Hearts of Darkness by Kira Brady
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Seattle Kayla Friday arrives in is a dark and dreary place, it looked like a war torn third world county, a far cry from the city she recently left. Most electrical devices do not work, people drive old diesel cars and street lights are mostly gas lanterns. This is the Seattle that has stolen everything from Kayla, her mother died violently years before, her father from heartbreak a year later and now her sister Desi has died. Kayla is on her way to the morgue to identify her sister as she notices strange things around her and finds trouble when a man named Hart approaches her and others try to kill him.
Souls are supposed to pass through Gates of death peacefully and move on to the other side; however those that refused or are forbidden swarmed around and caused problems. Kayla can see the Aether which are the waves that surrounded all matter. The Aether does not like the ghosts that do not pass through the gates; these beings are the cause of modern day problems for a city like Seattle.
In the recent weeks before her death Desi had become remote and non-communicative and although she was studying at the university, she was dating a mysterious man that Kayla did not know, named Norgard. Desi became very interested in Babylonian history and mythology and Kayla believed she was caught up in something violent and evil that got her killed.
Hart is a wolf shifter from the Kivati pack, but was run out of the pack because he was “moon marked” and not welcomed. It is said that Hart is not able to control the beast within and therefore he is not to be trusted during a full moon. He believes Kayla has information about a necklace he needs that gets him one step closer to freedom from Norgard. The necklace is believed to open the Gates of death and bring evil into the world and many want it for power.
Norgard is a powerful Drekar, dragons that feed on human souls, and although they are not the only ones that want the necklace Hart was making sure Norgard gets it first. The Kivati also want the necklace, they are a legendary species of shifters that have been around for years, Raven, Cougar, Coyote, Thunderbird and Wolf. They once protected the land and humankind and although they still do officially, they are too caught up in a war with the Drekar to help.
Hart tells Kayla that he will help if she gives him the necklace when they find it. With clues her sister left, they find the necklace at her mother’s grave and Kayla gives the necklace to Hart for safe keeping not knowing he will give it to Norgard, she feels betrayed and soon finds herself in trouble as Norgard believes she can fulfill a destiny and is kidnapped. When others find out Hart is free and what his last mission was to gain it they are angry and asks him to try to save her, and even though he believes he has no redeeming qualities, he does have a conscience and begins to think that although it may be a suicide mission he can rescue Kayla from Norgard.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, the world building and characters take you to an alternate Seattle that looks nothing like you would imagine. The ending is surprising and the fact that neither the Drekar nor the Kivati seem to be the good guys and we really do not know who to trust makes the story even more fun to read. Humans are unaware of “the others” that surround them every day until the fight to free a valued leader and find the necklace to keep the Gates closed bring it all to a head. Hart and Kayla learn to trust each other to help with the fight and become much more than they ever thought to each other. A riveting and engaging read that grabs you until the end.
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