Reviewed by Nikyta
Title: Dark Side of the Sun
Author: Belinda Burke
Series: Eight Kingdoms #1
Heroes: Bran & Macsen
Genre: M/M Paranormal
Length: 53k words
Publisher: Totally Bound
Release Date: April 11, 2014
Available at: Totally Bound, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, All Romance eBooks and Kobo
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads
Blurb: An ancient pact was once broken by the theft of Summer’s Prince. Now, the Red King has found him. To live, to love, they seek the dark side of the sun…
A thousand years ago, Milesian invaders gained ownership of Ireland from Summer’s Queen through trickery. Since that day, the green isle’s native sidhe have been imprisoned in their hidden kingdom, bound by their ancient pact with the Milesians.
Now, the treaty has been violated. The Milesians have stolen Bran Fionnan, the son of Summer’s Queen. Trapped in the human world with no way of returning home, Bran is held under a death threat that forces him to work for his captors. He must forge weapons the Milesian huntresses can use to slay their new foe: the Red King.
The Red King is Macsen Cadoc, a vampire—a hunter who cannot stand being hunted. He seeks vengeance for the Milesian attacks in spilled blood—Milesian blood, and the blood of the sidhe traitor who has forged their weapons.
When the one he finds is a victim, not a traitor, everything changes.
Bran Fionnan is the Milesian’s most valuable prize, but from the moment Macsen sees him, he wants him…and the Red King is not accustomed to being denied—by anyone. What begins with desire may end in extraordinary ways, but first there are questions that must be answered.
What is love? Can it help Bran overcome lost ties and a lifetime’s worth of anger? Can it help the Red King gain more than the satisfaction of his lusts?
When yet another Milesian huntress comes to his kingdom and tries to slay him, Macsen Cadoc, “The Red King”, has had enough and takes matters into his own hands. First he’s determined to hunt the sidhe traitor who’s making the magical weapons for the Milesians. Unfortunately, the traitor is nothing more than a victim who must make the weapons or die. This victim is Bran Fionnan, Summer Queen’s son, who was kidnapped over twenty years ago and who also formed a blood bond with Macsen when he was a toddler. With his focus now changed, Macsen sets his sights on bringing Bran home except Macsen’s visits don’t go unnoticed by the Milesians and Bran’s captivity just might go from bad to worse.
Wow, I was pleasantly surprised by this book! As this author’s debut novel, I was hoping for something enjoyable but got something way more intriguing. There’s a lot of depth to the characters and the world and I loved exploring a bit of the eight kingdoms. While the majority is focused on the Red Kingdom, the author did a great job of giving enough details about the other kingdoms to understand them. I loved that there was so many different creatures, enemies and allies, pacts and promises. It made for a very interesting story that had a lot of layers to it. One thing I really liked in this fae story was that a sidhe’s word bound them to their promise so part of the conflict with Macsen and Bran was that Macsen couldn’t bring Bran back to his kingdom without his permission.
As for the characters, I really loved them and their connection. Macsen is the typical arrogant, terrifying vampire who’s been alive long enough to realize he’s stronger than almost everyone. As such, he can manipulate or frighten just about everyone BUT when it comes to Bran, he’s gentle and caring but can also be hard and aggressive. Bran is the exact opposite. As the son of Summer’s Queen, he’s the light to Macsen’s darkness. Bran is innocent but stubborn, bold but shy. They’re a good mix and I adored them together. I can’t stress how much I loved their connection. The fact that they were able to see through the other’s eyes while they dreamed was an interesting development.
While this book was definitely intriguing, I had two issues with it. There was the constant use of the characters whole name during mundane talking. I felt like 90% of the time Macsen was thinking or speaking Bran’s name it was as “Bran Fionnan” or when Bran would think or say Macsen’s name is was “Macsen Cadoc”. I found that a little awkward as these two were having sex, I would have thought they’d be on a first name basis. Another thing that bugged me was how much Bran and Macsen spoke their thoughts out loud when no one was around, which I also found a little weird since it happened so often. Granted, I don’t make a habit of saying my thoughts out loud when I’m alone so maybe that’s normal for others, I don’t know LOL.
Overall, this was a great start to a new series. I enjoyed the details around the sidhe and the characters. I also loved the connection between Bran and Macsen and the bond that they created. I’m looking forward to reading more in this series and seeing where things head. There’s a hint at what will happen next but only time will tell which direction the author takes the series in!
Overall Impression: I really liked it!
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.*