This intro will be slightly different. I must confess, Lauren Dane is on my auto-buy list. I seriously love her work. That being said, back in March, Ms. Dane had a call for reviewers for Chaos Burning on her blog. Um, yeah, like I was gonna pass up that invitation. I really didn’t know if I’d have a shot of getting an ARC for review, but hey, nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? I’m pretty sure Jackie heard my squee when I got the email saying I’d been chosen. Fair warning, I LOVED LOVED LOVED Chaos Burning. Many thanks to Ms. Dane for giving me the chance to review it early. I’d been jonesing for this one ever since I finished the first book, Heart of Darkness. And yeah, you can guess…I already want the third (please someone tell me there’s a third) book *G*.
The life of Lark Jaansen, hunter in Clan Gennessee, has been shaped by violence and unrest–and it defines her future. Well-trained and resilient, she’s met her militaristic match in Simon Leviathan, a warrior not of this world. Locked in mutual admiration, and a desire so hot it burns, Lark and Simon have something else in common: they love the dark, and as a shadow is cast over their world, they’re each coming into their own.
A mysterious war has been waged among the Others. As witches and humans turn against each other, as fae retreat in fear, and as vampires rise, Lark and Simon discover that an unseen force is behind it. A single, hungry entity older than recorded history has returned to gorge on the magick of his victims. He is the Magister, nothing less than the end of time. Finding him is Lark and Simon’s first hope. Surviving him is their last.
Hmmm, where to start, where to start. *G* In Chaos Burning you get to meet a new character, Lark Jaansen. She is a quirky witch, a hunter from a clan based in Los Angeles. She is well, Lark. She’s funny, dresses like you might imagine Rainbow Bright would (different colors and patterns, different hair colors) or well, any fun, stereotypical artist-type might dress. Oh but do NOT let the outside fool you. I loved Lark. She is badass. Different badass than Meriel, head of Clan Owen from Heart of Darkness, but badass nonetheless. She comes to Seattle to help Clan Owen while their main hunter, Nell, has to go on maternity leave. Lark does things differently and Meriel felt it was time to change things up in Clan Owen due to the threats they’d previously uncovered. And yeah, Lark is just what Clan Owen needed. She doesn’t just rely on magick, but she does use traditional weapons as well. She doesn’t take grief from anyone…and she gives as good as she gets. Her pairing with alpha Lycian, Simon, is perfection.
You’ll remember Simon from Heart of Darkness, as he’s Dominic’s business partner, and Simon is all alpha male. So oh yeah, SEXY is an understatement! Though Simon is definitely an alpha personality, he isn’t as overbearing (at least through how you see him via Lark) as some other major alphas you meet in other stories. He is definitely protective of Lark and he showers her with brutal honesty and affection. I seriously love this couple. I thought I loved Meriel and Dominic…um, yeah, I fell harder for Simon and Lark (and side note…can I haz me my own Simon? *G*). The banter and interplay between these two is witty, funny and oh so sexy. Be forewarned, while there are some smexy moments, don’t expect as much of a heat factor in Chaos Burning that you find in other Lauren Dane books.
While Chaos Burning is listed as PNR, I’d say it’s more on the UF side of things. I think it’s only PNR because the focus of each book deals with different characters, which is characteristic of PNR in general. However, the tone and overall feel of Chaos Burning, as well as the first novel in this series, Heart of Darkness, feels like UF to me. Meaning, each book is furthering an overall series story arc. Yes, each book is character driven (new character focus)…but you can definitely tell there is a main end goal for this series. Yes, PNR novels tend to have a main series plot, but this series seems more focused on that overall plot than anything else, including the characters’ stories (though those are important, too). And nope, I’m not complaining. Best of both worlds if you ask me :).
Also fantastic was the pacing. There was just enough downtime between action and events to keep me involved and interested. I don’t think I really skipped or skimmed, which for me, yeah that’s saying something. I wanted to find out what was going on but yet I really didn’t want the novel to end. I wanted to rush through yet savor it all at the same time. This kind of writing is what makes Dane an auto-buy for me. I love her style, plain and simple. Chaos Burning does not disappoint if you’re already a fan. And if you’re new to her…well, my guess is after reading Chaos Burning, you’ll be like me and trying to get your hands on her entire backlist as well.
Haven’t read the first in this series? Shouldn’t be a problem. Chaos Burning, while tied to the events in Heart of Darkness, should stand nicely on its own. I don’t think you’d feel lost coming in here. I better stop gushing now…because even I think I’m starting to ramble ;). Hurry…go pick this up, I promise you’ll thank me later :).