Rating: 4.25 stars
Buy Link: Amazon | All Romance
Unbeknownst to King Sevon Maraté, a plot to take over Darkmore when he was a toddler shaped his rule as king of the aisa kingdom. Sevon lives every day ruling a kingdom he loves in fear of the man he thinks he loves, Lord Dominic. The truth is Dominic rules the kingdom using Sevon as his mouthpiece and everyone knows it. Dominic needs Sevon and Sevon thinks with all his might that he needs Dominic, because even though Dominic beats him and hurts him and humiliates him, the man still loves him. Sevon is of verkolai blood, a powerful race of aisa able to create and destroy the Veil, as well as to part existing Veils. And for the maturity of his power, Dominic bides his time until he can at last take his people to a better place, a place where they will not need to worry about where their next meal is coming from. At least that’s what he tells Sevon.
Enter Jack. Jack is a puma shifter from Priagust, the world of shifters hidden by Sevon’s father, Louis Maraté. Once one of Sevon’s closest friends and King Louis’ shadows, Jack disappeared from Darkmore after witnessing the murder of the king at the hands of Dominic, but now he’s back. When Sevon convinces him to take him and two guards to Priagust, Jack is hesitant at first, but he promised the former king he’d protect Sevon and he’ll do anything to regain that trust, even if Sevon doesn’t remember him. But getting to Priagust takes more out of Sevon than they expect and when the only way to save him ends up binding them together, Sevon and Jack realize they have more than one problem.
Upon their return, Jack is thrown in the dungeons and Sevon is taken to Dominic’s room where he promptly lies to Sevon to ensure Sevon is still under his control. And it takes at first, but soon the pull to Jack is too much to ignore and Sevon finds himself dreaming about the shifter and needing him, so much so that he begins to think for himself and defy Dominic’s wishes. Having been burnt by trusting the wrong people in the past, Sevon finds it hard to give his trust to Jack, but when he does his world is flipped upside down and he discovers a side to his family and to his people that he never knew existed, one that he will do anything to protect no matter what.
Chasing Sunrise is the first book in Lex Chase’s Darkmore saga. I, for one, am looking forward to what is to come from this series if this first book is anything to go by. Just… wow! This book is definitely different form Chase’s earlier works, if that’s what you’re looking for, but it’s so good. It’s dark and gritty and it’s emotional. This author combines real life difficulties with the fantasy of an elaborate fictional world. I was truly captivated from word one.
There’s so much heartbreak in this book. It’s devastating almost to watch one man walk through all of it. The poor kid, I just about understand why he wanted to believe everything that Dominic said, just to have someone in his life that was solid. First, his father was murdered, not to mention that Dominic tells him his whole life that his father was a weak, selfish king, when in fact, he was the opposite. Then his mother is killed right in front of him. He unknowingly banishes his father’s guard when he’s forced into his power as a toddler (far too soon). He lost his best friend when he lost his family. The man that proclaims to love him beats him bloody and lets his men beat him as well. He’s lied to, controlled, forced to do things that are disturbing and horrible. Everyone reports to Dominic, so when he complains, begs for help, pleads for someone to listen, Dominic always finds out and punishes him severely for it. No wonder he’s so skeptical when his father’s guard returns and when Jack shows up. His trust has been completely eviscerated.
The fight between good and evil in this story is an obvious one for readers, but to take the journey with Sevon is heartbreaking. It’s a journey of confusion and self-discovery. Sevon has been told his whole life that he is worthless, and with the appearance of the new people in his life, he comes to find out the exact opposite. So while this story drags readers through the emotional mud, there’s also an upside. There’s a story of hope of a new life and a brand new day waiting on the other side of the battle. That’s what this story is about. The hope that comes shining from the darkness, the power of a good heart, the power of pure love.
The world Chase has created is amazing. When I opened the book there’s a glossary that I read through before I even began the actual story. It helped me understand a little more about what I was getting myself into. I love how she made Darkmore part of the United States. Darkmore is situated on the Texas Bend but hidden by the Veil. It’s not the only kingdom of its kind, but it’s the one we get to see. Darkmore was ravaged by a hurricane some twenty-odd years ago and has yet to fully recover, though most of that has to do with Dominic’s selfishness and prejudice. Then there’s Priagust, the shifter kingdom. Built and protected by Sevon’s father, it’s a different world altogether. It’s quite creative. I don’t want to go into too much detail because I want you to read the book, but it’s very imaginative. No, it’s not like time travel or space travel. It’s exactly like the parting of a Veil. Well, in every story I’ve ever read. I’ll give you a hint: it has to do with water.
Whereas I really liked this story and the world, I feel like the romance between Sevon and Jack suffered. Yes, Sevon is under Dominic’s control throughout most of the book, but there’s more to it than that. I had a hard time believing that Sevon would suddenly give in to Jack the way he does. The connection between them was weak and strained for over half of the story, which made it difficult to accept the sudden alliance and pairing. On another note, it’s almost evil to tease me with the fact that a character wears frilly underwear but otherwise do nothing with it. If you’re going to mention it, use it. There are not many people in this world who love a good panty fetish like yours truly.
On more serious side bar, this story tackles the very real subject of domestic violence in all its ugliness. It’s heartbreaking and gut-wrenching, so if it’s one of those things you don’t or can’t read, be forewarned. If you can and do know that this author makes it more about the act of violence, although that obviously has to be included. This story is the empowerment of Sevon and the many men and women in situations just like or similar to him. It’s a story of overcoming and finding out what awaits on the other side. It’s a beautiful story of healing.
I really liked this story. There were parts that were difficult to get past, but those parts only made the beautiful scenes shine that much brighter. I recommend Chasing Sunrise by Lex Chase.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.