Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Surrender the Dark by Tibby Armstrong

As a provocative series of paranormal temptation begins, a vampire king seduces the supernaturally gifted man hunting him. But when the stakes are literally life or death, their struggle for control is no game.

Benjamin Fuller is a hunter, born and bred. Blinded as a child by the vampire who slaughtered his family, he’s blessed with a second sight that allows him to catch and kill his quarry. What his gift can’t help him see coming is his fierce, almost carnal attraction to the mystery man who claims to be a fellow hunter and whose touch triggers both lust and revulsion. When he gains the upper hand, Benjamin vows to bring his enemy to his knees.

After many years spent in exile, the only one who can help restore Tzadkiel Dragoumanos to his rightful place as War King is a blind hunter with golden curls, a lithe dancer’s physique, and distinctive facial scars—scars Tzadkiel gave him two decades ago. The mere scent of Benjamin Fuller provokes an unwelcome rush of insatiable desire. Yet to win an all-out supernatural war, Tzadkiel must resist the ravenous hunger to possess his prey—for now.

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Book 1
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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Tibby Armstrong is a new-to-me author. I was pleasantly surprised at how I instantly fell into the story, since I started the book blindly by not reading the synopsis prior.

Surrender the Dark begins nearly two decades in the past, when Benjamin was only an eight-year-old boy. He was being formed in his family's image, honed as a blade by his uncle and parents to eradicate the world of vampires. The hunters are holding the War King, and the uncle wishes it to be young Ben's first kill. Things go awry for the both parties, which leads us to present time.

Tzadkiel awakens after a long healing sleep, still weakened by the poison in his veins. He seeks out Benjamin for vengeance. However, Ben is equally finding vengeance by removing Tzadkiel's kind with the help of his friends, a witch-fae hybrid and a human.

The hunter and the War King join forces when something far more nefarious is taking over Boston.

World-building: Befitting the Urban Fantasy genre, I found the world-building to be innovated, interesting, and kept my interests from start to finish. Obviously, with this being the first in a new series, it was unveiled slowly, as to not have the reader experiencing info-dumpage. There is a lot of room for growth in subsequent titles, and I look forward to seeing where the author takes the story.

Character building: Benjamin is a deep character, and I feel as if we just scratched the surface, yet I felt connected to him emotionally after seeing his past and how it affected his present and future. Disfigured and disabled due to blindness, Ben showed strength, integrity, and courage throughout the novel. Tzadkiel is obviously older, and even during his narration, we don't learn much of his past. Tzadkiel was firmly in the present, with only glimpses into what made him who is his today. The side cast of characters were interesting, with many branches to open up future plots.

Romance: Tension. Witty banter. Heat. Love-hate enemies turned dubious allies, turned reluctant lovers. On the pages, it was like a test for love and loyalty, which both seemed to pass with flying colors. I enjoyed this portion of the story, as it felt more slow-burn, with the lust not overpowering the story until the romance is in-your-face. The romance was riding beneath the surface, adding to the plot, and allowing the story to take center stage.

Writing: What I appreciated the most was the intelligence Tzadkiel displayed. A pet-peeve of mine is always how 'ancient' beings speak as if they are 20-year-old students who need attitude adjustments for the sake of adding humor to the story. Finally... Tzadkiel displayed the wisdom, control, and patience of someone who had lived centuries and saw the world change before his very eyes. His amusement was darker, more sarcastic and witty, and this was a nice balance to jaded yet young Benjamin.

I recommend this title to fans of Urban Fantasy and MM romance, and I'm highly anticipating the next installment in the series.

I am being super generous with my three-star rating. I honestly didn't think I was going to get through this book. It was so wordy and honestly boring that I found myself skimming the book... A LOT. I felt no connection to the main characters and after so much skimming, I didn't care if they were together, if they liked each other or if they made it or not. There were so many paranormal aspects to this as well that I didn't care for that part either. I am okay with vampires and werewolves together, but you throw in zombies and I am out. The zombie thing is just too much for me. I think I can safely say I will not be reading the next book in the series.

Tibby Armstrong has been a romance reader since the age of eleven, when she snuck a very bad historical from her aunt’s shelves. In her late twenties, she fell in love with paranormal romance and urban fantasy. Now she writes contemporary and paranormal stories with strong relationship threads and a healthy helping of steam.

Connect with Tibby

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Surrender the Dark (The Dark #1) by Tibby Armstrong to read and review.

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