Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Book Review: Light in a Dark World

Light in a Dark World
Legends of the Destrati

By:  Dina James

Published By:  Mundania Press

Publish Date:  March 2012

Format:  Paperback, 202pgs 5" x 8"

Genre:  Urban Fantasy

Series:  A collection of Legends of the Distrati short stories.

Recommendation:  YES!!  Oh yes! You have to meet Kyle (by the end you will be in love with him!), Nikolai and Katrina along with others!

Book Synopsis:
Kyle abhors the word "vampire."  He prefers the more accurate term "lost soul," for that is how true vampires are made - through a damning bargain with the Devil.  Kyle is unique among what could loosely be called his kind, for he not only wants the return of what was, he feels, stolen, but because he was once the demon lord Kailkiril'ron, servant of Lucifer.  Known as The Betrayer, Kyle is a powerful force to be reckoned with by any standard, both feared and shunned by every single vampire clan in existence, including the renegade Distrati.  Why he would choose to assist one of their members - the very member sent to bring Kyle to justice - is his own affair.  The better question is why anyone, let alone a Destrati, would accept the Betrayer's help.

The Distrati differ from other vampire clans in that the whole of its members have turned away from the Darkness they once dealt with.  Destrati feel that the parasitical cost of their cursed existence is too high, and have sworn to redeem the souls they bargained away for their immortality.  They make it a fierce point to keep others from being coerced into trading their souls.  This is seen as interference by the other vampire clans, and while most clans are at perpetual war with one another over such differences in philosophy, Clan Destrati members are among the most hated, for they, like Kyle, are seen as betrayers.

Among Ethereals, Clan Destrati's reputation and exploits are as renowned as the associates it boasts.  Within these pages are but a few of their legends.

My Thoughts and Summary:
The stories progress in order through time with Nikolai, Katrina, and Kyle along with addtional characters but all tied to at least one of these three characters.  Each story drew me in and went by quickly.  Each is a complete short story in same world.  I enjoyed meeting these people very much, and WANT more of them.

Oh boy, I do want more stories with these characters!  The main and secondary ones alike.  There are little threads Dina can follow further and I do hope she does.  Easy and quick read with each story I feel more.

Dina has brought me, through these short stories, to love this world and characters.  Even love the one I didn't know I would...Kyle.  I've never followed short stories like this before, where I got to know the characters so closely this way.  Hats off to Dina for creating a world and characters in a magnificent way to love and get so much more from them.

Play Dead
Nikolai is in London on a mission to find an outcast vampire as he passes a bar where a "vampire lair" is downstairs.  Humans posing as vampires. When he moves to pass a scent catches his attention.  Something smells good, or someone as she catches his eye.  To Nikolai something in her eyes asks him to save her, so finding he's in the mood for amusement and wants this woman he descends into the bar.  But there just might be more there than sport for Nikolai with this human woman.

We get Nikolai's view and Katrina's, the woman he follows into the bar.  I found I liked Nikolai and his ways.  Although since short story, the relationship with Katrina felt to move fast.  However, after I read a few more stories in the book, I understand the quick connection with Nikolai's kind, it doesn't happen often but it does happen.

We meet Kyle, the man Nikolai is on a mission to find and bring back to the council for justice.  However, Kyle is a rather interesting...character.  He seems like the helping (or potentially hurting) hand, unpredictable as he doesn't belong to a vampire family.  I like the potential with havoc and mystery he can add to the story and future ones.  Kyle is a hard one to explain, but wonderful to read.  He's powerful - the most so, and has a strong air around him, he will help but don't cross him as you will not win.  And he has a dry teasing about him, yet he's wise.

In From the Cold
Kyle has visited the graveyard, one grave in particular.  Nikolai follows him and extends Katrina's invite to come see them.  However, Katrina is determined and thinks Nikolai didn't extend properly when Kyle didn't return with Nikolai, so goes on her own.  Kyle agrees to come on this special day, in which he confesses to Katrina of the past...a love found then ripped away.

