Top positive review
Ariana Nash Does It Again!
Reviewed in the United States on July 13, 2020
Ariana Nash's books are like crack. You read one, just ONE and suddenly you are knee deep in the most dark and twisted minds of her heroes. Nash knows how to spin a good story and this is why she has turned into an insta buy from me. So King of the Dark is a book about a cruel prince, an ex soldier turned merc with a smart mouth who likes to think with his dick, and a loyal soldier. But, of course, nothing is as it seems on the surface. So let's talk about the characters:
Prince Vasili was the star of the show for me. He ticks all my boxes and I just loved him. He commands the page whenever he's on it. It's a crying shame he wasn't present more. I know why. Nash was setting up the betrayal and the eventual romance between him and Niko--WHICH I AM JUST DYING TO SEE PLAY OUT. OK THEY HAD SO MUCH FREAKING CHEMISTRY. AND THEY DIDN'T EVEN HAVE SEX! They share a kiss, ONE KISS and they still had more chemistry than Niko and Julian...more on that in a minute. Vasili is cruel, sadistic, won't hesitate to cut a man down, uses people as tools, yet he's the only Caville who truly gives a crap about his country. For a large portion of the book we see him at his cruelest, but here and there you can see the softer side slipping through. He is a damaged man permanently effed up due to what he went through and also because of the flame present in his bloodline. Can't wait to see that explored more. He's smart and cunning and I love him. He's the special brand of warped that Nash excels at crafting in her characters.
Nikolas Yazden is....well a bit of an idiot. I swear if he hadn't been thinking with his privates 90% of the time, things would have gone a whole lot different. I like Niko, I do. But his and Julien's romance was NOT IT. He fell in love with the dude way too easily. Maybe if he'd gotten laid before he broke Vasili's wrist, he would have figured out not to fall for the wrong person. *Sighs*. His one job is to find out who wants to kill Prince Vasili and it feels like he spends a majority of that time making heart eyes at Julien or shooting his mouth off and getting in trouble. It's ok sweetie, just stand back and let Vasili handle the thinking. You just hold the sword. I did love his smart mouth, though. Even if it gets him in trouble, he won't hesitate to tell a person where to stuff it. I'm looking forward to seeing how he will thaw and then eventually fall in love with Vasili.
Julien....this man, I swear to God. I knew all that niceness was an act, but I can forgive that. What I can't forgive is how bland he was. I knew he wasn't going to be the main love interest. Why? Because he's not interesting enough to be one. He's boring. And I knew as soon as Vasili was introduced, Mrs. Nash wouldn't let me down. She knows how to write an enemies to lovers done right. I hate him. I hate him so much. I didn't even enjoy his and Niko's sex scenes. The chemistry, like I mentioned earlier, just wasn't there for me. He's the complimentary salad the waiter brings you at a restaurant before the main course is served. I was so happy when he died. I was cheering inside my heart. Thank God that is over so we can move on.
Having read Primal Sin earlier this year, I feel like the plot and pacing wasn't as tight as it could have been. Some scenes feel rushed. One thing that particularly bothered me is that at one point, Niko just leaves the palace. He just walks out and it's so easy that no one stops him. Like huh???? It's like some events needed to happen for the plot to move forward but there wasn't enough build up to get there. Julien and Niko's romance takes up more portion of the plot than I'd like. I know it was so the big reveal would have more impact, but it didn't work for me. I felt like the clues were all there, but Niko was too oblivious. Niko's member is the true antagonist of this novel.
I also hope we get more world building in the incoming installments. There's a lot of interesting seeds planted here. Like the flame of the Caville blood line, the fiends and sorcery, and the elves. I want to know more about all of it. I love the worlds that Nash crafts. She always manages to keep me 100% engaged and curious to know more.
In short, this is an excellent start to a new series, even if it falls short in a few places. I'm excited to see what comes next. If you liked the Silk and Steel series, you will definitely love King of the Dark. You can't go wrong with an Ariana Nash book. Now to play the waiting game.........