Book Review: Chasing Sunrise (The Darkmore Saga Book 1) by Lex Chase

 
 
Sevon may hold the title of King, but he's merely a puppet, manipulated and abused by Dominic, who makes all the decisions and uses Sevon's position, and power to open the Veil, to control the kingdom of Darkmore. But when the shifter Jack is captured from the land of Priagust where they are planning to invade, Sevon forms a bond with him, finds that he might actually be able to trust someone for once, and starts to realize there's a lot he never knew about his own past and the history of Darkmore.
 

 
Book Review: Chasing Sunrise (The Darkmore Saga Book 1) by Lex Chase | books, reading, book covers, book reviews, fantasy, urban fantasy, paranormal romance, high fantasy, lgbt, vampires, shifters
Title: Chasing Sunrise
Author:
Publisher:
Book Number: Book 1 of TBA
Pages: 269
My Book Rating: 3.5 Stars
More Info: , Amazon, Publisher
 

Review:

*I received a free ecopy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

Don’t be fooled by the pretty, full-of-light, calm sunrise on the cover—this book was actually rather dark. It wasn’t bleak or depressing, but it was dark nonetheless.

And most of that darkness came courtesy of Dominic. Dominic was vile. He was a physcially, emotionally, and sexually abusive, cruel, manipulative, truly messed-up sociopath. So if you like a villain you can utterly hate, you’ve found one. But possibly the worst abuse was the way he messed with Sevon’s head. He spent 20 years lying, telling Sevon he loved him, making Sevon rely on him and believe that he couldn’t survive without him, making Sevon feel guilty… It was a very realistic form of abuse—just in a very fantastical context.

But then there was Sevon himself. I felt terrible for him but was afraid that, after all that abuse, he would come across as this weak, puppy-dog character, but he didn’t. Yes, he was confused sometimes about what to feel or think or do, as anyone would be after what he’d been through. And yes, he let Dominic have control over him because he literally didn’t have any other options at that point. But I still felt that he was a strong. He kept going each day despite the horror of the situation he was living in. He did stand up to Dominic sometimes and defend others, even when he knew he would be tortured for it. He tried to stay true to himself as best as he could. And, above all else, he never let the abuse turn him into a cruel person himself. I also liked Sevon for the way he broke stereotypes. He wore makeup, gowns, and lacey panties with leather pants and combat boots, and he owned it. The way the cross-dressing was included was also great because it was just a part of who he was rather than the focus of the story.

And then there was Jack, who was great from the moment he was introduced in the dungeon. He was confident, smart, observant, and caring. But he also stood up to Dominic, always managed to keep his humor even in the worst of moments, and didn’t let anyone or anything break him.

So as you can probably tell from everything I’ve said so far, this novel was VERY character-driven. I liked that though, so I never felt it was too slow. The romance, however, was a little too sappy and perfect for me. All the obstacles came from outside the relationship rather than inside, and personally I like to have some of both.

I also felt that things started jumping around from POV to POV a bit too much near the end, and there were a lot of fight scenes shown that weren’t bad but just weren’t necessary.

One last thing that could go either way depending on your preference was the complexity of the world. It was kind of urban fantasy because the characters went out into the human world sometimes, but it was also kind of high fantasy. There were aisa (basically vampires) and shifters, each with various different species within them that each had different abilities. There were also different lands where they lived within the Veil. And as someone who rarely reads high fantasy, it was a little confusing at times, but not impossibly so. I didn’t know there was a glossary in the back, so I recommend using that because it probably would’ve helped!

Overall though, I liked how character-driven the book was, how well the manipulation and effect it had on Sevon was portrayed, and the vampire/sensual feeding aspect since I love vampire books, so it was an enjoyable read!

 
 
Book Blurb

The once glorious aisa kingdom of Darkmore lies in ruins, and King Sevon Maraté is trapped. Sevon endures unrelenting abuse and is used as a scapegoat by Lord Dominic Ravensgrove, who rules Darkmore from the shadows. Coping by dressing in gowns and jewels, the effeminate king relishes the scraps of freedom he is given to be himself.

As a verkolai, Sevon possesses the ability to part the Veil separating his world from hundreds of others. His gift provides a chance for escape, but Dominic refuses to relinquish his tool for power. When Dominic forges an ambitious plan to invade the prosperous shifter land of Priagust, he manipulates Sevon’s desperation for his people’s survival. Out of options, Sevon has no choice but to cooperate.

On their foray into Priagust, Dominic’s men abduct a shifter named Jack. Despite being tortured for information, Jack’s loyalty to his kind never wavers. But Jack’s knowledge about Darkmore’s history unsettles Sevon, and a curious bond begins to form. Despite Sevon’s mistrust, Jack is determined to tame the beautiful king’s wild heart and perhaps earn his freedom.

As war looms, Sevon fears Jack’s kindness is another trap. Conflicted, Sevon wonders if he should risk chasing the sunrise or remain Dominic’s compliant prisoner.

