Touch of Darkness Hardcover – Large Print, Jan 2008
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About the Author
Christina Dodd is a New York Times bestselling author whose novels have been translated into twelve languages. She lives in Washington with her husband and two dogs. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Touch of Darkness by Christina Dodd is the second book in her Darkness Chosen erotic fantasy series. I hated the first book, and would not have read the second except for having gotten them at the same time. (Believe me - they are both going straight into the donation bin!) I was surprised that this one, while still dumb, managed to be a lot better than the first. Not better enough that I will ever bother with the third or fourth (or however many more will come), but it was an improvement of sorts (not that that is saying a whole lot...).
This one deals with the second son of the family (human and hawk shapeshifter), Rurik Wilder, and his lover, Tasya Hunnicutt. At least in this one, they have already been lovers before the story begins, which is a definate improvement over the first book, where the entire unrealistic relationship between the hero and heroine grated on my nerves. And they have to work hard to find their holy object, unlike the first book where it just fell into their laps. But they still pause to have sex when being chased by evil shapeshifters who serve the devil, and in other inappropriate and downright stupid times. Come on - I know it is erotica - but does it have to be stupid????? And the part with the unexpected princess - spare me such a Mary Sue moment, please!
"Mary Sue" is a term used by science fiction and fantasy fans to denigrate extremely idealized and lucky female characters (who are often self-inserted avatars of the author, but do not need to be). A typical Mary Sue character is not only beautiful and kind and smart, but she is the best at everything she tries to be or do - whether she is the greatest warrior ever ALONG with being a scholar AND a powerful magic user AND a great musician, AND great in bed, etc. The heroine of this book does edge into Mary Sue territory, though there are many worse ones out there, especially in paranormal erotica and romance.
Speaking of which - there is a term for male Mary Sue - male Mary Sues are called Gary Stus. And Rurik is a classic Stu. Handsome, intelligent. Can turn into a hawk. Not just any fighter pilot, but the best in the whole US military. Someone who stopped terrorists from having atomic weapons. Great in bed. And when his military career is over, becomes a world class archaeologist. And he is still way too young to have spent the years of training and/or graduate school that would be required to be both a fighter pilot and an archaeologist who could be the leader of an important excavation.
In this book (second in the series, but may be read alone), Rurik Wilder is returning to his archaeological dig in Scotland after visiting home and learning that he needs to find his true love and a sacred icon in order to try and break the curse on his family. He knows whom he loves, Tasya Hunnicutt, a feisty photographer, whom he had once had wild sex with, ending with her leaving him cold.
Tasya, he finds, is at the dig in order to take photos... but also for secret motives of her own. When she was a child her parents were killed by the Varinskis and she hopes to find something in this tomb that will help in her revenge. Rurik, of course, has his secrets, such as being able to shape-change to a hawk and that he is related to the very people Tasya hates. He, too, hopes to find something in the tomb.
When the Varinskis arrive and blow the tomb up, Tasya and Rurik are on the run, on a suspenseful trip to evade death from a family of professional killers with super-natural powers. And they are all on a search for the same treasures for different reasons.
I happen to like my romances with plenty of plot and back-story, and this book had lots of all of that. And of course lots of sparks fly from Rurik and Tasya's hot but difficult relationship. I liked that they had some real problems to solve for the story and for their relationship. If you like a bit of "Bourne Identity" suspense along with your sizzling sex scenes, along with some paranormal shape-shifting, this book is for you.
Blocking his path to redemption is the beautiful Tasya Hunnicutt. Tasya is determined to expose the assassins that murdered her parents. In seeking revenge, Tasya risks not just her life but Rurik's as well. The assassins Tasya aims to defeat are said to have special powers. Powers that are evilly inhuman.
I have been all wiggly waiting for book two in the Darkness Chosen series, Touch of Darkness. Thankfully, I didn't have very long to wait. I have been drooling in anticipation of Rurik. And Rurik is sooo drool worthy. He is smart, gorgeous and bad to the bone. I couldn't ask for more!
Christina Dodd's Touch of Darkness is as sexy, exciting and romantic as the first book in this series, Scent of Darkness. The utter foulness of the adversaries and the struggle against them will put readers on the edge of their seats. The passionate romance between Rurik and Tasya will leave readers breathless. The longing for the third book in this series will fill readers with anxious anticipation.
Reviewed for Joyfully Reviewed
The previous book, Scent of Darkness (Darkness Chosen, Book 1), was pretty good but this one is better. I liked both Rurik and Tasya so much more than Rurik's brother and his mate Ann from the previous book. Rurik and Tasya are both better fleshed out and Tasya's secret is handled in a far less annoying way. I liked that the pair has an established relationship. Rurik is already totally in love with Tasya and relentless in his campaign to make her realize that she has already been claimed and she his forever. But Taysa does not give in without a fight, she has no intention of losing someone else she loves given the dangerous agenda which she has put into play to gain revenge for her previous loss.
As the pair workstogether, but at cross purposes, there is a good amount of tension built between the two as Taysa fights to avoid succumbing again to attraction for Rurik while he stokes the fire to gain her surrender to what still blazes between them. And even though that build up is well done, I didn't enjoy the payoff for all that build up as much as I hoped. When Rurik finally seduces Tasya, intending to bind her to him by pleasuring her into accepting and trusting him, it comes across as almost a sensual assault - it would have helped to have a few of Taysa's 'yes' thoughts or for Rurik to pause for confirmation when she says 'no'. I had a similar problem with the previous book where the love scenes were almost ravishments, and I haven't read any of Dodd's other books, so maybe this is trademark of hers and if you are a fan it won't bother you but it knocked down my enjoyment of the story a bit. Much better was a later scene when Taysa is the one in control.
So two down and two to go as the Wilder's redemption continues in Into the Shadow (Darkness Chosen, Book 3) with Rurik's estranged wicked brother Adrik.