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REVIEW: Touch of Darkness by Christina Dodd

Dear Ms. Dodd:

Touch of Darkness (Darkness Chosen, Book 2)I reviewed the first in the series, Scent of Darkness, and enjoyed the updated play on the boss/secretary theme. Touch of Darkness uses another standard romance trope turned on its side (as opposed to turned on its head). Touch is an adventure romance between former lovers who must trust each other to reach the end safely. The twist is that it is Tasya, the heroine, who leaves the hero.

I think that which book will be a reader’s favorite will depend largely upon their emotional response to the main characters. I liked Anna and Jasha in Scent over Rurik and Tasya in Touch but Touch is just as well written. It’s the work of a professional writer who knows exactly what makes an appealing story. Tightly plotted, fast paced, with well developed characters, the book hits all the right tones.

Rurik Wilder is a member of the cursed Varinski clan. His ancestor sold his soul to the devil in exchange for power, wealth, and a supernatural gift of shapeshifting. Rurik’s father, Konstantine, fell in love with a gypsy woman and stole her to America where they have lived, hidden from the Varinskis. A prophecy is rendered that the loves of the sons of Konstantine will bring a blessed icon to the family and break the curse. Rurik’s oldest brother, Jasha, had brought home a woman, Anna, and with her came an icon, the first of the needed four. Rurik knows who his love is but she rejected him after one very passionate night together.

While taking a vacation from his archeological dig in the Orkney Islands off northern Scotland, Rurik sees on television a break through find at his dig and he hastens back to Scotland. Rurik believes that one of the icons is there. If his love won’t bring it to him, he is determined to bring it home himself in order to save his family.

Unbeknownst to Rurik, his love, Tasya Hunnicutt is seeking the icon as well. Tasya and Rurik both have secrets from each other but their secrets eventually intersect bringing whatever relationship and feelings that they have for each other to a head. In essence, will the search for the icon, the need for the icon, for vengeance for their families, mean more than their budding love?

I liked the development of the worldbuilding and I appreciated the skill it took to craft a completely new way of presenting the mythology that had been detailed in the previous book. In the old, good days, all the Varinskis shifted into high predators: wolves, bears, hawks. Now, because the Wilders are beginning to break the curse, the Varinskis are falling apart. There is intense infighting and weak leadership. The shapeshifters are starting to turn into lower predators like snakes. As any cornered predator, the Varinskis are more dangerous than ever.

While this book is technically proficient, I think that it tugs on the heartstrings in an obvious and not terribly believable manner toward the end. It’s romance, after all. I guess that is one of the pitfalls of genre expectations. I also felt that the suspense and the world building overshadowed the romance a bit. Still, I would never have guessed you would have made such a good paranormal romance writer. Bring on book 3. I can’t wait to see what well loved trope is reimagined. B

Best regards,


Jane Litte is the founder of Dear Author, a lawyer, and a lover of pencil skirts. She self publishes NA and contemporaries (and publishes with Berkley and Montlake) and spends her downtime reading romances and writing about them. Her TBR pile is much larger than the one shown in the picture and not as pretty. You can reach Jane by email at jane @ dearauthor dot com


  1. Marianne
    Aug 16, 2007 @ 04:53:36

    Okay… looks like I have some new books to read. These both sound interesting, and I’ve always like Ms. Dodd.


  2. Sarah McCarty
    Aug 16, 2007 @ 05:37:02

    I’ve always been a fan of Ms. Dodds, and I’ve got the first two books of this series in my reward pile for as soon as I meet my next deadline. Can’t wait!

  3. Kristie(J)
    Aug 16, 2007 @ 05:49:50

    I had this book in my hand just the other night and was this close to buying it. But I still haven’t read Scent yet and with the pile I already have I very reluctantly put it back until I read the first one. Now I’m thinking I will need to go back and get the second one! And there’s another one I want to get to – may as well make it worth my while :)

  4. Jennifer McKenzie
    Aug 16, 2007 @ 07:49:56

    I never would have put Dodd and “paranormal” in the same sentence. This looks interesting. Thanks again for the review!! Of course, I’m going to go bankrupt now. LOL.
    I DO have a birthday coming up. *Starts thinking of how to get EVERY book I want*

  5. Ann Bruce
    Aug 16, 2007 @ 08:10:29

    I gave up on Dodd even before she started with the contemporaries, but wow! Two B’s in a row. Will have to pick her up again.

  6. Mireya
    Aug 16, 2007 @ 09:30:29

    I didn’t really care about Christina Dodd’s contemporaries after reading a couple of them, so I was a bit skeptical about this series. Like Karen, I liked Scent’s characters better, however, this series is turning out good. Would definitely say go for it to a paranormal romance lover. Looking forward to book 3.

  7. Ann Bruce
    Aug 16, 2007 @ 12:06:15

    BTW, what’s book 3? Taste of Darkness? Sound of Darkness?

  8. Jane
    Aug 16, 2007 @ 13:48:34

    Ann – I don’t know what book 3 was. I ventured over to Dodd’s site (had to wait while the flash loaded so I could skip the intro – sigh) but there wasn’t anything indicating the release date or the name. I kind of like “Sound of Darkness”, myself. Although I am sure I would be humming the “hills are alive” during the reading of the book.

  9. Jane
    Aug 16, 2007 @ 13:50:02

    Yep, I wouldn’t have thought that Dodd was a paranormal writer but she’s got a good sense of what works and what doesn’t. It reads very smooth.

  10. Mireya
    Aug 16, 2007 @ 14:07:33

    Oops, I said Karen and it should have been Jane … my apologies!

  11. Ann Bruce
    Aug 17, 2007 @ 08:06:35

    Although I am sure I would be humming the “hills are alive� during the reading of the book.

    I’d have “Hello, darkness, my old friend” playing through my head–and only that line because I can’t remember the rest of the words.

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