Thursday, June 13, 2013

Book Review: Dawn of a Dark Knight by Zoe Forward


In the shadows of our world, a secret band of warriors fights to protect us. They are the last line of defense against an evil no human can stop.

An ancient nemesis has resurfaced. Duty demands that Ashor Vlahos, Scimitar Magi commander, recruit a magical healer to fortify the remaining eight magi. The gods' choice is the woman who helped him escape torture a decade ago. Ashor couldn't have imagined a better punishment for his vow-breaker homicidal incidents than for the gods to bind him irrevocably to the only woman in the universe he cannot have. The soul-searing desire she ignites in him is strictly forbidden.

Kira Hardy, M.D. is a brilliant, hardworking internal med resident with big secrets. But when Ashor asks for aid after a brutal daemon attack, she is sucked into his dangerous, secret world. Enslavement to the magi, no matter how hot they are, may be an unattractive life plan, but being targeted for death by their enemies is less tolerable.

She must trust the sexy, tormented Ashor to keep her safe while he must deny his ultimate desire and keep Kira at arm’s length lest he bring destruction down on them both. As a centuries-old evil catches up to them, they face a crucial decision—follow the gods' rules or follow their hearts.

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Na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na Batman!

Okay, so Dawn of a Dark Knight by Zoe Forward has nothing to do with Batman, but none of the other dozen plus reviewers on Amazon has gone there, and how could they not with a title like that? What the story IS is a nonstop, action-packed romance full of excitement and danger at every turn.

Ashor, the hero of this paranormal romance, IS a dark warrior within his own right, but that's where the similarities to comic books end. Ashor is yummy and tormented, walking a fine gray line between fighting for the forces of good, always in danger of succumbing to his internal darkness. He is ancient, an immortal reborn into a new life over and over, but always doomed to the endless torment of battling the daemons who walk the earth threatening humanity.

It's funny, because I usually start my reviews by talking about the heroine, but Ashor Vlahos, the Scimitar Magi commander, defined the story for me.  His tortured nature and acute loneliness really struck a bull's eye on my soft spot for bad boys. He kicks ass and takes names, and then broods for a while. Le Sigh. I felt immediate empathy for him and wanted to keep reading in order to see what would happen next.  He's the sort of guy you want to kiss and coddle and make better even though you realize (intellectually) that he's way too tough to need mothering. But that's sorta exactly the point because he appeals so much to that nurturing instinct.

I have to admit up front—as a rule, I don't like Fated Mate stories.  I want love to be the result of free will, the product of choice, not something that two people are thrust into as the result of predetermined destiny.  Kira Hardy, medical doctor and the heroine, is smart and courageous but she struck me as less remarkable in terms of characterization than Ashor.  I think my general impression was that she was simply too young for him. He needed a woman more his own (ancient) age.

However, so far as fated mates go, Zoe Forward weaves a remarkable tale and really makes Ashor and Kira work as a couple. The hero and heroine share plenty of chemistry and the sexual tension sizzles on the page. Kira provides Ashor with the healing spirit he needs to repair his tattered soul. Their relationship falls in the vein of star-crossed lovers, because while they are fated to be together, it is forbidden by the Egyptian gods due to their respective roles. Ashor is the Prime, the head of the Scimitar Magi, and Kira is the mystical healer meant to attend to the eight remaining Scimitar Magi—all men.
I felt the cover doesn't really do the story justice. At a glance, I wouldn't connect the cover imagery with a paranormal tale deeply rooted in the Egyptian mythos. Someone needed to fit an ankh in there somewhere. There is a rune on the cover but it is not immediately recognizable so it left me feeling a little confused.

Zoe has really created an intricate world with a complicated mythos constructed upon Egyptian mythology.  My familiarity with the mythology is limited to three sources—Stargate, the TV show, Anne Rice's The Mummy, and an old White Wolf supplement called "Mummy". Initially, I found myself referring to her helpful Glossary of Terms at the back of the book but eventually I got the hang of it. Likewise, the occasion choice of wording threw me but I recovered and became engrossed again in the story in short order.  The villains are freaky scary and the Big Bad is a darkly sinister figure.

Dawn of a Dark Knight is an excellent read for anyone looking for a paranormal romance with plenty of action-adventure and sizzling hot love scenes.


  1. Sounds HOT! Thanks for the heads up!

    1. Lisa,
      You'll love the Egyptian mythology in it. :)

  2. Looks like a great read. Now you have me singing the Batman song. Dammit.

    1. Kim,
      The insidious song started in my head the second I saw the story title. *G*