Saturday, February 7, 2009

Review: Scent of Darkness by Christina Dodd

Title: Scent of Darkness
Series: Darkness Chosen
Author: Christina Dodd
Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: July 3, 2007
Publisher: Signet
ISBN: 0451221737
ISBN-13: 9780451221735

A thousand years ago, a brutal warrior roamed the Russian steppes and struck a sinister bargain. In return for the ability to change at will info a coldhearted predator, Konstantine promised his soul—and the soul of his descendents—to the devil.

Then one day a dangerous prophecy reveals the truth: One family has been chosen to battle the darkness—or face damnation.

Ann Smith loves her dynamic boss, Jasha Wilder, but her daring plan to seduce him goes awry when she encounters a powerful wolf who, before her horrified eyes, changes into the man she adores. She soon discovers that she can't escape her destiny, for Jasha is Konstantine's descendant, and Ann is the woman fated to break the curse that binds his soul.


My rating:

A thousand years ago a vicious warrior made a deal with the devil for his soul and the souls of all his descendants. Thirty-five years ago, one of "the damned" defied the Evil One and his pact, fled, and married.
It is this family's destiny to break the curse by restoring the four missing pieces of a religious icon, or suffer eternal damnation.

It is the eldest son, Jasha, that's called first. With his ability to turn into a wolf, he's a predator to be reckoned with. But little does he suspect that when he returns from his wild run with his brethren, that a woman might be waiting for him in the privacy of his secluded home.

Ann Smith, Jasha's administrative assistant has had a major crush on her gorgeous boss since she's started working for him four years ago. When she finally musters enough courage to pursue him, she sees a huge wolf turn into the man she lusts for, and inadvertently stumbles smack in the middle of the dark prophecy.

For when Jasha pursues his terrified assistant into the woods in the middle of the storm, a lightning spits a tree, leading Ann to a piece of the missing icon.


One of my favorite authors, Christina Dodd never fails in delivering a great read. This is her first venture into the paranormal, but what a start!

The best part of this book, besides the back-story of the ancient deal with the devil and prophecies to go with it, was definitely the Wilder family. Their close-knit relationship, the fact Zorana, instead of her bear of a husband was the head of the family, how the two of them quickly quelled any argument from their children. A good old Slavic family, drinking vodka in the evening, loud, boisterous, utterly and completely loving. I adored how quickly and easily they took Ann under their wing, though the suspicion it was so solely thanks to her finding the icon remained throughout the story.

Jasha was pure alpha (in human and wolf form) with a heart of gold, completely dedicated to his family...Yet I found his pursuit of Ann a little to animalistic, regarding what we learned about his father and his discipline throughout the story. I know all men are animals at heart, but still, I couldn't blame the woman for not believing his feelings toward the end...And as with all alphas, it took quite a shocker to wake him up and realize his

Ann was a complete contradiction, and utterly frustrating in the second part of the book. Her "secret" and resulting angst of bad people coming was a bit childish and immature for an astute business woman (that Jasha said she was). Also her "love" for Jasha soon seemed to be merely an infatuation. After all the lengths she went through to "get him", all that strong love quickly evaporated when she learned of his secret. Isn't love supposed to conquer all?! And then her stubbornness toward the end. Insecurities reared their ugly heads. It could be safe to say everything stemmed from her childhood circumstances, but still, the whole God-fearing thing got boring after a while, when all could be resolved quickly just by a simple, honest, open conversation.

So the romance was almost nonexistent, and even what there was between Jasha and Ann was overshadowed by the brief glimpses of the love story between his parents, Zorana and Konstantine. Now, that's love!

Yet, the absence of romance didn't deter from the story, although it is the romance that is usually needed in stories about breaking a curse (again, love conquers all). It was the "history" that drove this plot forward, the intense, fast-paced, keep-you-at-the-edge-of-the-seat action, and brief, yet belly-clutching moments of humor.

Even though Jasha and Ann were flawed, they were superbly flawed, so different, both in character than in background, that despite it all, I couldn't help it but root for them. Ms. Dodd's strength is her characterization, and though the two might not come off as extremely likable, the reader still fells strongly about them. All their flaws and deficiencies is what made this couple so real and why this book was still such a pleasure to read.

And make me giddy for more...Because the cliff-hanger at the end—oh, boy!



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