Darkness Brutal (The Dark Cycle #1)
by Rachel A. Marks

I admit I was probably a bit prejudiced going into this one because typically I do not enjoy UF (with a few notable exceptions like Rivers of London and Felix Castor) with male protagonists as much as I do female POV.

So it was a slow start for this book for me. Also, there was the glimmerings of a love triangle right from the start, and I’m a bit jaded with that particular trope.

But Aidan’s combination of need to protect, connection to his sister, and ability to rumble it out with demons totally kept me reading.

Aidan mostly lives on the streets, trying to take care of his little sister housed by foster parents, and desperately trying to stay under the radar of the demons he sees tormenting humans and causing violence. His mother was killed by a demon and demons show up every three years to try and kidnap his sister.

Also Aidan can speak like all these ancient languages and read people’s feelings very well.

When he gets too involved in a girl being menaced by demons outside a bar one night, just after kissing a different girl and experiencing a weird magical connection, he must seek out the help of the mysterious Sid– leader of a band of misfit youths– to figure out how to keep his sister safe.

As I said, it’s slow going at first. Aidan falls prey to the “I won’t tell anyone anything” which coupled with Sid’s “I won’t tell you important history because you’re not ready for it” and Aidan’s sister Ava’s “I won’t tell you what I’m doing because I’m protecting you” sometimes made me grind my teeth a little….but then we’d get to a Aidan/Kara scene where the emotions sung off the page…or we’d get a little more of the interesting spin on demons, angels, and magic that this book presents and I would just fly along to find out how Aidan would get himself out of the current predicament.

The test of a new series for me is that if I’ve received the first book through a freebie promo or as a review copy, would I pay full price for the next in the series? The answer to this one is definitely yes. Off I go to buy Darkness Fair!