Top Dark Reads of 2020 pt. 2

OK, we’re back for part 2 of my top dark reads of 2020. Keep in mind, these are in no particular order, and just because something doesn’t get mentioned doesn’t mean that I didn’t think it was dark, it’s just that these are the ones that really stuck with me. (You should see how many GR, Zon, and WordPress tabs I currently have open, lol)

Natalie Bennett-Periculum

Natalie Bennett tends to write dark, twisted, and fucked up, and this one is no different. I don’t know why I didn’t look up the definition of periculum back when I wrote my blog post, but I did today, for shits and giggles. It means danger or risk, and that totally fits for this book. Anyway, this book stars Lana and her friends, as well as Ciaran and his friends. There’s an accident, there’s some strange and terrible things, and there’s lots of darkness and twists, so, yeah, Natalie Bennett. This is the first book of a duet, and the next one comes out in March. I can’t wait for it.

Addison Cain-Swallow It Down

You didn’t think I was going to create a dark list without an Addison Cain book, did you? Yeah, that will likely never happen. Swallow It Down is another near future, post-apocalyptic, dystopian story. Yes, I have a type. LOL. This takes place 6 years after the bombs have dropped, and what’s left of humanity is huddling around each other in small places, trying to survive. Except for Eugenia. She’s trying to get to this one specific place she heard about. She heard it was safe. But then she runs into this huge ship, and well, things change. Even months after reading it, I’m still wondering about certain things.

Kitty Thomas-The Game Maker

Kitty is one of the OGs when it comes to dark romance. And she will fuck your brain over with nary a blink. She has created some of my favorite male characters, and one of the best mindfuck books ever. Go check out Comfort Food. But today we’re talking about The Game Maker. Now, knowing that it is a Kitty Thomas book, and it’s got a title like it does, you might think that there are some mindfucks and twists around the corner, and you would be right. I never knew what was going to happen with this one.

Loxley Savage-Feathers and Fire

Feathers and Fire is a 3 book series. It’s a MFMM, RH, PNR. (My husband laughs at all the acronyms in Romancelandia) The books in the series are Bound for Blood, Cursed to Crave, and Freed By Flames. The story is about Trinity, who has spent her life as a slave. As a child, she had frequent blood draws. As an adult, she’s a sex slave in high demand, mostly because, as a 1/2 succubus, 1/2 phoenix, she can take a lot of abuse and heal quickly. Trinity goes through hell through all 3 books, but she becomes who she is and who she should be by the end of book 3. Books 1 & 2 end in cliffies, but the whole series is out, so you can go read it all back to back. Which is what I did. And I was just like WTF through a lot of it, in a good way. It is dark, it is dirty, gritty, and wow.

Alright, there we are. My Top Dark Reads of 2020. Go check them all out!

Addison Cain-Swallow it Down

Surprise! Addison, the tease, has dropped a new book for us. Swallow it Down is a holy fuck of a book, and it will leave you trying to figure out exactly what you just read and then scratching your head trying to make sense of what you just read. Don’t worry if you are left feeling slightly used up at the end of this book, I think most of us are. I know that I was. I’m still not sure if the ending is a HEA, HFN, or just the end. And I love that.

This is post-apocalyptic and dystopian. Basically bombs dropped all over the place, and now, 6 years later, civilization has completely broken down. There are pockets of people living in various places, but you really don’t want to just fall into those places, because they ain’t too great.

Against this backdrop, we have Eugenia. She has managed to somehow survive the last 6 years. She’s killed people in order to stay safe, when she couldn’t manage to sneak away, talk herself out of trouble, or escape. She’s willing to do a lot of things in order to stay free and find a good place to be. She’s heard of a place to be safe and she’s taking no chances. She’s even managed to pick up a traveling companion named John. He may be a whiny little twat, but there is some safety in numbers. He did push her to take a shortcut, and now they are stuck on it. It’s hot, there’s no water to drink, and they are surrounded by a lake full of poison. And suddenly, there’s a flash of light off in the distance. There’s a boat, a very, very large boat, in the distance. And what’s more, it has electricity.

Eugenia knows better, but John drops his stuff and decides to jump into the water and swim for the boat. She waits to see what is happening, and decides that she’d rather go out fighting than not, so she swims out to the boat. Where she is promptly grabbed and sent to Level 15.

I like Eugenia. I think she is snarky, smart, funny, clever, and witty. She manages to keep a lot of men liking her even if she isn’t giving them all what they want. She also manages to stand up to the Captain, which is an interesting choice on her part. As much as I do like, I also think that she is naive. I get it, I mean, she wants to believe that there is some good left in the world, I don’t blame her. Before the bomb dropped, she had a pretty cushy life, and she still has the filters that nice life gave her, even after 6 years of living hard after the bomb. I don’t think that it’s a failing in her, but I don’t think she ever really had to face some hard choices before, so it’s easier for her to believe that there are good places to be out in the world. I think that if she had had some roughness in her life before the bomb dropping, she might be a little less naive.

Aaron, the Captain. Hmmm… I don’t know that he’s good or evil I think that he just is. If I were to create him as a D&D character, I would give him a chaotic neutral alignment. I understand his choices. I can even agree with *some* of them. But, that said, I wouldn’t go about certain things the way that he does. I know that a leader has to make hard choices and that the good of the many outweighs the good of the few or the one and all, but there are just some choices and actions that are heinous for anyone to have to make. And I think that Aaron would make those choices, quite easily. Honestly, I can’t tell you if I like him or hate him. I think it varies from moment to moment. Maybe even from word to word. I think, among other things, that he may be a pure sociopath. Or, at the very least, have sociopathic tendencies.

Like I said, this was a holy fuck book. I loved every word of it, and I literally ignored my family the entire time I was reading it. My poor kitty kept trying to get me to pet him, and I made him leave me alone, which should tell you how involved in this book I was. I think that this is going to be one that I read and reread often. And I think that I will come up with a different conclusion every single time I read it.

OK, that’s all for this one. No spoilers today. Go to your favorite bookseller and check it out! Happy reading!

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