Kyle seems to spend his time alone, missing someone.  We get to see through Kyle's eyes, learn a few of his secrets and how he came to be.  A happy yet sad tale.  I felt bad for him when hearing his tale, but I do love Kyle in this story!  This is where I start falling for Kyle.

Katrina is adjusting with grace, although with moments of doubt, to being Queen of Destrati, yet being different, she's immortal and human; not a vampire.  She still has much adjusting to do.  Katrina is also learning quick she has a great friend and ally here in Kyle, and a hint as to why he willingly, and offered, to help Nikolai and Katrina be together in Play Dead.

Katrina leaves a feeling of hope in the end for Kyle and I'm hoping to see more of this story to come.

With Great Power
A fledgling is found and brought to the home, a modern female Yvette, who's refusing blood.  She was abandoned by her maker and Nikolai feels Katrina might be able to help - being modern herself.  Nikolai has to leave for a meeting and leaves Katrina in charge, feeling she's ready as the Queen.  However, what Katrina learns from the fledgling might hint at danger for Nik and others...maybe even a war.

Nikolai and Katrina have been married for over a year now and Nik is 100% confident Trina can rule in his steed, Trina isn't so sure.  Trina hears from her people the faith they have in her, believing she is strong enough.  Trina stands up to meet the inner strength everyone knows she has and becomes the Queen in this story.  She show she is smart and quick thinking with the idea she comes up with.

What is great about this short story is Trina stumbles slightly but gets through and comes out with a solution.  She makes a mistake but recovers and moves on to correct for it.  I enjoyed meeting other members of the Destrati clan along with their humor.

Deliver Us from Evil
Marcos is forced to walk through the rain, as running water dulls vampires abilities and it was storming.  Hungry and searching for food he finds a symbol in a window of a psychic's shop that he recognizes but can't put his finger on why, yet relieved at its sight.  So he enters the shop where he never would have before.  Marcos might find more in this shop than he was looking for, maybe a woman he can't get from his mind.

Marcos is attracted to this woman, Mary, and doesn't know why.  Mary is an interesting woman as well.  One that is strong, yet has to pay the bills or lose her shop as well as the apartment she already lost.  She finds a job that will give her money, but Marcos isn't so pleased with it.  Marcos is a bold person to go after this woman as he does, yet it's entertaining and enjoyable to read.

I'm starting to see vampires pulled to desires through scents in this world.  As each story grows the world for me, this one added to the list greatly.

Marcos is a new character in this world, and yes this story has a connection to the Destrati clan.  You have to read it to see.  I do hope to see more of Marcos in the future.  It's nice to meet Marcos and see him finding his way home again.  Oh, and yes, he remembers what the symbol means and the connection with Mary.

We meet Ian as he is preparing his armor to go after Anton.  He learns from Kyle, Anton is an immortal Sun god in soulless form like them, and Kyle will go with Ian to assassinate him.  Ian will see more behind and in people here along with a great secret in himself as well.

Ian is an interesting character.  Someone new and different...almost different like Kyle is different, but not the same as Kyle.  Different in their being.  I get the feel of vampire, yet not - something more.  I started thinking Ian as a monk or priest, which at some point in his life he did employ as a priest and still knows the ways.  And now he's a vampire... or something else?  I teetered on this thinking for most of the story, until I learned the truth.  Oh my!  You will be surprised what you learn as well.  It all fits together in the end and makes complete sense with my doubts and questions.  This story was WONDERFULLY laid out.

There is more religious belief talk and mention in this story, but I really like the view and angles of the meanings.  This is one journey Ian needed to take and learn at the right time.

I loved the mystery, yet all the clues are dropped so when you learn the truth your jaw drops.  One of my favorites with the story line.

A Hope and a Prayer
Kyle is so troubled in his mind, even his usual waiter senses it and asks after him.  Upon Kyle's next return to  his frequented restaurant, he learns of his favorite waiter is now dead, just like the string of murders with a winter fox hair left.  When Kyle finds the murderer, he learns the outcast wants his help, in exchange for information she has that might help Kyle get back into his home region.  Choices are there, but which will these being pick?

