Heart of Darkness

, by Kt Clapsadl

Heart of Darkness by Lauren Dane
Bound by Magick #1

From national bestselling author Lauren Dane comes a white-hot new series of a dangerous family legacy, and sensual paranormal passions played to the death on the knife-edge of darkness…

Meriel Owen, next in line to control the largest organization of witches in the country, is asked to investigate the owner of a notorious club reportedly siphoning magic from the font of the Clan. It’s a direct violation of the Clan Code of Conduct, but one look at Dominic Bright and Meriel’s willing to make a deal. One taste of the sexually feral outlaw witch, and she’s eager to go further: he’s her bond mate, a legal conduit into the world of Clan witches and their magic.

Playing by the rules isn’t Dominic’s style, but bonding with Meriel—night after explosive night—is. However, Meriel has unwittingly invited someone else into her world: Dominic’s mother, a dangerous and poisonously influential magic addict whose lust for death and power corrupts all she touches. Now her shadow is closing in on Meriel, her Clan, and the man Meriel loves, and it’s casting them all into the inescapable heart of darkness.

Meriel has always known her path in life. Raised to be the next leader of a very powerful clan of witches, she has gone through extensive training for the power she will share with her bond mate. As part of her duties, she is sent to investigate a new club that is siphoning magick from her clan's font. Her life takes a turn for the interesting when she finds the club owner, Dominic, and realizes that he is her bond mate. Only he had a very different upbringing than her and shuns all things clan and authority. As the pair try to work out their differences, magical attacks are happening right and left. And the latest threat will hit closer to home than either of them could have ever realized.
  
I was really into Heart of Darkness for about the first third to half of the book, but then things just became really redundant, and the book really started to drag. In fact the first part of the book was rather repetitive as well, but still entertaining enough to make me able to over look it. The characters just seemed to keep rehashing the same issues over and over. Meriel is strong and independent, yet will give Dominic the space he needs to come to his own decision. He is anti-clan, but is super sex-charged towards her, so maybe he will overlook his issues. That would have been fine and good if those ideas hadn't of been stated over and over again. It even bled into their sexual relations as we got to hear over and over how he was so hard and rough, but never with hurtful intent. I mean really? Did we really need that distinction made? 

Now onto the "big bad" of the story. I had a really hard time seeing the threat in this woman, considering she seemed like a wasted junkie to me. However, I was especially annoyed at Dominic's behavior over the situation. He changed from a strong alpha male, into a little boy whining for his mommy (that he never knew), to the point where he pushes Meriel away. To be honest that conflict was thrown in as an afterthought to add some sexual tension. Also, why would the mother have waited so long to go after Dominic. If she really didn't know he was still alive, then how on earth did she figure it out that many years later? Seemed a little fishy to me. 

Perhaps I'm being a little hard on the Heart of Darkness, especially when I look at all of the other positive reviews, but I was just so disappointed after the intriguing start. The world behind it all was quite intriguing, and I loved learning more about the witches and the rules behind it all. That all being said, and despite my issues with Heart of Darkness, I have a feeling I will still give the next installment a chance. It looks like it features Simon, and since he was one of the more intriguing and mysterious characters of this book, I'd love to get to know him a little better. Hopefully things will be a little better the second time around.

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