*I received an ebook copy of this from Skyscape via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Series: (The Dark Cycle #1)
Publication date: July 1st 2015
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Aidan O’Linn’s childhood ended the night he saw a demon kill his mother and mark his sister, Ava, with Darkness. Since then, every three years the demons have returned to try to claim her. Living in the gritty, forgotten corners of Los Angeles, Aidan has managed to protect his sister, but he knows that even his powers to fight demons and speak dead languages won’t keep her safe for much longer.
In desperation, Aidan seeks out the help of Sid, the enigmatic leader of a group of teens who run LA Paranormal, an Internet reality show that fights demons and ghosts. In their company, Aidan believes he’s finally found a haven for Ava. But when he meets Kara, a broken girl who can spin a hypnotic web of passionate energy, he awakens powers he didn’t know he had―and unleashes a new era of war between the forces of Light and the forces of Darkness.
With the fate of humanity in his hands, can Aidan keep the Darkness at bay and accept his brilliant, terrifying destiny?
I really enjoyed Darkness Brutal. It’s a fast paced fantasy novel filled with magic, demons, angels and so much more! I was intrigued and engaged, and at times I had to stop to collect my thoughts because so much was happening and I wanted to try to predict what would happen next. It’s safe to say it was hard to make predictions that came true; but that’s the beauty of it.
I especially love how the main character, Aidan, is a guy who is not seduced easily and into using girls (he’s actually quite the gentleman). He is a strong, but weak character all the same, in a way that while he spent so much of his life trying to do right by everyone, there are times he wants to give up. He has a rather shit life (he’s an orphan [maybe] living on the streets (in the sense that he doesn’t know his father or where he is and his mother is dead)), but overall he’s a nice guy trying to make the best of it all. He’s especially protective and devoted to his sister (because she was marked by a demon as a child and ever sense they have attacked every three years on her birthday, killing those close to her in order to get her, and so she’s bounced from foster home to foster home). and he’s got common sense. He isn’t normal though; he has unique abilities and powers that he was born with, though he doesn’t fully understand them. The great part about his powers? This book is well-written enough to make me feel like he’s a real character and not a special hero/strong and invincible guy. He’s fairly uncertain of his powers and tends to underestimate himself.
Jax brightens at the sight of me. “Ah, the Chosen One has returned!” he says in a very dramatic voice. “The One who shall be the most powerful!”
I give him a look that I hope says: Shut the fuck up, ass face.
I love how there’s not too much romance (though the attempt at a love triangle really wasn’t needed…). I also love the action and gore! It was all so well written and I easily emerged myself in Aidan’s world, never feeling like I want out. Which brings me to say that the world building was great! I could visualize everything I wanted to and I loved the descriptions by the author!
All of the characters had their own personalities, their own snark and sass and humour. It was fantastic!
But basically, since Aidan has to protect his sister from those dang pesky demons, he fears the nearing of her twelfth birthday (naturally). In his sense of slight helplessness, he takes Hannah’s advice (she and Eric help him earn money and get certain things to trap the demons) and calls up helps from a group of Ghostbusters (actually, he walks up to their doorstep and asks to talk to their leader). Actually they call themselves as Paranormal Investigative Agency. They hunt down demons and ghosts (though to them demons are not exactly the norm), and so Aidan falls in with a group of oddballs who are as strange as he is in the sense of having powers, led by a really weird guy. he also brings his sister along, trying his best to get her the protection she needs.
Honestly, this isn’t a perfect book (when is one perfect, really?). There was talk of rape, there was a fair bit of gore, and swearing can definitely be found. If anything though, it made the characters feel more real. And so I recommend Darkness Brutal to lovers of action, fantasy, and books with great characters. Or everyone. That works too.