Review: Surrender the Dark (The Dark #1) by Tibby Armstrong

As a provocative series of paranormal temptation begins, a vampire king seduces the supernaturally gifted man hunting him. But when the stakes are literally life or death, their struggle for control is no game.

Benjamin Fuller is a hunter, born and bred. Blinded as a child by the vampire who slaughtered his family, he’s blessed with a second sight that allows him to catch and kill his quarry. What his gift can’t help him see coming is his fierce, almost carnal attraction to the mystery man who claims to be a fellow hunter and whose touch triggers both lust and revulsion. When he gains the upper hand, Benjamin vows to bring his enemy to his knees.

After many years spent in exile, the only one who can help restore Tzadkiel Dragoumanos to his rightful place as War King is a blind hunter with golden curls, a lithe dancer’s physique, and distinctive facial scars—scars Tzadkiel gave him two decades ago. The mere scent of Benjamin Fuller provokes an unwelcome rush of insatiable desire. Yet to win an all-out supernatural war, Tzadkiel must resist the ravenous hunger to possess his prey—for now.

I don't want to get too excited here but this has the potential to be a great paranormal romantic suspense series with phenomenal worldbuilding, strong leading characters and loads of action/adventure. Armstrong has taken a modern day Boston and transformed it into an urban fantasy landscape brimming with secret lairs, underground civilizations, supes of all kinds, secret doors and a blood feud that spans years. 

We have the sexy vamp in Tzadkiel and his fierce paramour, Benjamin. They have a shared and painful past that pits them against one another initially. 

Hunter and vamp. Drawn to each other and repulsed by their attraction simultaneously. I'm licking my lips here because them's the goods right there! You know what that means, kids?

Well, sorta. The sex was a teensy bit rough if infrequent and I have to say if authors don't quit chain-yanking me on the hate sex I'm going to get SUPER fussy. These two had biting snark and an ocean's worth of water under the bridge and they still couldn't manage some hate sex? 

Luckily the whole "fated" thing came along and saved the day. I heart me some fated mates and these two met when Benjamin was just an innocent tike of 8 or so. Even then Tzadkiel found his elderflower (NICE! Armstrong didn't go with the ubiquitous something woodsy) scent irresistible. Naturally Benjamin has similar feels with regard to Tzadkiel. Who can resist and vamp in leather though? I mean, really.

The defense rests.
Surrender the Dark definitely fits the hurt/comfort bill with Benjamin having been blinded and disfigured by Tzadkiel as a child then orphaned. While Tzadkiel withstood 36 straight hours of torture at the hands of Benjamin's uncle (an asshole, in case you were wondering) including losing his fangs and being injected with iron and...

Yeah, it was bad. So bad he had to go to ground for two decades to minimally recover, so you can imagine how pissed he was when he woke up.

I wanted Tzadkiel to be a bit more unscrupulous than he turned out to be, but he's good... vampire? What's plural for vampire or is it like deer? Whatever you get what I mean. I liked him and I liked that Armstrong made his voice align with his age, wisdom and experience. Actually, both men had their own unique voices that I had no trouble differentiating between. I so enjoyed getting a front row seat to witness the evolution of their relationship from enemies to something more and how they each grappled with their changing perceptions of the other.

However much I enjoyed the growth of their relationship, Surrender the Dark is very much a paranormal adventure/urban fantasy with an up-tempo pace intermingled through the worldbuilding and romance plotlines, so if you're looking for a really strong romance storyline you'll probably be disappointed. The two strongest secondary characters are Benjamin's best friends, Nyx and Akito, and while I liked them and wouldn't mind learning more about them I'm hoping the next book will continue with Tzadkiel and Benjamin's story and their adventures with even more action, please.

Recommend to urban fantasy fans.

I couldn't resist.

An ARC was provided by NetGalley.

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