Race the Darkness is something that I enjoyed more towards the middle-to-end than at the start.
The REASON for my delayed enjoyment IS the hero XANDER STONE IS quite the KNOB. At least at first he is and I had a difficult time getting into him. As I read further I realized that Abbie Roads did that for character growth. (…and then I had to forgive her for putting me through his thorough knobiness.)
The victim of a lighting strike that left him disfigured, Xander grudgingly uses the sixth sense side effect of his incident to discover truths in the name of justice. Hearing the thoughts of others is painful for him but he is trying to put the curse to good use. It’s an act of contrition for being a right knob–this is my interpretation and not the character’s confession, because Xander is okay being knobby. Being a sorta good-doer is seriously the least he can do because he is cranky and disconnected from everyone he knows. And this guy has Daddy Issues that go on for miles. But really, no excuses will make me not want to smack him in the chops for being as he is.
When he hears a voice calling out to him with urgency he has never experienced before, he arrives to save Isleen in the nick of time. He is at a loss as to how she survived as long as she has in captivity with her grandmother; tortured by the hand of a lunatic female driven by a thirst for causing others pain. He’s not prepared for Isleen to whisper that she knew he’d come; revealing that she has seen him in her visions for years.
Isleen has known pain and little else in her life. She has a gift that makes her a target for prejudice, and she is unwittingly prey for those with demented thoughts. Much like Xander, she suffers the effects of her ability, until he finally comes for her. There is a connection between them and Xander soon finds he can’t stand for her to be far from him. And Isleen’s powers grow as Xander’s presence strengthens her. (Insert character growth here–thank God and Abbie Roads–for good things.)
The Fatal Dreams series is a hotpot of psychic abilities, elemental energies, Native American magic, and a sense of true evil. AR plays with the philosophical struggle of good and evil–or rather good versus evil; it acknowledges there is a weakness in man and a flaw in the design of mankind. The idea that there might be a foundation that makes someone good, or a corruption that turns a person bad is seen throughout the story on a sliding scale of morality. The reasons for the actions of the characters is a gray area quickly lost to the black and white definitives of fact and fiction. Even in a perfect moment, Abbie Roads tells her readers, nothing is safe.
This novel is full of crazy twists and turns. So many crossing storylines and WTH moments make this story solid gold. The writing is fantastic. The crafting superb. Each revealing is thrilling. The reason this book only has a four star rating is I really haven’t had enough therapy for how annoyingly knobby Xander is at the start. He’s all cardboard, non-personable, jadedness. First impressions matter. I might like him in the end but it’s only because Isleen made me.
I can’t wait to start the next novel in this series!
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