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Title: Karolina Dalca, Dark Eyes
Author: M. R. Noble
Published: 16th of December 2020 – Wild Rose Press
Format: Digital – 280 pages
Hello Hello! How are you?
Today I am thrilled to be bringing you my review of Karolina Dalca, Dark Eyes by M. R. Noble for my spot on the blog tour organised by the amazing Dave from @The_WriteReads.
It’s no secret that I love anything with vampires, so when I heard about this book and read the synopsis, I knew it sounded like something I would enjoy. I’m glad I decided to read it because it is a really unique take on vampires that I very much enjoyed.
Thank you so much to Dave and the author for letting me take part in this tour and for providing me with a free copy of this book to read in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Keep on reading for my thoughts on this book!
Blindsided by an attack that destroys her home and blamed for murder, Karolina Dalca, a half-vampire, escapes, only to plunge into the magical societies from which she was sheltered.
Betrayed by those around her, she abandons her dreams of becoming an investigator and flees, trusting only herself. Her police internship would never prove more useful. Hoofing it through the wilderness, she makes it to her university dorm, disheveled but delightfully deflowered.
Enter a full vampire: one wielding dark magic and a ride out of Canada. A fugitive from the law, Karo complies with his demands to escape, unsure whether his requests are bewitched. She vows to clear her name and avenge her mother’s death, but Karo’s family secrets aren’t so easily left behind.
Trigger Warnings: death, blood-drinking, gore, decapitation, cutting bodies in half, fire, water, sparks of electricity, dead parents, war, violence, serious injuries, strong language and sexual relationships.
Karolina Dalca, Dark Eyes by M. R. Noble is an urban fantasy paranormal book in which we meet Karolina Dalca, our main character who is half vampire and half witch, a combination I don’t think I’ve read before.
Right from the first page, I could tell this was going to be a really interesting and new take on vampires, werewolves, witches, power, and I was not wrong. I’m not sure if this is a series, but from the ending of this book, I think it is, and I’m so glad because I definitely want to read more from this world and these characters.
This book is first set in Canada and then Karolina and other characters end up in Romania, Russia and eventually Crimea. I hadn’t read many, or maybe any, book set in these countries, and it was actually great to see these places through the author’s and Karolina’s eyes.
We don’t get to see much of Canada at the start of the book before the events that take Karolina to Romania, but when we do get to Romania and Russia, I actually quite liked what I read. We don’t get that much detail about the setting because this is a more character-driven book, but I did like the little details and the world that was imagined in my mind while I was reading.
I’m only going to talk about the three main characters in this review because while there are loads and loads more, I actually was very invested in each of these people.
Karolina: Karolina is the main character in this book and while it took me a little time to get used to her and figure out if I liked her or not, she did end up growing on me. I think I struggled with her in the first few chapters because she felt a little rough around the edges in terms of development and detail, but once she got to Romania, I was able to picture her a lot easier and that’s when I got really invested in her. I really liked how unique a character she was depicted as. I mentioned above that I had never read a book with a half-vampire and half-witch character, so the fact that her magic was also very unique was cool. It was interesting seeing Karo trying to come to terms with the events of the book, trying to understand her feelings for other characters, and also try to understand her magic. I think she grew a lot in the book, so I’ll be interested to see more of her.
André: I actually liked André more than Roman for a very long time and I think that’s because I have always been Team Vampire instead of Team Wolf ahah. I found André to be a really complex character, I could picture him easier than Roman and I was really rooting for him and Karo. A lot of things concerning him and his motivations arise in the end of the book so I’m a little miffed at him now, but from that ending, it seems like we will get a sequel and see more of André, and that makes me so happy!
Roman: Roman is the only werewolf in this trio and as I just said, I wasn’t rooting for him and Karo until the very end. I found him to be a little jarring as a character for some reason, but I really liked the platonic relationship between Karo and Roman. They have been close friends since very young because Karo’s mother’s family and Roman’s family were very close so they looked out for each other. I thought this was really cute, but now that there has been a hint of a different kind of relationship, my allegiance may be changing.
