This is a short read since it’s the prequel to Darker Than Love by the same authors. There is a lot of action in this, including some scorching hot sex scenes, and plenty of character building. This didn’t leave a LOT of space for world building/ background setting BUT there was enough of that and I fully expect to learn more in the full length novel.
Mina, Yan and Ilya are incredibly intriguing characters and I can’t wait to learn more about them. I will definitely be continuing what I hope is their story in Darker Than Love. A great prequel, novella that is currently free and is well worth reading to see if these authors are for you.
This is my first encounter with either of these authors and based on this book it won’t be my last. I know that some readers may criticise that the first 25% of this book is the free prequel, but since there is still a good 4 hours of reading remaining in the book it’s still great value for money.
There were things I loved about this book and things that, for me personally, could have been better/different. However you can’t please all of the people all of the time! I loved that Mina was a genuinely strong character, a fighter, a survivor and one bad-ass female. I didn’t care for the one TSTL moment that flared like a warning beacon and resulted in quite a cliched ‘plot twist’. HOWEVER, clever writing around this allowed me to still enjoy the story and forgive this obvious move.
I liked how very different Yan and Ilya were, I have identical twin sons so I know how true this can be. Mine are like chalk and cheese 😂. Ilya broke something inside me when he had his heart-to-heart with Mina, this may be a work of fiction but I’m still hoping she had a chat with Yan at some point and opened his eyes to Ilya’s needs. It also explained why he appeared to be a bit of a douche at times, and I’m really hoping Ilya (and Anton) will get their own stories in the future.
Yan – what a guy. I loved him, I really did but he changed far too quickly and easily for my liking. I needed the dark, broody thug to remain for longer. I needed his resentment of Mina to be a little more forceful, a little more convincing. Whilst it took him most of the book to realised he could have, and indeed did have, feelings for Mina, those feelings changed him far too quickly. Softened him to swiftly, leaving behind a man who clearly was no threat whatsoever to the heroine. If you’re selling me a dark romance then I need the heroine (and Hero) to suffer, I need to feel peril, threat, conflict, I need to feel the couple are walking a knives edge and one slip could end it all. I didn’t get that feeling for most of this book, and that’s why I couldn’t give it a higher rating.
The writing, the flow, the dialogue and plot are all great (aforementioned plot cliche aside) and all worked together to make a very good read. Overall the pace was also good, with the book generally holding my attention. I did lose focus part way through, though I’m not sure if it was a me or a book thing. It was at about 58% in, just after Mina’s TSTL moment, so I’m not sure if it was just my frustration at knowing where one part of the plot was heading. However I pushed through and soon found myself totally caught up in the book again.
My final thought is that whilst the sex scenes were scorching hot, I did end up skimming over some. There were just too many and not all of them added anything to the story other than eroticism. I love a good sex scene as much as the next person but once or twice I felt as though it distracted from the story, rather than enhancing it. I already got that this pair couldn’t keep their hands of each other, that sex was a way they communicated their feelings for each other. I didn’t need it smashing over my head quite so many times. It started to feel almost as though they were filler, and this story didn’t need that.
So in summary I recommend Darker than Love because it has a great writing, a good plot, wonderful characters and is really enjoyable read.
Sweeter than Hate- https://www.amazon.com/Sweeter-Than-Hate-Darker-Prequel-ebook/dp/B0821JQ476/
Darker than Love – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07Z743YST/
Sweeter than Hate – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Sweeter-Than-Hate-Darker-Prequel-ebook/dp/B0821JQ476/
Darker than Love – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Darker-Than-Love-Anna-Zaires-ebook/dp/B07Z743YST/
5 stars – This is a book I will not forget and would definitely read again.
4 stars – I really enjoyed this book, I might not read it again but I would definitely recommend it to others.
3 stars – This story was good but either forgettable or just very typical of its genre.
2 stars – Whilst the book was readable I either didn’t enjoy parts of the plot or just could not connect to the main characters.
1 star – This is a book I simply could not finish for reasons listed in the review.