The bombing that almost killed Owen witch Molly Ryan has worsened the tensions between the humans and the Others. While the Others desperately campaign to prevent the passage of a law that would strip their people of all rights, the human separatists develop an agenda far worse than anyone imagined. With her position more precarious than ever, security head Helena Jaansen finds herself relying more and more heavily on her personal guard, Faine Leviathan, and, despite her better instincts, falling more deeply into the intimate connection that they share.
As Helena and Faine’s explosive passion grows, a deadly separatist plot is discovered, one which could bring ultimate destruction for the Others, and war breaks out between the two opposing factions. With the Others forced into hiding, Helena must overcome her fear of repeating past failures to save her people—and her heart—before it’s too late…
This blurb came from the author’s website.
I see Lauren Dane’s name on something and I buy it, no questions asked. As a result, I have been reading this series since it started. She is also one of the authors that makes me laugh with glee when I realize that separate series I have enjoyed are all taking place in the same world. This in the final book in the Bound by Magick series, but not the final book set in this particular world. Wild Darkness builds on the events of the previous installment Going Under reviewed here. As a result, I will be unable to avoid spoilers for the previous books.
Things were progressively getting worse for The Others. They were still reeling from their horrific losses due to The Magister’s brief visit when a group of humans decided the Others, who lived peacefully as friends, neighbors, and family, were suddenly a threat or less than human and should be treated as such. All throughout the last book, the Others were striving for a peaceful resolution, educating, informing and not harming humans but the anti-Other rhetoric kept growing along with violent attacks against the Others for daring to want to continue to live a normal life. Going Under ended with a firebomb attack at a community center full of noncombatants, families and children in full daylight followed by an armed assault. Wild Darkness starts as the fighting has ended, but before any of the emergency medical or law enforcement personnel have arrived which set the tone for the entire book. Time and again, the Others wee attacked and had a delayed or no response from law enforcement. If the law enforcement showed up, the Others were treated by some as if they were the cause not the victims. In the meantime through the political channels, anti-Other legislation aimed at reducing them to animal status was moving towards passage by the House and Senate.
Helena, raised from childhood on the more offensive warrior aspects of being a witch, was working as the security chief for the Owen clan. While she was able to set up a variety of procedures to help protect the Others her responsibilities grew after her abilities were recognized and she was asked to take on the responsibility of protecting their spokeswoman, Molly. As the stakes for those she protected and her stress continued to rise, she was forced to learn how to depend on other people and how to handle the fact that not everyone was going to live through every attack. I loved watching her grow as a person and start to emotionally trust another man again.
Faine was a bit more of an unknown. He and his brother Simon, introduced in Chaos Burning, were assisting Clan Owen and the Others as they attempted to recover from The Magister’s visit and deal with the negative human reaction. Simon was married to Helena’s sister Lark so he had even more of a stake in the safety of Clan Owen. With Lark and Simon working in a different part of the country, Faine was concerned about Helena’s emotional state as she dealt with everything. Each time he watched Helena rise to the occasion and give her all, the attraction he felt grew stronger. When he was officially asked to protect her as she protected other people, he was glad to seize the opportunity and help her with more than physical protection.
“I’m very scary. But not to you. I want you to lean on me because I want you. I want all of you, Helena Jaansen. Since the first time I met you I knew you were special. And everything I’ve seen since has only confirmed that. I thought it was a passing fancy at first. You’re beautiful and powerful. A male like me finds those qualities fairly irresistible.”
**Cue me melting**
I loved the romance between Faine and Helena. They didn’t have a lot of internal conflict other than the differences in cultures but it was lovely to see them develop more than professional trust without the conflict. I really liked that Faine’s age and life experiences were used to remove the communication games and beating around the bush because I was allowed to focus on their growing relationship amidst all of the outside ugliness. I also felt the outside stakes were so high, internal conflict would have negated Faine’s claims to care about Helena. In addition to the romance, developments in the Others’ attempt to keep their status they were born with as American citizens made me rather tense. So much was at stake, so much violence, and through it all it appeared as if the strident voices of hatred were going to win. Dane included an extremely touching scene in a local grocery store, which provided hope but also demonstrated eloquently how voices of reason are usually quieter and more subtle than those of extremism on either side. It made me think about society today and through the ages and wonder what it would take to stir the moderate masses into action.
Wild Darkness was a great way to close this particular chapter on Dane’s complex world. Evidence of this new “normal” will continue to show up as Dane provides more stories but I found myself completely satisfied by her ending. I am also looking forward to revisiting some other characters and seeing how their lives have changed. Not to mention the threat that has existed from the beginning is still around.
I give Wild Darkness an A-