Oh, I do love me some boxed sets, I really do! Though it makes reading them – especially in time – quite hard, it’s still worth it, especially when they prove to be amazing stories.
In the first three books of the Forest of Darkness series, we see two Vampire Masters, and the Alpha wolf of Atlanta, as they struggle through not only the everyday danger that comes with being a powerful supernatural, but also their attempts at romance in their lives.
Anthony, the Vampire Master of Atlanta, is trying to overcome his own disgust and self-consciousness when he meets Kaia, a mortal woman who’s able to see past the scar marking him as ugly, and his social awkwardness.
Sebastian, the Alpha wolf and Anthony’s best friend, discovers love in the eyes of a jaguar shifter, Jade, who, despite his mind-reading abilities, can’t help but be attracted to him – has been for a long while, even if she’s too much of a scaredy-cat to act on her affections.
And Ethan, the Vampire Master wishing to avenge his former lover by trying to kill Anthony’s father using his son, fights to let go of his long-dead lover and finally move on with Harmony, a vampire who’s the exact opposite of his beloved Sonya, yet manages to capture his heart just as strongly.
As a fan of PNR, I feel it is my duty to recommend this series to any other self-respecting fan, too. Not only is it satisfying to read such well-written stories, but it was also worth the time it took to meet those characters and witness them engaging in relationships that far exceeded what could be perceived as normal interactions. Not only with each other – as couples – but also with the rest of the cast.
Anthony was a sweetheart, always shy and unsure of his actions, and it was like witnessing a teenager in love most of the time – with the hormones and urges of that age, too! But it was only understandable given his past and all that he has endured. Kaia was… an enigma. I can’t say I didn’t like her – the mere fact she was willing to stand by Anthony, that she would give up what little she knew of her present life for him, was beyond moving and appreciated. But she did give me a run for my money, trying to figure her out – not that I’m complaining.
Sebastian and Jade may not have been my favorite couple – not as much as Anthony and Kaia. But I loved Sebastian the most out of all the male characters! He was so misunderstood, and hurt, and lonely – and oh Lord, the sexiness was almost too much for my poor heart! I liked that he and Jade held a torch for each other long before the events of the book. What I didn’t appreciate was Jade’s attitude. I can get past her fears, and her shyness, but she was alway hot and cold! One minute she was freaked with Sebastian’s lifestyle, the next she felt hurt that she wasn’t included in it. And then she felt scared again – only to later return to feeling rejected… It didn’t sit well with me.
And now, let’s go to the proverbial thorn in my side… Ethan, I’ll be blunt – GO CHOKE ON A TREE’S ROOTS OR SOMETHING!
It’s true. I hated Ethan. I’m damn glad his book was in this bundle – I’m not sure I would have maanged to bring myself to read it otherwise. OK, yes, his was the story with the most plot twists, and there was definitely a ton of character growth in his case – thanks to Harmony – but it was tough for me to overcome all that plotting and the hate he hurled against Anthony. I know it’s mean, but I honestly didn’t want him to have a HEA, can you believe it?!
Still, the stories all blend into each other and that helped greatly with at least going through it. Not only that, but the dialogues, the pace, the suspense, all add up and turn this into a must-read. The writer did a great job of showing how beings old enough to be our gret-great-great-great-grandparents would interact and deal with people living in the modern world, side by side. It showed in their manners, the way they carried themselves, their speech. And though it was distracting at first, it certainly did the job just fine in uniting different species, of different ages and definitely different views in life. And it is the main winning point of the series.
I can’t wait to read more about so many of the secondary characters. Like the Jaguar Alpha, and other vampires and shifters. Kate Wendley has opened up a new world to me – and I hope I’ll come to read for as many of them as possible!
***I was given a review copy via Reeading Alley in exchange for an honest review. The opinion stated in this review is solely mine, and no compensation was given or taken to alter it.***