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Sunday, August 2, 2009

Kim Lenox - Night Falls Darkly

Genre: Paranormal
Book 1 in the Shadow Guards series
ISBN: 978-0-451-22537-5
Releasedate: October 2008
Publisher: Signet
Format owned: HC Rhapsody & MPB
For sale at: The Book Depository Store

A cunning immortal who's been called upon to reclaim a marked soul...

Ever since an accident took away her memory, Miss Elena Whitney can't recall the secrets of her own past. All she knows is that with her mysterious benefactor Archer, Lord Black, returning to London at the behest of Queen Victoria, she should seize the chance to get some answers.

A member of the immortal Shadow Guard, Archer has been summoned to London to eliminate the soul of an evil demon - Jack the Ripper. Archer feels not only bound to protect the women of the night, but also his beautiful young ward, Elena, whom he spared from death two years before. But with a wave of panic spreading across London, Archer fears that Elena is his weakness - a distraction he can't afford, especially since she's likely to become the Ripper's next target...

Elena finds herself in the claws of a killer and her savior appears on the rooftop to help her out. In her getting saved from said kiler she falls of the rooftop making her memory blank out. After she spend her time recovering she tries to built up a life for herself, she knows there is a guardian Lord Black but he’s not in London.

With a killer on the loose in the streets of London she has to be careful on the Eastside of town but she eagerly wants to start a study which is on that side of town. One day she comes home and finally gets the chance to meet her guardian, things aren’t what they seem, but the attraction between them is evident and not avoidable-no matter how hard they try.

I had to get into the writing in the beginning as when some speak as it’s written is exactly like the lower class speech. I had to get used to that a lot, but once I got settle into that I was hooked onto the story!

The twist between the shadow guards, the Transcended in combination with the Jack the Ripper history gives this story something rather unique and thrilling to read. Especially as it’s set in a Victorian Historical timeperiod which – by the way – was captured marvelously in my opinion. Throughout most of the book the attraction between the hero and heroine lingers and gives a more “Regency” like vibe to it all, but it’s out there and that satisfied my need for a bit of romance in each story I read.

Elena is a woman who has no memory of who she was from before her previous encounter with a ‘dark encounter’ and is trying very hard to remember her past, her loved one’s - all the while trying to make herself the purposefull life she craves. She is smart, sweet, loveable and passionate as well as very brave.

Lord Archer Black is this thousands year old Shadow Guard who has seen it all. He has this intensity around him making you want to peal back the layers around him to get to the centre of his being. He is one of the guards who has to deal with Jack the Ripper on the lose, whom is giving them a hard time in catching him. Archer has to deal with the duality of the excitement of something new on his plate to deal with and the need on a personal level to keep Elena from harms way. Elena - who by the way - stirs feelings inside him he thought had been long gone.

There are a few other characters coming to scene who play a keypart in this novel and Mr. Leeson is one of them. I find him amusing as well as entertaining. The twins Marcus and Selena and dr. Charles Harcourt stick to mind mostly. Some with just the blishfully normal life and others with some – how do I call it – interesting quirks which gives this book a great twist.

This story takes place in 1888 which brings this setting into a world of beyond the average historical regency and historicals I have read so far and to me that stirred up my need to read on. You can taste the way of living changing a bit more to what we are used to these days. The struggle of women wanting to make it on their own and the dangers that come along without the protection of a strong protocol and guardian by their side.

There is a particular scene between Queen Victoria and Archer that made me instantly aware of how far the paranormal abilities of the Shadow Guards can reach, and how they have to have the ability to constantly keep reaching between the moraly right and wrongs for the “humans”. It struck my emotions and left me amazed by Kim Lenox’ writing skills – in that one small scene between them she was able to hit my emotions full force!

The romance/love connection between Elena and Archer builts up gradually making it a lingering sub-plotline. I really liked the fact that Elena has the struggle of wanting to take some action on it, but the shyness as well to not do so promptly when she experiences the fluttering feeling of attraction. It stipulates the fact that in this timeperiod the world was already changing a bit to the likings of nowadays. Because the love between them is taking it’s time to built up, it was all the more important to read about the attraction they felt for both their point of view. The story changes from both sides on and off so it didn’t leave things to be desired in the romantic department for me whilst reading this novel.

As the story builts up in the first half, Kim Lenox takes her time in letting the reader know the characters and giving bits and pieces of the Shadow Guards world and how Archer fits in that. In the middle Jack the Ripper starts stirring up giving more and comes to scene more often. The ending is climactic and though it rounds up things concerning the love between Archer and Elena it leaves plotlines open in which the next book will continue. The duality of their love building up and the murders getting more brutal and viscious makes this novel the addicting blend you just cannot put down. It’s making you crave to get your hands on the next novel so it made me straight away go to the buy-button and ordered So still the night.

Kim Lenox is a firm believer of Happily Ever Afters and that shows in this story. In the love-connection between Archer and Elena she focusses on the feelings and emotions of it and eventhough there are ofcourse sensual scene’s they are really that! Because the focus is on the emotions it comes across as sensual instead of sexual and I loved that because it made this book a real Paranormal Romance!

4,5 Stars

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