Title: The Dark of Twilight [Twilight Shifters 1]
Author: Kate Danley
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult, New Adult
Rating: 5 Stars
Aein always longed to be a member of Lord Arnkell’s army, ever since she was a child working in the stronghold’s kitchen. When that day finally comes and she is sent to patrol the border’s swamp with fellow warrior, Lars, it seems like her dream has come true. But something has followed her home. When Lord Arnkell’s wedding is interrupted by a werewolf attack, the dream shifts into a nightmare… and Aein is the only one awake.
WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW
First off: The cover is gorgeous. I tip my hat to the cover artist.
Technically speaking, this book is exceedingly well written. There were only two typos I found in the entire book (Pg. 54, Line 7 & Pg. 139, Line 28). The narrative was easy to read, flowed naturally, and had a quality of engagement that really attests to the author’s skill at writing. Despite the fact that this book geared to the YA/NA crowd, I never felt bored or talked down to, and none of the characters were overly whiney, dramatic, or angsty. I cannot emphasize how rare that is with a book of this age group these days.
The characters were equally well written. Aein was a strong female lead, even if she was relatively untested and a bit star-struck by the other characters around her. She stood up and fought when she needed to, and blended into the background when she didn’t. She wasn’t a fussy girl, and she wasn’t overly boy crazy despite the amount of eligible men running around the book. I couldn’t help but like her. Aein was a nice mix between a strong kick-ass heroine and a teen who was still trying to get her bearings in life. She made it easy to enjoy the story. Though there wasn’t a lot of depth to the characters other than Aein (who was always in the foreground, as she should be), the characters all had distinct personalities and blended well into the world building.
I only found two parts of this book hard to digest. The first, is the large amounts of time skips in the book. I’m not a fan of time skips. Don’t get me wrong… they weren’t that jarring. Despite the large chunks of time that went missing (particularly in the beginning of the book between Aein’s deployment to the swamp and her return), I didn’t feel like I was missing a huge chunk of her narrative. In fact, the only reason I mention it is because it would have been nice to have had a little more time with the character that early on in the story, and I think it would have helped to solidify Aein and Lars’ deep friendship.
The second problem I had, and this is somewhat dependent on those missing bits of time, is the lack of heart-felt romance. There are two clear love-interests (okay three, but I refuse to count HIM) but there is very little romance to back up their relationships with Aein. When the relationship parts popped up, it felt like they were showing up out of the blue. I didn’t feel like Aein was particularly attracted to the two love interests, so when they suddenly were interested in her.. it was like “Whoa there buddy! Hands off!”
Otherwise, this was a great book. The world building was clear and well-constructed. The writing was engaging. The character weren’t annoying…and the plot itself was both clever and imaginative. I can’t say I’ve ever run into a werewolf-driven story like this one before. It was a joy to read. Would I read it again? Yes. Would I recommend it? Certainly. If you’re looking for a relatively quick read and you love stories filled with magic, werewolves and betrayal…. you’re probably going to really like this book. If you’re looking to purchase this book for a teen, there is some gore but it is not described in such a way that would offend anyone, and the romance is clean. There’s no foul language. I feel perfectly comfortable handing this book to my 11 year old. Give it a shot.