling a fan fiction written by some teenager than a professional writer. Characters themselves have little to offer and the author should really look up 'Mary Sue' and try to avoid any such accidents from happening in the future.
It's quite rare for me to struggle to finish a book, I always do it just to be fair and find any possible redeeming values, but after three agonizing days I can't find any. There are just too many things wrong with this book to point out, it's enough to summarize main character as suppah speshiul snowflake who impresses everyone, every guy wants to love and protect and bad guys hate her because she's just that awesome and they ain't.
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3.0 out of 5 stars "Sensor" series book 1, 25 May 2014
By 
Book Addict - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Darkness Haunts: Book 1 (Sensor Series) (Kindle Edition)
Melena pretends to be unaware of the supernatural world around her, and never reveals she is fully aware her friend Lisette is a pixie. Mel is one of only a few Sensors left in the world; humans unaffected by magic whilst their blood can negate spells and weaken any supernatural creature that might feed from them. Mel is trying to remain incognito and keeps her interactions with supernatural to a minimum, yet she has nephilim Lucas trailing her (he's been threatening to kill her for years plus she can never forget he murdered her mentor)and when her human friend Aniya falls under the thrall of a vampire, she travels to Alaska to rescue her. Yet Alaska has a large supernatural population, and Mel finds it increasingly difficult to hide what she is.

Despite her gifts, Melena is seriously hampered by her human frailties and is frequently beaten up badly by either werewolves or vampires. She is a strong tough character, but she is often overshadowed by more powerful adversaries that seek to control her.

There isn't a solid romance introduced, but there are some sparks between Mel and several key male characters; nephilim Lucas, werewolf Derrick and vampire Nikolas. Yet none of these characters are particularly appealing throughout the majority of this book; prepared to hurt Melena for their own gains or sit idly by as she is tortured or when someone she cares for is murdered. Much is made of Mel's military background, so I did expect more from her in a fight; however she is always quickly overpowered when facing a supernatural enemy and is normally hurt badly enough to need vampire blood to survive her injuries.

I liked the supernatural world this author created, plus I enjoyed the ideas of Sensors. Although I've come across other books featuring a protagonist with the ability to negate magic, there are some interesting twists and turns to the plot. I plan to continue on with this series, but I do hope that Melena doesn't come across as such a victim in further books.
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3.0 out of 5 stars It's OK-ish, 16 May 2014
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This review is from: Darkness Haunts: Book 1 (Sensor Series) (Kindle Edition)
I absolutely love the premise of Darkness Haunts and I really, really like all the characters but, in its entirety, the story just didn't work for me. It's as if it has been written by someone who wants to be an author but falls just short of the mark - it's akin to some of the better FanFiction I`ve read. A first novel maybe? There are descriptive phrases but they're choppy and stunted. And I didn't like the ending either, not at all. Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge fan of the cliff hanger but this was ridiculous, the story ended in the middle of a conversation! I kept flicking back and forth for a couple of minutes looking for the missing pages before it finally sank in that it really was The End.
However, all that being said, I have the sinking feeling that as soon as this review has been posted I'll be going to look for the next book because it really was one hell of a cliffie and it appears I care enough about the characters to want to find out what becomes of them.
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