Book Review: Thea Harrison’s Rising Darkness

Posted June 4, 2013 by Kathy Davie in

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Thea Harrison’s Rising Darkness

Rising Darkness

It is part of the Game of Shadows #1 series and is a in Paperback edition on April 2, 2013 and has 304 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

First in the Game of Shadows paranormal romance series revolving around what remains of seven self-sacrificing aliens.

I dunno, after reading Rising Darkness, I’m curious as to how Harrison has her next stories plotted out. I tend to interpret a paranormal romance series as a one in which each succeeding book focuses on a different character with previous and future characters revolving around them. If more than half are dead…

My Take

This story was an unexpected direction from Harrison, and she threw in plenty of misdirection as she appeared to take us in one direction before veering off in another, weaving it all back into one. Sadness, tension, drama, history — which is always my trigger! — the “magical” and spirit help, chases, battles…it’s all here to make you gasp, cry, and wonder.

It’s an interesting range of characters. Michael knows who he is; we don’t. Especially in the way that Harrison depicts him, first making me think he’s a budding sociopath before softening him, a touch. Astra’s and the Deceiver’s characters fit within their roles, but Mary is confusing as her portrayed character is both resistant and accepting. It was too easy for her to accept Michael, although I suppose the Deceiver may well have contributed to Michael’s veracity!

That first chapter is an odd start, but interesting. I do love the sound of Mary’s ivory tower; it’s a nice bit of foreshadowing along with Mary’s choice of career.

I do have some objections to how Harrison depicts Mary’s feelings towards her ex. She makes him sound like such a jerk, making me want to punch him, but Harrison, eventually, leaks the truth which makes me do a 180. And leaves me confused. I get that Harrison is setting Mary up as angry about her life, of which Justin is still so much a part, but it feels more like someone wasn’t paying attention in the editing phase. I am surprised that Mary didn’t call Tony to find out if Justin is okay or still lost.

Ooh, that settles it…Harrison brings up Dorothy Dunnett…I gotta love her.

It was fascinating to read as Mary got her memory back, especially the way in which Harrison describes Mary’s thoughts—it was almost poetic. I liked the twist Harrison put on this part of it with Mary gaining her memories, but not the truth of her origins. A major setback for Michael and Astra.

I don’t know how I feel about the scene where the Deceiver appears to Mary. It was too easy, even if it is the way I wanted it to play out. And what’s the deal with Justin’s interchanges with the Deceiver. I was expecting him to throw in with him.

Oh, that scene where Michel finds his Maryam at last…it just makes me cry!

Then there’s the end…oh, boy. And Harrison is gonna make me wait until 2014 to find out how the Deceiver deploys his evil??? Arghhhh…

The Story

Seven beings chose to die and follow the Deceiver to Earth. Now there’s only Astra and Michael and Mary left, and the Deceiver has been hunting for Mary since he almost destroyed her spirit 900 years ago.

Michael has been searching for his soulmate all that time, but she’s been too damaged to return.

Until now.

The Characters

Dr. Mary Byrne, an ER doctor, has always had problems with her dreams. Enough so that she sought out professional help. Nine hundred years ago, she was a healer, Maryam, and famed far and wide. Justin is her ex-husband, a lawyer, and not just any ex as the two have a friendly relationship. Tony is his other half and a doctor.

Michael learns to channel his anger and learns why it exists. Nine hundred years ago, he was Michel, the leader of a band of Italian mercenaries.

Grandmother, a.k.a., PesanWi (White Buffalo Calf Woman), a.k.a., Astra, has chosen to remain alive from the beginning of their time on Earth. Ariel and her twin, her mate, Uriel, along with Gabriel and Raphael have been destroyed. The Honored One is a dragon whom Mary met in her last life.

Jerry Crow, Jerry’s son Nicholas, and Justin, a grandson, are Ojibwa, carefully groomed by Astra. Nicholas had been carefully positioned to protect the president. Gretchen is a medium with a message for Mary. Danny is a very kind bartender.

The Deceiver is evil and seeking power for himself.

The Cover and Title

The cover in the book I read is a collage of the story with a wary, red-headed Mary gripping her sword above a green-glowing sky-view of a major city with a thin band of a bright blue on the right edge.

The title is what’s in store for us, the world, should Mary and Michael fail, we’ll face a Rising Darkness.