"Darkness Undone," Jessa Slade

Pros: Very nice new set of characters and dynamic between them
Cons: End-game relationship troubles are way too similar from book to book
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Review book courtesy of Penguin Group

 

Sidney Westerbrook has arrived in Chicago to act as the temporary bookkeeper for the local talyan, those possessed by repentant demons who fight against evil. His job is supposed to be easy compared to theirs: he studies what they do, keeps the records, does research when needed. He’s planning to use some of the weird stuff going on in Chicago to finish the research that will make a name for him and allow him to take over the London bookkeeper position when his father dies. Unfortunately for him, since the last bookkeeper betrayed them, the Chicago talyan don’t plan to make his job easy on him. They give him no respect and little aid, and soon he ends up in the middle of a demon attack.

Alyce Carver is adrift; she has lost track of the passage of time and moves from one demon attack to another with little awareness of her surroundings. Until, however, she saves Sidney from certain death. He brings her to the League, constantly pushes at the lost memories of her past, and gives her a steady rock to hold onto in the storm that is her eternal life. But a gathering group of evil djinn threatens to destroy not only them, but all of Chicago as well.


 

Jessa Slade’s Darkness Undone is book four of her Marked Souls series, following Seduced by Shadows, Forged of Shadows, and Vowed in Shadows. Seduced drew me in; Forged kinda annoyed me (too much exaggerated contention between the romantic leads); I enjoyed Vowed (interesting characters and plot); and Darkness Undone is my favorite since Seduced.

Sidney is a nice break from the all-too-similar brooding, snarly men of the talya. Alyce is also quite different from her predecessors: don’t get me wrong, I love snarky women, but variety in a series is good. I particularly enjoyed seeing her introduction to the Chicago group; there were some nice surprises there.

The arc plot gets kicked up another notch in this volume. There’s a new djinn-man to complicate the plot, Thorne, and he’s much more interesting than the last one. He has a bizarre fascination with Alyce that has kept him from killing her for quite some time, but her own obsession with Sidney may upset that precarious balance. Add to that a djinn who wants to take over by bringing all the other djinn under her control—and she has the power to do it, too—and the talyan could very well be outmatched, even with the possible help of one or two angel-possessed. The plot takes some nice twists and turns throughout.

I still find the usual end-of-book strife between the romantic leads to be a little much, if just because it’s nearly the same in each book. This book alone would have been fine, with a decent level of it, but as a follow-on it adds up too much.

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