Author: Donna Grant
US Publisher: Mass Market Paperback
- Midnight’s Master – Gwen and Logan. Logan has been pulled through time, to find his fellow Warriors and to fight Deirdre (a drougb). Gwen is in Scotland looking for her father who disappeared. Turns out Gwen is a druid and didn’t know it.
- Midnight’s Lover – Ian and Danielle. Ian is also pulled forward. Danielle is a druid and her power is that she can hear lost items and they tell her who to return them to. She finds a key that is demanding to be brought back to McLeod Castle.
- Mindnight’s Seduction – Saffron and Camdyn. Saffron was being held by Declan Wallace because she is a Seer. Camdyn rescued her with his power to move the earth (he got the earth to open up so he could get under the bars to her cell).
- Midnight’s Warrior – Tara and Ramsey. Tara was on the run from Declan since he had her for a little while some time ago.
- Midnight’s Kiss – Ronnie and Arran. Ronnie is an archeologist running a dig that the Warriors believe will yield an artifact that will help them find the spell to bind the Warriors’ Gods again. Ronnie accidentally sets free some awful enemy (the selmyr) that feeds on magic and can’t seem to be stopped.
- Midnight’s Captive – Laura and Charon. Laura has worked for Charon and Charon is a Warrior who has kept his distance from the other Warriors. He helps them, but still considers himself separate and different. Laura convinces Charon to meet with representatives from Dreagan, a specialty whiskey company. Turns out, they are dragon kings. And they have been aware of all the goings on with Declan and Deirdre. They stay out of things unless there is a very good reason to get involved. But here, they start to help. And, it turns out Laura is a druid too even though she didn’t know it.
- Midnight’s Temptation – Phelan and Aisley. Aisley is a drough, forced to become so by her cousin Declan. And while Declan is dead, things are not over as Declan’s cousin Jason is even more dangerous looking to take over the world. Turns out Aisley is a phoenix and she got out of giving her soul to Satan when she gave her life for Phelan. She also is the key to getting the selmyr trapped again.
- Midnight’s Promise – Malcolm and Evie. First, this is really the end of this “series”. The epilogue gives use a paragraph or two on each of the couples so far. Jason Wallace has set somethings in motion – trying to get Malcolm to get Evie pregnant so that the child will be the child of prophecy and will be his to control. Evie can talk with rocks, the way Diedre did. In fact, that’s why Malcolm comes across Evie. Despite Evie’s attempt at the drough ceremony, she doesn’t become drough because the wind manages to prevent the final drop of blood from hitting its mark. So, she has the ability to use black magic but she’s not drough. Her necklace, which is the key to the spell the group is looking for was in her keeping. They defeat Jason and manage to live happily ever after.
- Midnight’s Surrender – Dale and Rennie.
Dark Sword – come before the Dark Warriors. Set in historical Scotland, we see the first set of Warriors and their pairings.
Dark Kings – after the Dark Warriors. This is the transition to and story of the Dragon Kings we met in Midnight’s Captive.
NOTE: This is a review of the series as a whole, not any particular book.
I started with the first of the Dark Warriors series, I did not read the Dark Sword series first. That didn’t make things difficult from a plot perspective, but it was surprising in a few ways to discover that there were a number of books that came first. The same way there were two factions (the druids/good and drough/bad) of magicians in this series, my thoughts on these books are split into good and bad thoughts.
Lets start with the good. The books were easy to read. The characters were likeable. The background, which presumably came from a bunch of other books, is nicely summarized in each book (concise, consistent and usually timed perfectly in the plot of each individual book). In fact, the summaries were so similar that once you realized where they started (it helped that I read these all back-to-back), skimming them was possible without missing any info that would be important later. There seemed to be chemistry between the characters. And, while each story took place over a relatively condensed time frame, it often lasted more than two days. Which, when trying to convince a reader that a relationship has developed is nice. And, the entire series takes place over a few years. This is a nice change of pace from a lot of the contemporaries in this genre which insist on having a life altering relationship “develop” in 30 seconds or less.
Interestingly, the gods weren’t really all that important. Don’t get me wrong, the fact that they existed and made the men in this series Warriors was integral to the overall story arc for the series. But, the details of which god had what powers (etc.) wasn’t something that a reader needed to worry about or remember. Contrast that to the Lords of the Underworld series (which I love), and we have two ends of the spectrum with how much of a role the gods themselves play. I liked the background role they played here versus being front-and-center, in your face, causing all kinds of direct problems with the relationship development that they do in some other series. The ladies were also generally not weak, whiney, pathetic women. They went into battle (albeit magical battle) and I wasn’t questioning them being there. The dialogue, with the exception of the accent (which I will address in the cons section), wasn’t too cheesy and was easy to digest. Overall, the entire story arc was something that was easy to digest and easier to route for the good guys. Finally, it was a nice surprise to get a few other magical beings tossed into the mix – kept things from getting too stale, and let characters die yet live on, without feeling like the author wussed out and contrived some too-easy way out of letting the character get what was coming based on the course of the plot to that point.
The bad. Well, it’s inevitable. Like in all these books where good can’t exist without bad, and vice versa, this series too had its areas for improvement. There were small and large issues. Plot inconsistencies and holes can seem little, but in my mind they are always large. They indicate, to me, a failure in planning by the author or laziness. Small items that are inconsistent seem more like laziness to me (but, I am not an author of anything more than short stories). And there were a number of small items, that really nagged at me the whole way through. For example, Gwen joins the folks in the castle in the first book. But then in the second book, there are statements about it being so long since anyone new came to the castle. But, these two books weren’t exactly set months apart. That one stuck with me, and reared its head a few times throughout the series. Then, the fact that Jason could not know he had magic, study up and practice and learn all that Declan did and more in less than a year? Please…. That’s too much of a stretch of reality, even for a fantasy book for me. Part of the problem is that when fantasy tries to keep a foot in reality, the fantastical aspects should be the only ones that are fantastical. You know, if I am going to suspend reality for the notion that there are gods and druids, but still be required to believe in security at famous places and cars being normal, then I don’t want to all of a sudden have every human be able to teleport their mail. Maybe that’s just me…
Then, there’s the language: “doona”, “willna” and “wasna”, “no’ going” and “no’ likely”. These made me want to bang my head against the nearest door. Either write everything with the accent or don’t write it at all. I am reminded of Alexander (that awful movie staring Colin Farrell and Angelina Jolie) – they all had different accents, and they were speaking English. In ancient rome, do we really think they spoke that way? I’m not an idiot. I would rather ditch a pretenses and just speak English without the fake accents (or better yet, the Hunt for Red October did it excellently, check it out to see what I mean – they used transitions and it was a million times better). So, if you aren’t going to give me the phonetic spelling of all words from the highlanders, don’t give me any. It is distracting.
Finally, there the sex scenes. I don’t mind reading stuff that is pretty steamy. But, these books tend to be a little… softer. So when “rod” is thrown in with all the softer terms its a little shocking. This happens a number of times (same bat-word on the same bat-channel) throughout the series. And, turns out that this author isn’t even all that creative with these scenes. If you want to be explicit, be explicit; if you want to be soft, be soft. But here, it feels like a discombobulated mess. Steaminess on a scale of 5 sits at about a 3. Creativity score on the same scale sits at a 1. Repetitiveness (not to be confused with non-creativity as I mean them in two totally different ways) is a 4.8.
Will I read the other series? Probably. Although I have a few JR Ward, Larissa Ione, Molly harper, Dakota Cassidy (and others) installments to read first.