Sunday, 13 May 2012

Dark Kiss by Michelle Rowen

I received a copy of this book courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley.

Girl gets her soul sucked out of her body via a kiss? Yes please!

Title: Dark Kiss
Author: Michelle Rowen
Series: Nightwatchers #1
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Target Audience: YA
Genre: Paranormal (romance)
Length: 384 pages

Story: I don't do dangerous.  Smart, über-careful, ordinary Samantha-that's me. But I just couldn't pass up a surprise kiss from my number-one unattainable crush. A kiss that did something to me...something strange. Now I feel hungry all the time, but not for food. It's like part of me is missing-and I don't know if I can get it back. Then there's Bishop. At first I thought he was just a street kid, but the secrets he's keeping are as intense as his unearthly blue eyes. If he's what I think he is, he may be the only one who can help me. But something terrifying is closing in, and the one chance Bishop and I have to stop it means losing everything I ever wanted and embracing the darkness inside me.... NIGHTWATCHERS When angels and demons must work together, something beyond evil is rising...

Thoughts and impressions: I admit that when I picked this book up, I did so with trepidation. When I came to read it, I’d just read another book that tackled religious views and that had succeeded in offending me. So, knowing that this book was going to tackle angels and demons, I figured that there would be some form of religious background to it that might turn my pre-existing spark of frustration into something more. Luckily, I had absolutely nothing to fear.

Michelle Rowen tackles the concept of angels, demons, Heaven and Hell admirably. I think that this is the first time I’ve ever read a book about angels where there wasn’t a specific religious ideology behind it. It was set up perfectly so that there was no clear cut line between who gets to become an angel in the afterlife and who becomes a demon. In fact, it’s presented that there’s an eternal war for soul currencies between Heaven and Hell, which is rather a unique twist on things, in my opinion, and serves to blur the line between good and bad.

It was the idea that you could have your soul sucked out of you via a kiss that caught my attention with this one. It seemed so tantalisingly good! The story completely lived up to the fabulousness behind the concept. My emotions were pulled this way and that as I lived through the torment of being soulless right along with Sam. Rowen’s style was so good that I could feel the desire to feed, to drain others of their souls as it battled with both Sam’s and my sensibilities of right and wrong. Add Sam’s best friend Carly to the mix with relationship issues of her own and you’ve got the perfect recipe for a wonderful best friend relationship to build these teens’ lives from.

The angels and the demons added to the paranormal fun set in motion with the soulless kissers. I liked the concept of angels and demons working together and Kraven, one of the demons, in particular made for a fantastic character. In fact, he often outshone the romantic interest, Bishop, but that could have been just because his personality was much better developed. The remaining angelic / demonic characters were a bit flat, though, and I found it hard to really get a grasp of a distinguishable personality from them. This is in part due to how little “on page” time they receive compared with Kraven and the angsty love-inspired scenes between Bishop and Sam.

The romance wasn’t really what I go for in a relationship in my fiction. The love word is thrown around but the characters don’t know each other well enough, in my opinion, to be able to move beyond the lust stage of the relationship. A lot of the time Sam and Bishop would either be arguing or talking about the big bad behind all the soulless “grays” (as they’re termed) running around town. They didn’t really get to have any conversations that allowed them to get to know each other beyond the basics. As I mentioned, I think Sam gets to know Kraven better than she does the guy she’s supposedly in love with!

Despite this, the plot advances at a swift enough pace to not let the slightly disappointing relationship get the better of it. I was happy with it as it was and I found that I wanted to keep reading before bed to find out what would happen next – always a good sign, though bad for my concentration levels the next day if I give in to the urge!

Dark Kiss leaves things in such a place that things can only get more intense in the second book. I certainly hope that certain devastating events can be resolved somehow and look forward to meeting a particular demonic character with a vested interest in Sam.

It may have been superficial at times, but in the long run I found that I really enjoyed the book and I'm looking forward to seeing where things will be taken from here in the sequel.

Style: I found the style to be captivating. Michelle Rowen has that particular sort of style that allows you to easily overlook a book’s weaknesses and enjoy it in spite of them.

Final verdict: A great read! The romance left something to be desired but hopefully that will be worked on in the next book in the series. 4 stars

Extra notes: Some bad language. No sex.


  1. Everyone who has read this seems to really enjoy it! I'll have to check it out. Great review :)

  2. I have yet to read anything by Michelle Rowen. I'm really intrigued with this, sounds like a great read

  3. Thanks for this honest review. Dark Kiss looks good but I'm still tossing up whether it for me or not.

  4. I agree the romance was a bit insta-lovey, but I still adored this book. I'm glad to see that you did too! I'm almost team Kraven in this series. I'll see what happens in the sequel before I make a final decision though.


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