We see Sarina again.  We first met her in the first story, you'll have to read to learn about her.  She is one evil lady.  She likes to do things for her, which is part in why she's an outcast now.  We learn more of this Light and Dark world, and those in between.

Kyle gets to chat with a Seraph.  The Seraph that allies with the Destrati clan.  I loved this chat in the biker bar.  LOL!  That was great.  This story leaves a few ties open, for what might come involving Kyle and his ties.  I do love Kyle as a character and there is more to go with him, as suspected with every meeting of him.   More stories easily could come about Kyle.  And I do want more.

Bonus Story:  Unmasked
Kyle's decades silent doorbell rings.  Upon opening he finds three young tricker-treaters.  The unexpected visitors gets Kyle thinking about Nik and Trina's Halloween Charity party as this year it's an orphanage.  So curious of the connection to the vampire Destraiti clan, Kyle joins the party for the first time, to find more young children roaming the residence.

Kyle is kind to the young tricker-treaters and give a a little history on the "All Hollows Eve."  Which is always cool to see what the take is in the world I read.  Kyle is such a closed person, but here he opens just a little for one night with the children.  In the end...Oh I do Love Kyle!  And a little surprise might end up in all the orphans treat bags.

I do enjoy Kyle, Nik and Katrina together.  They are great complements to each other and relax me into an easy smile.  This was a lovely story to end with, and to fall even harder for Kyle as well.

If you would like to order the book you can find it on Mundania Press or:
Amazon, Print:

Amazon, Kindle:

I read this book for review from the publisher.


Anonymous said...

"YES!! Oh yes!" - I love your enthusiasm here, which is making me want to meet these characters also :)

Blodeuedd said...

Ohh lots of stories in this one :)

GMR said...

Nice job on the review! I'm actually liking the cover's the same "girl-in-a-fancy-dress" scenario but darker and from another angle, it works.

Mirjam said...

That's a good number of short stories in one edition! I'm glad you had a good time!

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

I am curious as to how this was put together. So interesting. That alone makes me want to read it, but you excitement is what put me over the top. It's on the wishlist!

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

StephanieD - lol. Thank you! So glad the enthusiasm carried over. :) And I do hope you get to meet these characters one day. They are touching.

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

Blodeuedd, there where! And they really read wonderfully together. I really liked it, and fast too.

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

GMR, thank you! And I love that cover with the girl in the fancy dress. Beautiful. Does make you think of "light" in a dark world. :) Thank you!

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

Mirjam, I was very surprised, and loved how each story read well by themselves, and complemented each other so well as a whole. Thank you!

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

Melissa (Books&things) I do think you would love the characters here. Wonderful men to add to your harlem. ;) lol. And glad I could talk you into the to get you to order it. Hmmmm.... lol. Thank you!

Shooting Stars Mag said...

Oh intersting! I like the idea of short stories all coming together to showcase a collection of characters. Sounds fun!


Jennifer L. Bielman said...

Oh wow, this is fascinating. I can't even imagine how they formated all of it. A great concept though. Awesome review.

Melliane said...

I'm so difficult with namy little stories, I think I prefere a real big book. But it sounds really nice, I'll check this one. thanks!

Carole Rae said...

i really like the cover! the dress is lovely!

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

Lauren, Hi! Oh I really enjoyed this collection. I'm use to reading all different stories, but having a book with all set in the same world complimenting each other so really great the world and characters for me. I just loved it. :)

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

Jennifer L. Bielman, actually after reading this one, I think you would really enjoy this characters and the world here. :) Thank you!

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

Melliane, I understand completely! This is very well done with the shorts and grows all of the world and characters as you go. :) Thank you!

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

Carole Rae, If I had somewhere to wear a dress like that I would love to have one! :D

Cherry said...

I am not usually fond of short stories. I like thick books. But if this book is that good, it might work for me too! Thank you for sharing your views!

Melissa (My words and pages) said...

Cherry, I was really surprised with the stories with different characters. I had thought different characters where going to be the focus, but by the end Kyle was the one to come to light. I started a little skeptical in first story, but learning more in each story of the world here I really enjoyed it.