Friday, May 5, 2017

Review: The Moon Shines Red by Pamela Sparkman

Title: The Moon Shines Red
Author: Pamela Sparkman
Series: Heart of Darkness #1
Genre: Fantasy
Release Date: April 25, 2017

The red glow of the moon washed over land and sea like a faded bloody stain. Everything was bathed in it, including him. A constant reminder of the curse that marked him before he was born. Every night he gazed at it like he was lured and haunted by it. It followed him, it beseeched him. It called out to him. Just once he wanted to see the moon glow as everyone else saw it. Bright and illuminating. But he knew that would never be possible.

The all too familiar feeling of despair suffocated him, like long gangly fingers squeezing his neck, cutting off his air. He fell to his knees and begged for the sky to fall on him. He had suffered long and tirelessly and he was desperate for it to end. And yet, he fought to breathe. He fought to stand back on his feet. Because fighting back was as instinctual to him as breathing. He had come too far to let his loneliness and despair get the best of him now. He was battle worn and weary, but he still had a reason to live.

Or so he hoped.

He stood back on his feet and he fought against the doom that hovered over him since the day he was born and he stared up into the darkened sky.

At the moon that shines red only for him.

He was cursed.
I should have stayed away from him. But I couldn't.
HE was my life. And he just might kill me.
So I guess that means...he may also be my end.


I've been a fan of Pamela Sparkman's since her debut book, Stolen Breaths . I will read anything she writes, but I must admit, I was in a frenzy of excitement when she decided to take on the fantasy genre. It couldn't have come at a better time, because I've been finding my way back to fantasy and PNR in the past year. You might even say it's my current obsession phase, so color me happy that she made this choice to branch out. One of the things I really love about this author is that she doesn't put limits on herself to try new genres and characters.

This story is completely different from all of her others in almost every way. Most notably, the mysterious undertone throughout this entire book. It weaves between the characters and ties them together in a genius way. The riddle of the hero's curse will keep you flipping the pages and attempting to work out where it will lead you.

When what is blue turns red, your child will bring man to his knees in sorrow
For they will not see the light of tomorrow
Let it be so until the mountains move and the rivers shiver
As soon as what's been shrouded is revealed, all wicked souls will quiver
A refusal shall mark an age of tranquility
And the restoration of balance shall bring forth a remedy

Lord Lochlan is conceived from love, but judged and condemned as shameful. An innocent punished for the perceived crimes of his parents. He exists centuries in isolation and misery, just surviving. Never experiencing a normal life or even a promise of the beauty the world has to offer.

Death is his consort, coldness his constant companion.

He's grown weary, sunk into despair at the hopelessness that he'll ever escape his fate. The path to freedom begins with the most unlikely little spirited package. He admires her fire and wit, he tries to keep her at a distance for her own safety. But while his presence has always commanded fear and awe, Elin quickly overcomes his intimidating magnetism and surly disposition.

Even in the outdoors his presence dominated, consumed, like a monolithic column rising above the ground. His essence was as tangible as the man himself. Even the air around him hummed in reverence.

I loved Lochlan. He was protective, strong, and genuine, yet darkly cryptic. Even after suffering the contempt of his people and centuries of hurt, he maintained a light underneath that darkness. From the beginning, it was obvious to me that he was ripe for redemption. He only needed someone with the courage to fight this monumental battle by his side. There is a brewing war, and his battle is integral to the outcome of it all. The only question is, is he doomed for damnation or is there a flicker of hope in all of the madness? Hiding unthinkable scars that it seems could never be healed, he hold everything inside and lets it fester. Never revealing the deep cut that he can never forgive himself for.

Elin was a young woman who like Lochlan, knows what it's like to be judged for being different, found wanting. Forced to move to Kaelmor Kingdom with her parents in search of safety, she unknowingly moves closer to the fire. Danger is never far from her, but she lacks the knowledge to protect herself. She's intelligent, yet a little naive at first and more than a little innocent. That innocence is heartbreakingly shattered, and her whole world is shifted in ways she couldn't have imagined. But through her pain, we see her grow into a steely resolve and strength no matter what's thrown at her. With Lochlan, she has a protector, a friend, and a man who she yearns to be close to. Their forbidden love delivers an ache and anticipation that draws you right into their rioting emotions.

They're passionate. Tender. Desperately longing for the impossible.

“I came back.”
His heart swelled. “Why?”
She shook her head. “Because, I felt like you needed me. Did you? Need me?”
All he could do was look at her, wondering why it took so long for her to come into his life. “Yes,” he said. “I think I always have.”

Nothing is quite what it seems in this story. Their journey is filled with malevolent forces, hidden agendas, and shocking truths. The ending leaves you with one story complete, and another waiting to be told. Knowing what she has planned for the next in the series, I'm not ashamed to say that I'm already counting down the days until she starts writing. This character is one that is completely torn, broken, and filled with complexities. Tormented doesn't even begin to cover him, and I know his will be one fascinating and twisted tale.

Pamela Sparkman always knows how to write a story full of emotion, true romance, and meaning. But this book has exceeded my expectations and shines brighter than I ever could have anticipated. The Moon Shines Red is a love story born in impossible circumstances, and strengthened in adversity and tragedy. There are power struggles, deceit, and secrets to be uncovered. It's about the balance of good and evil, choosing sides and fighting for something that's worth dying for. It's the ultimate fantasy romance that poses the question, "Can love really conquer all?"


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