Basic Info

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Setting Location: , ,

More Info (Possible Spoilers)

Sexual Orientation: ,
Non-Human Type: ,
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Warnings

Sex:
Violence:
Strong Language:

 
 
 
 
 

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  1. sjhigbee

    This sounds a really intriguing read – thank you for an articulate, comprehensive review. But, right now I’ve a stack of stuff on my TBR pile and I’ve read some rather bleak stuff recently – I could do with something a little fluffier… That said, I’m glad that Fantasy also gets to deal with some of the gnarlier aspects of human relationships!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah, this review did get rather long, but I like your word for it! Comprehensive makes me feel better about it :-P I guess I just had a lot to say, and I’m glad you liked it :-) But it does start to bog you down when you read too much dark/bleak stuff all in a row, so I completely get what you’re saying about needing something fluffier. I do like when darker relationships like that are explored though!

  2. Annika @ Hiding Books

    Oh my gosh – poor Sevon! waahhh
    It sounds like this deals with some heavier but important topics though, and I feel like I’d really like Sevon and Jack.. AND I ALREADY HATE DOMINIC.
    I’ll add this to my TBR for when I feel like it! Thanks for the tip about the glossary, I’ll keep it in mind ;)

    Annika @ Hiding Books recently posted: SHTUM by Jem Lester

    1. Kristen Burns

      I felt so terrible for Sevon!!! And you should already hate Dominic! VILE. JUST VILE. No other word for him.

      But yes, do check out the glossary lol. And I’m glad I could help point out a book you might be interested in :-)

  3. Lola

    I like the title of this one Chasing Sunrise, it also sounds like it fits the story. And yes from the cover I would expect a more light and uplifting book than how you describe it. I actually prefer the villains that still seem human and have shades of grey. I guess there’s also something to be said for a villain you can hate with everything without feeling bad about it, but it always seems a bit less interesting and realistic to me.
    Dominic really sounds like a cruel and abusive person. I can’t imagine what sevon must be going through. You know my opinion about torture scenes. It does sound interesting how the cross dressing is part of the story and it just is rather than take the focus. I do like character driven books, but with the dark aspects and torture scenes I don’t think this would be a book for me. Great review!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah this would definitely not be your kind of book because of the torture and abuse. I also agree that I generally like sympathetic villains, however, there is something to be said about one you can just hate. I feel like it’s still realistic since there are people out there who are just cruel and selfish, real life sociopaths, you know?

      Also, in addition to the way the cross-dressing was handled in the book, it was handled great by Jack (the love interest) too. Like, he asked about it at one point, but not in any demeaning way. He too just accepted it as part of Sevon, and it was sweet the way he even made sure to get Sevon a dress when they were staying somewhere else and needed to borrow clothes <3

      1. Lola

        I guess I am just a bit of an optimist at times and would like to belie those purely selfish people don’t exist in real life. But I know there are some people like that, so I agree that it realistic as well, I guess I just enjoy reading about them less.

        That’s a nice it also was handled well by the love interest. Sometimes it’s better when a topic like that just is and is accepted like that without too much focus on it. That’s such a nice gesture with the dress. I like romances like that where they give each other things that are perfect for the other or when they act so thoughtful.

        1. Kristen Burns

          Funny, I think my discussion topic for next week is about realism in books, and I do touch on selfish, not-good-people types of characters lol.

          As I mentioned, the romance was a little too perfect for me, but the way he accepted that part of Sevon was a good kind of perfect.

  4. Daniela Ark

    ok time for little kid blog Daniela to confess. I know I always talk about how dark and edgy I like my books to be but I’m a little weary of really really bad villains like Dominic. I think I like misunderstood villains that are perceived as bad but then end up not being that bad. With all the unicorns and rainbows that may come with it :P
    The world sounds that it would confuse me too!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I mean, I think I like sympathetic villains better too because I like how they make me confused about how I should feel lol, but I also like the extra darkness that can come with the truly messed up ones. I think I said on your blog once that maybe we like different *types* of dark books? Or maybe not. I don’t know. Dark is such a hard thing to define in books. But hey at least we can both be twisted and dark-loving together all the same ;-)

  5. Bookworm Brandee

    Well, you know I’m a fan of dark and I’m a fan of a good character-driven story, so… This sounds like a book to go on my tbr! ;) I will say that after reading your review, the cover makes absolutely no sense. That irritates me. Also, I love a villain I can hate but Dominic sounds almost too much. Pure evil, really. The high fantasy feel also makes me a bit leery. Luckily Sevon sounds like a hero I can root for. I love that he doesn’t let all the bad he’s experienced make him weak. That’s admirable. And Jack? I’m eager to meet him as well. Great review, Kristen!

    Bookworm Brandee recently posted: Bought, Borrowed, & Bagged #87 ~ Small Haul

    1. Kristen Burns

      That’s right, you do like dark and character-driven! Plus I think you might like the romance more than I did. And I think you’ll love Jack especially! But yeah… I don’t understand the cover either lol. Covers are supposed to give the reader an idea of what the book will be like, and this one doesn’t. I wouldn’t have looked twice at this if I just passed it on Amazon or something.