Early Review: Darklands by Nancy Holzner

, by Kt Clapsadl

Darklands by Nancy Holzner
Deadtown #4

They call it Deadtown: the city’s quarantined section for its inhuman and undead residents. Most humans stay far from its border—but Victory Vaughn, Boston’s only professional demon slayer, isn’t exactly human…

Boston’s demons have been disappearing, and Vicky’s clients are canceling left and right. While fewer demons might seem like a good thing, Vicky suspects foul play. A missing Celtic cauldron from Harvard’s Peabody museum leads her to an unwelcome conclusion: Pryce, her demi-demon cousin and bitter enemy, is trying to regain his full powers.

But Pryce isn’t alone. He’s conjured another, darker villain from Vicky’s past. To stop them from destroying everything she loves, she’ll have to face her own worst fear—in the realm of the dead itself.

Being the only professional demon slayer around, Vicky makes her living by bringing down the demons who prey on unsuspecting humans. But when her clients start canceling in droves as their tormenting demons disappear, Vicky knows something fishy is going on. Turns up her psychotic cousin Pryce is up to no good. He's bound and determined to get the shadow demon half that Vicky destroyed back so he can continue in his quest to conquer all of the realms, bringing about death and destruction the likes of which have never been seen. To stop him, she will have to make incredible sacrifices as she travels to the realm of the dead with no guarantee of making it back alive. 

It seems like Vicky never gets more than a brief respite before she is thrown into another world threatening mess. In Darklands, the stakes are even higher than before and there was plenty of heart pounding action. But in between all those action packed moments, Vicky also went through a lot of growth, both in her relationship with Kane, which I'll get into in a little bit, but also in facing the incredible amount of guilt over her father's death that she has carried over the years. Because of this she has thrown herself into a lone ranger type of mentality, making relying on others incredibly difficult for her, with her mentor, Mab being the only exception. Yet, due to a guilt demon forcing her to face those issues as well an interesting turn of events, Vicky finally seems to be on the path to accepting help when she needs it. And trust me, she needs it in Darklands. I really enjoyed seeing her open up to others to accept their help despite wanting to keep them safe. It's time she learned that she isn't the only one who can take risks for the people they care about.

Vicky's insecurities with her relationship with Kane really came to a head in Darklands. She's very hot and cold towards him, and it is very obvious that she really cares, but there is that extreme fear of commitment. Despite his willingness, Vicky still hesitates to take the next step, or really anything to solidify the relationship at all. I really think she doesn't believe she deserves Kane, especially since she could never give him a picket fence life. So she pushes him away, but it would seem that he's had just about enough of her wishy-washiness, and is bound and determined to prove to her that he isn't going anywhere. In fact, I'd say he does one heck of a job showing her that he would follow her anywhere and give up anything for her no matter the cost, forcing Vicky to face her feelings for him. It really says something when a man is willing to literally go to hell and back for the woman he loves. All I can say is that is well past time Vicky wakes up and faces the music.

With each book in the Deadtown series, I only get sucked further in, this installment even more so considering the way things ended. While not a cliffhanger in the strictest sense, a lot of things are left in the balance, leaving me desperate to find out what happens next. Darklands was incredibly action packed, leaving me literally on the edge of my seat. Combine that with the intense emotional moments and Vicky's character growth, and Darklands made for an incredibly entertaining installment that cannot be missed!

(Received a copy from the publisher)

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Previous Books:
  1. Deadtown
  2. Hellforged 
  3. Bloodstone 

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