I can defintely tell that a lot of thought and planning went into this series, and it paid off. For a long-time, hardcore, Christina Dodd fan, it was rewarding to read her major foray into contemporary Paranormal romance. It is not her first romance with paranormal elements. That would be A Well-Favored Gentleman, which is a historical about Ian Fairchild.
This series is composed of the following books:
- Scent of Darkness
- Touch of Darkness
- Into the Shadow
- Into the Flame
The things that I loved about this series:
- Sexy, dangerous, strong heroes. They are alphas in the best sense of the word.
- The mating bond forms early in the book (just like I like it). Each hero finds his woman and he is faithful and devoted to her.
- The heroines can more than hold their own with their alpha and old-fashioned heroes
- The action is unstinting. There is violence that is pretty in your face, but it was necessary with this story.
- The villians are formidable and extremely wicked. Few romances have villains who are as unique and depraved. I firmly believe that Ms. Dodd spent as much time developing the villians to make them three-dimensional and formidable.
- The sex scenes are hot, but also loving. But Ms. Dodd always did write some awesome sexy scenes. One of the reasons I love her books.
- I just love shapeshifter romances, and how cool is it to have a family of shapeshifters. Konstantine Wilder is a wolf, as is Jasha, the firstborn. Rurik is a hawk, Adrik is a black panther, and Doug is a mountain lion/panther. The scenes where they are in animal forms were breathtaking to an animal lover like me. I also loved the twist that they had to be careful not to change too often because it brings them one step closer to losing themselves to the evil darkness that is part of their natures. This is especially key in Into the Shadow, Adrik's story.
- The mythology behind the series is exceptional. Ms. Dodd starts by telling of a powerful Russian warlord who craves even more power. His way of obtaining that is by making a deal with Satan. In doing so, he damns every son born of the Konstantine Varinski dynasty. In order to break this curse, true love is required. How cool is this? Another thing I like about this series is that it does not stray away from Christian beliefs. I believe that Ms. Dodd probably wanted to write this book in such a way that it did go along with her own beliefs. As a reader of paranormal fiction, I have come to realize that most of the books I read will not be in line with my Christian faith. I just have to put things into context. In this story, I was very much in my element with the underpinnings of the parnormal context. I am very familiar with the battle against Satan, and it made this book resonate with me. It also helps me to feel that I can write in this genre and use my own beliefs and have readers who will enjoy the books.
- I really got a kick out of the fact that the scion of the Wilders, Konstantine is the black sheep of the Varinski family. He actually falls in love with the woman he has taken, a cherished child of the Romany, Zorana, and runs off with her and marries her. He becomes an outlaw of his family in his rejection of evil. That was genius in my opinion.
- Family is important. It is great watching the scenes where the Wilder family, although the Scion is damned because of his heritage, is a large, loving family. The brothers, Jasha, Rurik, and Adrik are very respectful and caring of their parents. They cherish their little sister Firebird. And as they bring home their brides, Ann, Tasya, and Karen, they are smoothly integrated into the family. They call Konstantine "Papa" and Zorana "Mama."
- I love the moments of humor in this book. Without this humor, the storyline would be grim indeed. Recall that all males born of the Varinski Dynasty are damned. Yeah, that's a little risky to have the heroes be hell-damned evil men. But Christina pulled it off. The battle to fight evil is ever present and eloquent, and the grim aspects of that are lightened by humorous banter and lighter moments.
- The last book, Into the Flame, was very interesting because she turned things around. In this book, the beloved, rare daughter of the family turns out to be not of their blood after all. But the father of her child, is actually the fourth Wilder son. Doug was a Wilder in many ways: alpha, sexy, powerful, a shapeshifter. But he was a little different also because he was raised separately from the Wilders. He is just the catalyst to bring the battle for the souls of the Wilder man out of damnation.
- I like each and every heroine. They are all different, and strong in their own ways. Ann, Tasya, and Karen are tailor made for their spouses, and they fit seamlessly into the family, each bringing a different gift that will crucially aid in the battle against evil that the Wilders face. Out of the trio, Karen probably had the hardest battle to help save her man, Adrik. But her love truly does rescue him from the evil he has abandoned his soul to. The youngest Wilder sibling and the heroine of Into the Flame, Firebird is a feisty, yet thoughtful heroine. She proclaims herself spoiled, but she never seemed particularly spoiled to me. Instead she has a good head on her shoulders. She definitely has pride and self-worth, but she not a blond little princess, like she seems to think she is. When she realizes what needs to be done, she does it, without any whining or vacillations.
In short, Darkness Chosen is an excellent paranormal series. Although Ms. Dodd is an autobuy, the innovative storyline would have won me over regardless. But with Ms. Dodd's excellent writing, she takes this premise and executes it brilliantly. The Darkness Chosen series is unmissable.