Rating (out of 5): 4 stars
Note: This review is spoiler-free, presuming you’ve read the first book in the series. Spoilers for Afterlight are contained below. You may read our review of the first book in the series, if you’d rather.
When I read the first Dark Ink Chronicles book, Afterlight, I knew Elle Jasper was going to take us someplace awesome. And, oh man, does she. I also considered the first book an urban fantasy with a heavy romantic element. This time out, though, Eli and Riley’s relationship is clearly the crux of the story. We get serious action sequences — we’re talking training, free running, vampire fight club, throwin’ knives, etc. — but at the heart of Everdark is the bond between these two, and the pressures put on it.
And I was fine with the shift. In the first book I was swept away by vampire Eli. His protective, all-or-nothing nature is even stronger this time out, because Riley is his. Unfortunately, after the actions of the Arcos brothers at the end of the first book (remember, they were the evil Romanian strigoi vampires), Riley now has tendencies, and they’re strigoi tendencies. She’s fast and strong, and Eli isn’t complaining about a boost in her sex drive. However, her new mental connection to Victorian Arcos is less than appealing. He comes into her dreams, telling her how they’ll be together. It creeps Riley out, but Eli hates it even more as he doesn’t like sharing.
Oh, and Victorian isn’t the only one slipping into Riley’s mind. There is another murderer out there, a vampire, who is killing one woman after another while Riley is forced to watch. Expect the Dupré vampires, Preacher’s Gullah magic folk and another vampire family to band together to take out a slew of new vampires and hunt down the one tormenting Riley. And, of course, Eli takes particular interest in stopping Victorian from getting all mentally sexy with his girlfriend.
You would all hate me if I didn’t mention this, but Jasper brings the Riley/Eli heat early and often in Everdark. We’re talking on the beach, in the ocean, in a tent, then back home, etc. And it’s awesome, because you love these two so much. And now Riley’s strength can challenge Eli’s, they’re on a more physically even playing field. Also, I just really love them. It made me happy to so quickly see them happy together.
I will warn you Everdark ends on a “damn it” cliffhanger, and you’ll be happy they slipped the first bit of Eventide (Dark Ink Chronicles #3) into the back of the book. I don’t usually read those excerpts, but I did this time. It made me feel much better.
If you were drawn to the relationship between Riley and Eli in the first book, you will love Everdark. Additionally, Jasper keeps her setting vibrant and we can always feel the brine in the air whenever Riley is outside.
Sexual content: Several graphic sex scenes.