Surrender the Dark, by Tibby Armstrong
Series: The Dark, Book One
Release Date: May 23, 2017
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Benjamin Fuller is a hunter, born and bred. Blinded as a child by the vampire who slaughtered his family, he’s blessed with a second sight that allows him to catch and kill his quarry. What his gift can’t help him see coming is his fierce, almost carnal attraction to the mystery man who claims to be a fellow hunter and whose touch triggers both lust and revulsion. When he gains the upper hand, Benjamin vows to bring his enemy to his knees.
After many years spent in exile, the only one who can help restore Tzadkiel Dragoumanos to his rightful place as War King is a blind hunter with golden curls, a lithe dancer’s physique, and distinctive facial scars—scars Tzadkiel gave him two decades ago. The mere scent of Benjamin Fuller provokes an unwelcome rush of insatiable desire. Yet to win an all-out supernatural war, Tzadkiel must resist the ravenous hunger to possess his prey—for now.
Enemies to Lovers
What’s this? A paranormal romance, enemies-to-lovers story about a vampire hunter who falls for the vampire who killed his family and blinded him as a child?
Can you blame me for jumping on this one right away?
Hunter born, hunter bred. Kill the vampires, or you’ll be dead.
This book felt like it was written for me. I love paranormal romances, I really love enemies-to-lovers stories, and I have been a big fan of vampires since my first Anne Rice book, many moons ago. To have all three in one book almost seemed like an embarrassment of riches. The question was: would all those things make for an interesting book?
Yes. Yes it did. And that’s despite the requisite world building that can either seem like too much or not nearly enough if an author doesn’t get the balance right. Fortunately, this new-to-me author was able to give us just the right amount, neither bogging the story down nor being too scarce with important details.
Set in modern day Boston, Surrender The Dark takes the vampire trope and turns it just enough to give us something that feels fresh. In this world, vampires aren’t always the bad guys. In fact, there is a code of honour among them “not to drain a man who was unwilling to be turned, and who was not an immediate threat or active foe.”
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the vampire hunters whose job it is to torture and kill all vampires indiscriminately. A lesson Benjamin learns at far too young an age.
When he was grown, he’d be expected to wring information from vampires – to take their hoards and use the money from the ancient treasures to hunt more of their kind, until every last one was exterminated from the earth.
When 11 yr old Benjamin fails at his mission to make his very first vampire kill, it results in the deaths of his uncle and his parents, and ends up with him being accidentally scarred and blinded. Nineteen years later, the vampire he failed to kill – a War King – has finally recovered enough from the torture inflicted by Benjamin’s uncle wishing to reclaim his rightful place as War King and exact revenge for his grievous injuries. And the only way to do that is to drink the blood of a vampire hunter.
While the story takes a little time to start, it soon sets a brisk place. Tzadkiel’s plans for revenge are delayed when it’s discovered that a coven of witches is set to take over the site of his former stronghold, an area of Boston Common known for its strong magical properties. In fact, the coven intends to make the area inaccessible to all magical creatures, while claiming the area for themselves.
When Benjamin is blackmailed into helping Tzadkiel with his plan to defeat the witches and reclaim the stronghold, the two men find that even being mortal enemies isn’t enough to dampen the attraction between them, no matter how ill-advised it would be.
“Lie to yourself if you must, Benjamin.” He nipped with his incisors, testing the supple skin. “No man who hates, as you say you do, offers to get down on his knees.” The part of Tzadkiel that could still reason uttered the hard truth. “He goes there out of fear and desperation.” He lifted his head and traced one finger down Benjamin’s cheek and followed the motion with languorous lick. “Or because he wants to, damn the consequences and forget his scars.”
The lust/hate relationship between the two men develops into a mutual respect in a way that doesn’t feel forced or rushed. By the end of the book, I was convinced that, despite the circumstances, they had come to regard each other in a positive light while still staying true to themselves.
All in all, I really enjoyed this book. I’m interested to see where this series takes us next as there is an unresolved storyline involving one of Benjamin’s friends and I believe Book 2 will be his story. So yeah, I’m totally here for that!
Tibby Armstrong has been a romance reader since the age of eleven, when she snuck a very bad historical from her aunt’s shelves. In her late twenties, she fell in love with paranormal romance and urban fantasy. Now she writes contemporary and paranormal stories with strong relationship threads and a healthy helping of steam.
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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.