I have to admit that at times I did struggle with the “family tree” we get told about because it made me a little bit confused. I don’t know whether it was because we don’t actually get to see a lot of the people who are mentioned because they are either dead or not included in the plot, but I did have to think a little when characters were mentioned. But that might just be a me thing, to be honest!
A unique take on vampires and other creatures: The thing I liked the most about this book I think was just how uniquely the characters were portrayed. I have read my fair share of books with vampires, werewolves and others, but I think this is one of the most unique depictions of both of those. I loved how the vampires were portrayed, they are as usual strong and nearly invincible, but they also have some other attributes that were really cool. I also really liked how Roman was described, he is not really a normal werewolf and I was especially intrigued by how he used his power to divert attention from them. I’m really hoping we have more unique traits like this in the sequel (I really hope there is one aha).
A fascinating magic system: I also was very intrigued by the magic system. When I think vampire, I don’t also think of magic and powers on top, by M. R. Noble has created a type of vampire that has both speed and strength, coupled with powers either Light or Dark which I found fascinating. I also liked how the powers seem to be linked to the elements. Karolina has Fire and Earth power, one of the characters has Water power and I just loved reading all about this part of the plot, it made me really invested.
A great fantasy world with political intrigue: This is definitely more urban fantasy than usual fantasy which I’m more used to reading, but I have been reading more urban fantasy lately and really enjoying those experiences. We get to see the kind of underside of this world and its political strata, which is something that did confuse me a little bit, but I know it’s only setting up the world and dividing the characters. So I will be really looking forward to more from this author because what is implied from that ending is so cool and I can’t wait.
A touch of the love triangle and sexual tension galore: I have kind of a bizarre relationship with love triangles because I either love reading them, or absolutely hate them, but here, I was SO invested in the small-ish love triangle we get. However, I think I was rooting for the wrong person the whole time aha. I do also like a touch of romance in my fantasies and that’s what I got here. The sexual tension is almost palpable without being weird or too much, and I like that it wasn’t the main part of the plot, but still there. The author did a great job of balancing all the elements out and not making them feel lumpy or too much/too little.
MY THOUGHTS AND RATING
Overall, this was a really interesting and enjoyable urban fantasy with vampires, werewolves, complicated family relationships and magic. I was a little bit confused by some of the characters as I said above and I would have liked a little more description concerning the setting, but otherwise, I thought it was a very solid first instalment in what I hope will be a great series.
The writing style was simple but it kept me reading, it flowed nicely and I ended up reading the book in nearly one whole sitting. It was a quick, easy, fun and unique book that I really enjoyed reading. I also got really invested in our character trio and I hope to see them all together again soon. I do just have to say that this is quite a dark book, and it can get really violent, graphic and gory, so please make sure to check the trigger warnings at the top of my review before deciding to read it yourself.
I gave this book 4 stars (full ASPECTS rating below) and I really enjoyed it. As you know, I love books with vampires and I’ve been getting into urban fantasy more lately, so the mix of these two was really good, especially with how unique the vampires were. If you like urban fantasy visiting far-flung countries, characters on the run, adventure, complicated familial and political relationships, love triangles, vampires and werewolves, then this is the book for you! I highly recommend it.
Thank you once again to Dave and the author for letting me read this book, it was a great experience and I will be keeping a lookout for more by this author, hopefully, a new Karolina Dalca novel!
That’s all for now, I hope you enjoyed reading this post, see you soon, stay safe,
ABOUT THE AUTHOR – M. R. NOBLE
M. R. Noble has played a tug of war between science and art her whole life, but the rope broke when she wrote the first line of The Dark Eyes Series. Immersed up to her keyboard in paranormal romance and urban fantasy, she enjoys blending the real with the surreal. The only drawback is she misplaces her mug while dreaming up her next scene, and soon finds herself six cups overpoured.
Keeping to her Lake Simcoe roots, she is a member of the Writers Community of York Region (WCYR), where her muse is made not found . . . over a hefty cup of coffee.
Atmosphere – 6.5
Start – 6
Pacing – 7
Ending – 7
Characters – 6.5
Theme – 6.5
Style – 7
Total = 46.5
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