(Cover picture courtesy of Paranormally Romanced.)
Much has changed since autumn, when Kelley Winslow learned she was a Faerie princess, fell in love with changeling guard Sonny Flannery, and saved the mortal realm from the ravages of the Wild Hunt.
Now Kelley is stuck in New York City, rehearsing Romeo and Juliet and missing Sonny more with every stage kiss, while Sonny has been forced back to the Otherworld and into a deadly game of cat and mouse with the remaining Hunters and Queen Mabh herself.
When a terrifying encounter sends Kelley tumbling into the Otherworld, her reunion with Sonny is joyful but destined to be cut short. An ancient, hidden magick is stirring, and a dangerous new enemy is willing to risk everything to claim that power.
Caught in a web of Faerie deception and shifting allegiances, Kelley and Sonny must tread carefully, for each next step could topple a kingdom . . . or tear them apart.
With breathtakingly high stakes, the talented Lesley Livingston delivers soaring romance and vividly magical characters in Darklight, the second novel in the trilogy that began with Wondrous Strange.
I had reviewed the first book on The Streetlight Reader, giving it 3.5/5 stars. So why did I read it after giving the first book a ‘meh’ rating? Well I had read a chapter in the bookstore and it seemed like the writing had improved so I decided to give Lesley Livingston another chance. Was I right to do that? As it turns out, Darklight is a slight improvement over Wondrous Strange.
My main problem with the first book is that I could not connect on an emotional level with the characters. Sure, they were going through the motions of having emotions but I just couldn’t feel the emotions coming from the writing. In this second book this has improved a little bit. I actually felt Kelley’s distress at Sonny’s disappearance, her anger at her mother Mabh and her father Auberon, etc. Could I feel this passionate, sweeping romance between her and Sonny? Not really. But did I actually get emotionally involved in the story? Occasionally.
No, the lack of emotional quality in the writing is not the problem this time. This time the problem is that the plot makes absolutely no sense because very few conflicts are resolved throughout the book. Whereas Wondrous Strange was too fast-paced, this one was too slow in the beginning and desperately tried to make up for it in the last few chapters, culminating in one of the most random battle scenes I’ve ever read. Some of the plot twists (like who Sonny’s father is) were rather predictable and yet the explanations for these twists made no sense. I can’t say much more than that without giving the entire book away, but trust me when I say it comes both out of nowhere and it was predictable in a way.
I found that the world-building was still as good as ever in Darklight. I loved Lesley Livingston’s descriptions of Auberon’s palace, Titania and Mabh. They were absolutely spot-on and I never really felt bored with them because of that. Really, the writing is beautiful if you’re solely judging this book on imagery and descriptions but sometimes the situations the characters find themselves in are not adequately explained to the reader. Thus you end up amazed and confused, much like in the first book.
I may or may not read the third and final book in the Wondrous Strange trilogy but all I can say is that I really hope that if you try reading it you have a much better experience than I have.
I give this book 3/5 stars.