Series: Offspring, Book 4
Release Date: January 25, 2011
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | The Book Depository
*ARC generously provided by the publisher via NetGalley.
For more information please visit Jaime Rush's website.
Fonda Raine lives for one thing: killing Eric Aruda out of revenge for slaying her lover. But she'll have to be careful Eric can set fires with his mind. Seconds from accomplishing her goal, an assassin tries to take them both out. Now, two adversaries must go on the run together, bound by hatred, drawn by passion, and hunted by a vicious and powerful enemy.
This novel is a page-turner thriller that perfectly incorporates superhuman abilities, with a science fiction oriented government conspiracy and a dash of steamy romance. From the onset I was hooked on the world created by Rush as well as the characters and first rate story telling.
Burning Darkness is the fourth novel in Jaime Rush’s Offspring series and what intrigued me most about this novel when I began reading was the premise. While superhuman abilities are not exactly original, Rush’s approach to them were. Essentially the plot line boils down to something like this:
20+ years ago, the US government experimented on people with latent psychic abilities in a project called 'Blue Moon'. The goal of the project was to enhance their powers with a drug made from a mysterious substance found at a meteorite site. Most or all of those given the drug died, but those that survived had a highly accelerated libido and psychic abilities. The children who were conceived by members of this project became known as the Offspring, each having inherent fully formed genetic abilities. These children became divided, some being enrolled by the CIA and others became known as the Rogues, a group who fought against the project and those behind it therefore becoming known as ‘the enemy’.
If you are new to the series like I am it is hard to know which side actually represents the greater good at first. However, we come to understand that the Rogues are actually those aware of the truth behind their parentage and their abilities, realizing that the government is using those in their employ to their own means. It is interesting seeing those truths revealed especially those focusing on the mysterious origins of the Offspring. Are they alien? What was the mysterious substance that altered their DNA? For me, this was quite interesting and kept me reading until the end hoping to get some answers to those questions. Wonderfully enough, Rush does reveal the fantastical truths to those questions that while amazing and hard to believe makes a sort of sense within the Offspring universe. It also opens up the series to expand in later novels and it should be interesting to see how she utilizes this new information in the future.
The characters are also extremely fascinating and endearing. While highly developed, they pull you into the story with their complexities and emotions. From the first moment I was intrigued by Fonda Raine, a charming woman who has a giving nature yet hides a painful and lonely past. She is tough yet vulnerable driven by the need to avenge the murder of her lover Jerryl by Eric Aruda. Eric is likewise complicated, trying to avoid the descent into madness that being an Offspring can induce. Yet despite his fears, he is a charming character that I came to deeply adore. He has an inner strength and while a self proclaimed jerk, he is caring and protective of Fonda, helping her to overcome the darkness of her past despite her original goals of assassinating him. However, while I loved the characters there is a lot of repetition in their thoughts and emotion that limit the growth of the relationship as well as hindering their own evolution at times. Admittedly this is small when compared to the chemistry between the characters and the over all appeal of them throughout the story.
My only real grievance about the novel at times, which I confess is a small thing and didn't detract from the overall experience, was the style of the writing. The short staccato of the sentences was perfect to keep the action moving and added to the pace of the story but, at times it was only chaotic and confusing. Likewise, some emotional moments lacked fluidity and disrupted the romance though it worked perfectly in those moments where the passion was heated. I fully admit that this might be due to the fact that I am reading an ARC and such matters will be fixed before publication, but it was disruptive to the flow of the novel and occasionally left me scratching my head.
Overall Burning Darkness was a gripping novel filled with surprising twists, great action and an engaging romance. A must read for fans of the old television show The X-files with its wonderfully thought out government conspiracy and thrilling science fiction action or fans of steamy romance!
My Rating: 4 out of 5 Scars
Advisory: Strong sexual content