Monday, August 6, 2018

Dianne Duvall - Awaken the Darkness

He awakens encapsulated in dirt with no knowledge of how he came to be there. Riddled with injuries, he can remember neither his past nor who he is. Nor can he remember what he is. But surely no mortal man could survive being buried deep beneath the earth. All he knows with certainty is that the soothing voice and presence of the woman moving around above enables him to endure the agony of his wounds. And he will do whatever it takes to be with her.
When Susan first sees the old two-story house for sale, such warmth and longing fill her that—against all reason—she makes an offer. It will take years of hard work and money she frankly doesn’t have to fix up the place. So she can’t explain why she bought it. She also can’t explain what compels her to spend hours one night, digging in the basement until she unearths a man. A man who still lives and breathes despite having been buried alive. A man whose intense brown eyes glow amber with pain, declaring him far more than ordinary. Susan knows she should keep her distance. He has no memory and possesses gifts that would make most fear him. But as the two work together to unravel the mystery of his past, she finds herself drawn in by his teasing nature and tender touch. So much so that she loses her heart to him even as they find themselves hunted by unknown enemies who are ruthless in their quest to capture them.

Comment: This is the most recent installment in the Immortal Guardians series by author Dianne Duvall.
Since discovering the series I've been a dedicated fan and hoped for a lot with this novel but now I guess I could say it was the weakest story for me.
Attention, warnings ahead, especially if one considers the mystery blurb too!

In this new adventure, the author goes back to a character we thought had disappeared and how he is rescued now by Susan, a telepathic woman who feels she can't let go of a house the saw and considered buying. Even with a lot of fixing to do, Susan just can't seem to stay away and she does buy the house. Along with her dog, she starts digging the basement and uncovers a man, who somehow has survived being buried alive.
There are weird things about him but since she, Susan, isn't the usual woman either, she can't judge. The two seem to get very close but with strange people after them both, will they have something in common too when all is done?

This story had many ingredients to be successful and all the details that usually are included in the series. It also has a sweet romance and interesting details.
However, all together just didn't wow me that much and I think there was too much distance between the protagonists alone time and the rest of the plot.

One of the things I like the best about this series is how close every character is. Even when welcoming new characters to the fold, the sense of family and community among everyone is amazing. I do love this notion and even with little scenes that sensation is achieved.
In this book, however, a little more than half the story is focused on Susan discovering the hero and their relationship developing and we have reasons why they are "alone" for so long, it does make sense: I actually applaud the fact the author tried to give it realism somehow.
My issue is that, because of this tactic, we only get the community feel later on and for me it wasn't enough. I just disliked the fact the rest of the characters were almost an afterthought.

The plot is pretty easy. But it's seriously focused on the main couple, as opposed to the main arc, as I've been used to with the previous books. This felt very "detached" from the rest because of that.
I don't think any serious development happened.

The romance was cute. It offered all the necessary elements to make it sweet and believable but for me their connection lacked chemistry. I don't think they were such a great couple... but I feel glad both found someone. I suppose it's because of the circumstances - quite obvious - but everything happened a little too quickly and too easily for them, romantically speaking. I prefer if characters try (or pretend to) battle their feelings for a while and considering Susan saved the hero somehow... too convenient.

The end was what I expected since the beginning. I guess too much time was spent "rescuing" the hero and the rest of things felt second line. I'm still glad over several things, there was a very good detail in the end regarding another character (not the new hero, no) and some family scenes were also sigh worthy.
However, as a whole, this disappointed a bit and not even the romance saved it. I can say it's a good addition but nothing I'll remember specially.
Grade: 6/10

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