Book 1 in the Bound by Magick Series series
Author: Lauren Dane
Publisher: Penguin Group
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Release date; 11/1/11
Author's website: Lauren Dane
Meriel Owen, next in line to control the largest organization of witches in the country, is asked to investigate the owner of a notorious club reportedly siphoning magic from the font of the Clan. It's a direct violation of the Clan Code of Conduct, but one look at Dominic Bright and Meriel's willing to make a deal. One taste of the sexually feral outlaw witch, and she's eager to go further: he's her bond mate, a legal conduit into the world of Clan witches and their magic.I'm a huge fan of Lauren Dane's Brown Siblings series and when I heard that she was writing a new series I just had to see what it was about. Heart of Darkness focuses around the main character of Meriel Owen who is a witch that has been prepared for as long as she can remember to rule the all important Owen Coven. It's currently ruled by her mother who hasn't always been that maternal to Meriel, but always had her best interests at heart. Meriel has been placed in charge of contacting an outlaw witch that doesn't belong to any coven about taking power from the Owen Coven. Dominic Bright is the outlaw witch and when Meriel meets him for the 1st time she is shocked to discover that he is her bond mate, the one witch meant for her. He realizes it as well and together their bond allows their magic to become stronger. They're also strongly attracted to one another and I loved that they didn't deny their feelings at all. They are meant to be together and after a couple of rough moments of Dominic being unsure of what direction he should follow, they are able to move forward.
Playing by the rules isn't Dominic's style, but bonding with Meriel--night after explosive night--is. However, Meriel has unwittingly invited someone else into her world: Dominic's mother, a dangerous and poisonously influential magic addict whose lust for death and power corrupts all she touches. Now her shadow is closing in on Meriel, her Clan, and the man Meriel loves, and it's casting them all into the inescapable heart of darkness.
What I loved most about this book was that Meriel's character was an example of a strong, intelligent woman! She manages to be her own person and make her own decisions even though her mother is kind of a legend in her world. Other authors could learn something about how to write a female character that they can be proud of. Excellent job Lauren Dane! I also liked Dominic's character because he was just as in awe of Meriel as I was. He stood back, watched her and learned so much from her. Another example of great character writing. He was proud of his woman and I couldn't help but smile while reading those scenes. His character was hesitant at first to bond with Meriel and after reading about his upbringing you can certainly understand why. He was taught from a very young age that belonging to a coven was not a good thing, but once he realizes what the coven truly stands for, he becomes a much stronger person. He also teaches Meriel a thing or two when it comes to using her power and there was a mutual respect between the two of them that I felt added strength to their relationship.
I'm giving Heart of Darkness a rating of:
Heart of Darkness is the the beginning of a fascinating new world that's full of interesting, strong willed, strong minded characters. The only problem that I had with the book is that it was a little slow for me at the beginning. But it picked up quickly and from that point on I was sucked into the storyline. Like I said in the 1st paragraph, I'm a huge fan of Lauren Dane and she seriously writes some truly great characters in her books that are unforgettable. I'm looking forward to reading more in this new world that she has created that's full of magic and that showcases the magic of her storytelling.