When Darkness Comes
Published 2007 359 pages
Summary (from the book jacket)
It's been a hell of a day for Abby Barlow. In just a few hours, she's survived an explosion, watched her employer die, had a startling dream, and now she finds herself in a seedy Chicago hotel with the sexy, unearthly Dante, a man she both desires and fears.
For 341 years, Dante has stood as guardian to The Chalice, a mortal woman chosen to hold back the darkness. A terrible twist of fate has now made Abby that woman. Three hours ago, Dante would have used all his charms to seduce her. Now she is his to protect. And he will do so until his very death.
A terrifying plan has been set in motion, one that will plunge Dante and Abby into an epic battle between good and evil—and a desperate race to save their love...
When Darkness Comes is the first book in a new contemporary paranormal romance series called the Guardians of Eternity by author Alexandra Ivy. Alexandra Ivy is a pen name for popular regency romance author Debbie Raleigh (who also writes under the name of Deborah Raleigh.) She has written historical vampire romance novels before under the names of both Debbie and Deborah Raleigh, so you may already be acquainted with her work.
When Darkness Comes is about as far from regency romance as you can get set in a modern day Chicago populated by demons, witches and evil wizards - without a viscount or baronet in sight! It follows the story of Abby, a woman who accidentally inherits the power of the Phoenix when her employer dies and Dante, the vampire, who is magically chained to that power, compelled to protect its holder (known as The Chalice).
The Phoenix is a power for good and its presence on the earth banishes The Prince (an equal and opposite power of evil) into another dimension because only one power can be on the Earth at one time. However there is no shortage of demons and evil wizards who would like nothing better than the Phoenix to be banished and The Prince restored to the earth to cause chaos and suffering. This is why Dante has been bound to protect The Chalice (in this case Abby) from the demons that would harm her. Dante was not a noble volunteer he was magically trapped by witches hundreds of years ago and has been forced to protect The Chalice ever since.
You would have thought this might lead to Dante having a huge resentment towards Abby and that this might have been the basis for the romantic conflict in the story, but Dante just wasn’t written that way. His resentments were toward the previous holder of the power and the witches who trapped him rather than towards Abby. This means that for a romance there is very little conflict between the main characters, just a little bickering here and there through out the story. Most of the conflict comes from the strong fantasy plotline - the dangers that Abby and Dante face in the form of zombies, demons and the acolytes of evil while trying to find the witches and have the Phoenix removed from Abby - rather than from their relationship itself.
As far as the vampires go in When Darkness Comes, apart from a deplorable lack of good taste in clothing (do vampires really wear leather trousers or velvet jackets with ruffled shirts?!) the reader isn’t left wanting for vampirish-ness (and yes, I did just make up that word.) The vampires are undead and drink blood. They are strong enough to kill demons, seductive and capable of enthralling humans while having the typical vampire weaknesses of being unable to tolerate daylight or wooden stakes, enter a home uninvited or cast a reflection. You can’t really ask for more than that!
When Darkness Comes is a hugely enjoyable read and a strong start to the Guardians of Eternity series, it has everything a vampire romance fan could ask for - sexy vampires and hot romance. The novel also has a strong fantasy/adventure plotline that should also give it some appeal for urban fantasy fans too, making this series one to watch out for.
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