My dear bookish friends!
Have you read a novel featuring vampires lately? Well, I hadn’t, but then along came a new TheWriteReads blog tour featuring Karolina Dalca, Dark Eyes by M.R. Noble, and the situation changed! Big thanks to Dave and the author for my spot on the tour! Read on to find out why this is a book you should read if you like fantasy novels, vampires, or a fantasy novel featuring vampires – but with a twist!
Blindsided by an attack that destroys her home and blamed for murder, Karolina Dalca, a half-vampire, escapes, only to plunge into the magical societies from which she was sheltered.
Betrayed by those around her, she abandons her dreams of becoming an investigator and flees, trusting only herself. Her police internship would never prove more useful. Hoofing it through the wilderness, she makes it to her university dorm, disheveled but delightfully deflowered.
Enter a full vampire: one wielding dark magic and a ride out of Canada. A fugitive from the law, Karo complies with his demands to escape, unsure whether his requests are bewitched. She vows to clear her name and avenge her mother’s death, but Karo’s family secrets aren’t so easily left behind.
I have to start my review with a note on the cover. Since I’m doing the banners for the TheWriteReads blog tours, I look at the covers very closely, and I was absolutely mesmerised by this one! I love the colours, the intensity in the pupil, the close proximity of the eye. It’s very pretty, in my humble opinion. And now, let’s move on to the content!
Starting Karolina Dalca, the story immediately was gripping and full of both action and questions you want to have answered. I kept on reading and when I had to put the book down for some time I caught myself thinking about it – always a good sign! The intensity of the story continues on like this all the way throughout the book and that is another thing I liked a lot – it doesn’t descend; on the contrary!
I loved the magic in this novel, the combination of dark magic and light magic, and that there are vampires, half-vampires, and werewolves. There is a lot of action going on (as I said), and there is also quite a bit of violence happening, just be warned that some things are also a bit graphic.
When Karolina is having a bit of a fight with her mother about an old topic – her father and who his family might be – her home is attacked and her mother is killed. Karolina has to leave her home in a hurry and try to get away from the attackers. The killing of her mother comes as a shock both for her and the reader, and it’s then that the story’s pace picks up even more.
Unfortunately, being a half-vampire who can’t control her powers fully yet, and with no immediate family left around her, Karolina is left to fend for herself. Where should she go? Who can she trust?
On the one hand, there is her childhood friend, Roman, who also happens to be a werewolf. His and her family have always been very close, and their mothers always wanted to see them together, so there’s already a deep connection and foundation of trust between them. Roman is eager for more too, while Karolina is determined to keep things in the friendzone. I liked reading about the two growing up together; it was nice to know that she wasn’t all alone after all.
But then, another man appears in her life: Andre, a vampire, sent by her father’s side of the family in order to bring her back home to Romania. I’m usually not a big fan of love triangles, but it didn’t bother me too much here. It kind of felt natural that Karolina was pulled towards both men, each of them for different reasons, and in her state of fear and confusion it only made sense.
*****Read on with caution – might contain spoilers***** (if you don’t want spoilers, jump down to my conclusion)
However, something I didn’t like – and that’s possibly a spoiler but I have to mention it because it’s the only thing that really bothered me, but if you don’t want to know then jump down to the conclusion at the end! – was what happened when Karolina ran away from home right after her mother was killed. She stumbled upon Roman in the deep, dark forest, and she found out that he’s a werewolf. And then, they have sex.
I mean… she just saw her mother getting brutally murdered and ran for her life for hours, then found out that her best friend for all her life is a werewolf (being a vampire or not), and then basically just gives herself to him even though she spent the past years trying to convince him to stay friends only… It just didn’t make sense to me. But if you can look past that, you will be sucked into the fast-paced story again and have other questions you’re more interested in solving!
Overall, I can say that Karolina Dalca, Dark Eyes offers a set of interesting, deep characters that you want to learn more about, a fast-paced plot and interesting settings. It feels a bit like a mixture between a contemporary thriller and fantasy and is full of twists and questions you’re desperate to find answers to. The novel has some pretty dark themes reminiscent of the horror genre – blood drinking, violence, gore, deaths, decapitations, fights, but then again it also has some romance, family themes, mysteries, magic, and more, so all in all it is balanced out pretty well. I loved that the vampire myth was done a bit differently here, and if you think ‘oh, vampires and werewolves, is it like Twilight?’ – I can tell you no, no it’s not.
All in all, I definitely enjoyed this book! I liked the action, the fast-pacedness (is that a word?), the magic, the setting, and the wide range of interesting characters. The writing style was nice, engaging and captivating right from the start, and I want to read the next one in the series!
4 stars from me!
About the Author
M. R. Noble has played a tug of war between science and art her whole life, but the rope broke when she wrote the first line of The Dark Eyes series. Immersed up to her keyboard in paranormal romance and urban fantasy, she enjoys blending the real with the surreal. The only drawback is she misplaces her mug while dreaming up her next scene, and soon finds herself six cups overpoured.
Keeping to her Lake Simcoe roots, she is a member of the Writers Community of York Region (WCYR), where her muse is made not found . . . over a hefty cup of coffee.
You can find her on her website, Facebook, Twitter.
Thank you all so much for reading, and do check out the other stops on the tour!