Dark, humorous, gritty and explicit, the Eye of the Storm series crosses genres with paranormal romance and dark fantasy, leaning more and more towards the fantasy elements from halfway through the series. The lives of werewolves take centre stage, from their mythological history to their near extinction, and at the very core of this storyline filled with magic and man-made beasts is Lydia, a twenty-five year old waitress living in the human world, who has no idea what she is.
Focusing on character develop and dynamics, we get thrown into Lydia's new world no holds barred - her new world is sexual, violent, and ruled by nature and instinct, which challenges the 'romance' she's always dreamed of. It's also loving, warm and protective if she has the will to let it all in.
Amid her new pack, resides a she-wolf called Selena. Bitter, scared and jealous, Selena's aim is to undermine Lydia's arrival into the pack and run her off for good.
This character we love to hate finds herself in a place she never expected, and the end of this completed series sees her and her new identity hurtled into Blood Shadow, which bridges the gap between Eye of the Storm, and a brand new, dark urban fantasy series to come (the Blood Shadow series).
In turn, Aftershock does the same with other characters from Eye of the Storm: Pete and Claire, and their new addition, Jasmine. Like Blood Shadow, Aftershock will lead to yet another brand new urban fantasy series (the Aftershock series).
Dianna Hardy is bringing us a new world with new rules, new dangers, and new characters to sink our teeth into, and the first chapter begins with Blood Shadow.
*although some background is given to make this book comprehensible for new readers, it's recommended that you read Eye of the Storm before read Blood Shadow
Five years after her life changed forever, Jennifer Warren has put her past firmly behind her - at least, she's tried. A few sweaty nightmares here and there are a small price to pay for the freedom she won. No longer a werewolf, but human, she works as an office manager for a health and beauty spa in York, and keeps herself to herself. It's barely enough to pay the bills, but it's quiet and safe, and the clique of the staff means she's left well enough alone - no one asks her questions; no one wants to get to know her better.
David, her tender, kind boyfriend of two years is all she needs ... and she doesn't really need him, which suits her just fine. Never mind the occasional guilt that she doesn't really love him; he'd never hurt her in a million years - that's worth its weight in gold.
But Jennifer's just received another note - one of those that her mysterious, anonymous 'friend' likes to leave her every now and then; warnings of things to come, people not to trust... Her elusive friend has saved her more than once the past five years.
Only this note has left her breathless; her chest tight. A Supermoon is coming - the first in thirty years - and with it, a total lunar eclipse.
Jennifer's disowned her past, but it hasn't disowned her. As the earth shadows the full moon, her own shadows threaten to turn on her.
Can you ever escape what you truly are?
Blood never lies.
RELEASED 27th APRIL, 2018
(Google Play only available on release day)
Isle of Blood and Stone is the first book in a new duology by Makiia Lucifer, and the first Historical Fiction book that I've read this year. As a genre that I don't normally dip into, it should be noted that I'm still getting my bearings in books like this. It makes my reading of them take a little more effort than most other things, but I'm enjoying the ride. Which is why the fact that Isle of Blood and Stone is heavier on the history than on the fiction/fantasy side of things made this a bit of a rough read for me. I'm on the fence on this one, and I'll explain why below.
The story drops the reader directly into a day in the life of one Lord Antoni, with little to no explanation of why. It took me a minute to figure out that he was an important mapmaker, and that he was somehow linked to the royal family. Once I'd finally settled in a bit, and the big reveal of the chapter happened, the book suddenly fast forwarded eighteen years. So, to say that I started this book with no footing is pretty accurate. It took me another four or five chapters after that to really settle in, and feel like I had my bearings enough to enjoy the story.
What's great about this book though is that the characters are actually really intriguing, once you get to know them. Reyna, who was studying to be a mapmaker herself and unknowingly sets things in motion, made me pay attention. Once the discovery of the maps that may have been made by Lord Antoni, after his supposed death, came to light I was fully on board. By the time that Elias came fully into the picture, and the quest began in earnest, I was more than ready to follow along to the end.
Unfortunately, this is a really slow building story. I mentioned above that it's heavy on the historical portion of things, and that's definitely an accurate assessment. Action is scarce, and descriptions abound. The reader is taken back to the times of court politics and intrigue, but not in the way that I'm used to in the fantasy books I generally read. It's very heavily described, rather than shown. While the mystery aspect of this was good, it took so long for things to establish, and then longer still for things to pick up, that I found myself wanting to skim forward. I was invested enough to want to know how things turned out though, so that's a good sign.
Did I mention that I was on the fence? On the one hand, the ending ties back into the beginning and brings the characters and the plot full circle. All of my questions were finally answered, and I felt pretty satisfied. On the other hand, it took so long for me to actually settle myself into my surroundings at the beginning that it made things feel really slow. I see the potential here, and I liked the book enough to want to see what happens next. I only hope that the next portion of this story has a bit more action.