A dark romance novel always hits the spot on a cold, dark, fall night accompanied by a dog (or cat) cuddled by your side. Put on some chill music streaming in the background, and now you have the perfect atmosphere for escape on a damp and dreary reading weekend. We’ve found five new romance reads sure to please any dark romance book lover.
Court of the Vampire Queen by Katee Robert
A woman who’s half human and half vampire is offered as a sacrifice to a trio of powerful vampires in this dark, erotic paranormal romance. Mina’s father, Cornelius, is the head of one of seven powerful vampire bloodlines. His goal is to restore the vampires to their rightful place at the top of the food chain, and he needs more progeny and bloodlines under his control to enact his plans. He has no fond feelings for his dhampir daughter, as half-vampire, half-humans are known. She possesses neither the godly strength of his kind nor the magical affinity that humans have, so he sends her off to be a sacrifice to Malachi, a vampire of another bloodline. Confined to a Gothic mansion, Malachi knows why Mina was sent to him. Her father hopes he’ll either kill her or impregnate her, adding the heir of Malachi’s bloodline to his own. Malachi’s home quickly becomes more crowded as Wolf and Rylan, two other vampires from his past, arrive. All three take an interest in Mina, whose blood tastes different than other dhampirs’, and they begin to unravel Mina’s mysterious heritage and the deadly power play in which her father has involved them. Readers unaccustomed to dark romances may want to steer clear of this one, as there is dubious consent and graphically described violence. The sex is steamy, a nonstop carousel that sometimes buries the plot. For a mindless sexual romp with seductive vampires and a woman who begins to recognize her own worth, it can be a fun read, though seeing women used as political pawns and broodmares can be distasteful, especially now. A smutfest of epic proportions. – Kirkus Reviews
A Dowry of Blood by S.T. Gibson
Gibson’s (Robbergirl) feminist restyling of Dracula (a surprise hit when it was self-published in Jan. 2021) begins with Constanta bleeding out on the ground, surrounded by the bodies of her family after the massacre of her village. Then Constanta is reborn and remade in the likeness of a powerful, mysterious stranger, and his dark appetites soon become hers as he introduces her to the world of the undead. Secrets and lies, as well as a malevolent kind of love, bind Constanta to him, but when creative, charming Alexi and intelligent Magdalena join their relationship, life as she knew it begins to unravel and she is forced to see her husband in a harsh new light. Constanta realizes that she must uncover her husband’s dark secrets that bind them all together and then decide if the cost of her freedom, along with that of Magdalena and Alexi, is worth the loss of the man they love. Constanta’s quest forces her to fight for herself and her partners and try to once again overcome the odds to survive. VERDICT Perfect for readers interested in creative, gritty, and steamy horror retellings.– Jenna Harmison (Library Journal)
The Dark King (Deviant Kings #1) by Gina L. Maxwell
Bestseller Maxwell (Masked Desires) takes readers on a fast-paced thrill ride from the very first page of her first Deviant Kings fantasy romance. To the human world, Caiden Verran is one of the three brothers who own Las Vegas’s Nightfall Hotel and Casino. To his brothers and others in the know, however, he’s the Dark Fae King, the ruler of an underground court of faeries. Recently laid off Wisconsinite Bryn Meara thinks her luck is changing when she scores a free trip to Las Vegas–and even more so when she meets handsome billionaire Caiden. After a night partying together, Bryn and Caiden wake up married with no memory of the event. Unaware that a master puppeteer is pulling the strings that brought them together, the pair debate whether to stay married–until Caiden learns that the ritual that bound them was fae, not human, and that they are fated mates. Dominant Caiden and feisty submissive Bryn have red-hot chemistry, and Maxwell’s sizzling erotic scenes reflect that passion. Meanwhile, the dark, twisty paranormal plot delivers nonstop surprises and deliciously foreshadows the next novel. This smart, sexy story spells good things for the series to come. – Publishers Weekly, Agent: Nicole Resciniti, Seymour Agency. (Oct.)
Silver Under Nightfall by Rin Chupeco
DEBUT Welcome to Aluria, a world where the sun seldom shines and the lands are split between vampires and humans with each hating, fearing, and hunting the other. When a deadly plague of rotting zombies threatens both peoples, Remy Pendergast is caught in the middle as the disgraced son of a famous vampire hunter–turned–liaison to two vampire courts. But the threat is larger than anyone imagined, and Remy and the two vampires Malekh and Song must learn to trust each other absolutely if any of them are to survive the coming onslaught. Remy, Malekh, and Song have a darkly delicious queer relationship that will make gothic readers swoon, while the political skullduggery twists perceptions of heroes and villains into complex knots of speculation and betrayal. VERDICT Readers who love sinking their teeth into an absorbing story of vampire politics along with the perils of romancing the undead will find much to savor in this adult debut from YA novelist Chupeco (An Unreliable Magic). The epic saga will hold appeal for both horror and fantasy readers.– Marlene Harris (Library Journal)
Uncanny Times (Huntsmen #1) by Laura Anne Gilman
Blending the rabble-rousing union politics of the early 1900s with old world magic, Uncanny Times tells the story of siblings Rosemary and Aaron Harker, who, along with an oversized hound named Botheration, are summoned to the factory town of Brunson, New York, when a distant relative is killed in a most unexpected and gruesome way. The Harkers are Huntsmen, damned humans with an unholy lineage, who are able to recognize and combat the mythical and magical creatures that inhabit the earth. They arrive expecting to suss out a killer quickly, but Brunson presents a surprising mystery where men, both rich and poor, are inexplicably dying. Soon it’s a race against time as the murders increase with alarming frequency, forcing Rosemary and Aaron to create uneasy alliances and dig deeper into local legends. Gilman’s incredible skills as a world builder are on full display in this terrific start to her new Huntsmen series. Readers will particularly enjoy the realistic banter of the sibling protagonists within this cozy mystery that packs a punch when least expected. – Booklist
- Kirkus Reviews 08/01/2022 (EAN 9781728264691, Paperback) ©2022 Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
- Library Journal 09/01/2022 pg. 126 (EAN 9780316501071, Hardcover) ©2022 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
- Publishers Weekly 08/08/2022 (EAN 9781649373274, Paperback) © 2022 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.
- Library Journal 09/09/2022 pg. 1 (EAN 9781982195717, Hardcover) ©2022 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.
- Booklist 09/01/2022 pg. 46 (EAN 9781534415928, Paperback) ©2022 Booklist. All rights reserved.