18 May, 2011

Book Review: Dark Passages: Tristan and Karen by Sara Reinke

Published: February 2011, BLOODHORSE PRESS

Series: The Brethren series #4
Source: Author via Bewitching Book Tours, no other compensation given to me for an honest review

From Good Reads:
Tristan Morin is a vampire on a mission: to not fall in love with Karen Pierce. To do so would prove that humans and Brethren were meant to be physically and emotionally bound to each other -- something he, as a full-blooded Brethren, refuses to believe. It would be so much easier if Karen wasn't beautiful. And if there wasn't something about her that draws him like a moth to a flame, damn near impossible to resist.

Karen has always felt an inexplicable attraction to Tristan. More than just the fact he's strikingly handsome, it's as if being with him is something natural, comfortable and right. But soon a brash choice on his part leaves her heartbroken and confused, and a sadistic new enemy will put their tentative love -- and their lives -- to the ultimate test.

My Review:
DARK PASSAGES is definitely different from your average vampire paranormal romance. Right away, it establishes that The Brethren do have special powers, but they can succumb to mortal sicknesses and diseases like the rest of us. I liked this bit of fallibility that Sara Reinke gives her vampires. I like it when an author isn't afraid to put their own twist on an existing mythos.

Reinke explains much of the differences that she has given to the vampires (Brethren) through the eyes of her female protagonist, Karen, who knows about their secret. While some of the explanation came out a little bit like an infodump, I was never pulled out of the story, and I appreciated getting the background, especially since I haven't read any of her previous novels in the series.

There was an underlying danger that threatened the couples' lives, but it really took a back seat to the developing romantic relationship that Tristan and Karen were forming. Though this danger did become real, it wasn't until the end of the novel, and the reader is treated to a fairly emotion-filled journey with the two, mostly from Tristan, as he fights his bloodlust for this woman that he has spent so much time with as a colleague.

I enjoyed reading DARK PASSAGES, and it has whetted my appetite for the other books in the series. There are many secondary characters that are introduced that I would love to find out more about, and two of them do have their own books. Reinke takes the paranormal romance genre and delivers a real romance, not just hot scenes amidst mortal danger. There is a real development to Tristan and Karen's love for each other, one that follows a more real-life timeline, and one that I was compelled to follow to the end.

3.5/5 for plot
4/5 for characters
3.5/5 for language

My Rating: 11/15 (3 stars)

Recommended, if you liked:

Love at Stake (series) by Kerrelyn Sparks
A Werewolf in Manhattan by Vicki Lewis Thompson

Find the author at:
Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | GoodReads

Purchase book at:
Barnes and Noble | Smashwords | Amazon

Available formats: NookBook, Kindle, Paperback (Trade)

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Tour Participation:


  1. Thanks so much for the review! I really am glad to know the story worked for you since you hadn't read the previous series installments. I've tried to make each book able to stand relatively alone in case readers pick up in the middle, but as a writer, I'm never quite sure if I've hit that mark well or not. It's good to know this time I did!

    Thanks, too, for the opportunity to guest post with you below, and to meet your blog readers!

  2. I haven't heard of this one, but just by the cover I automatically like it. It looks like its set in my hometown, Las Vegas. I'm actually surprised at just how few books are set in Vegas. Anyway, the book sounds really good, thanks for the heads up!

    -Kate the Book Buff
    The Book Buff: Book Reviews for Regular People

  3. First time hearing about this book. I don't much fancy the cover. But the concept sounds intriguing, aside from the info dump issue. (not a fan of the info dump) Great review. I don't understand how the Vegas sign relates to the title or the couple in the photo. But I guess it's explained in the book.

  4. Hi Lena,
    Vegas is part of the setting, though it might not be mentioned in the blurb.


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