Dual Review: Darkness Brutal by Rachel A. Marks

Crushed on by Sara Meadows, on February 6, 2016, in Reviews / 0 Comments

Dual Review: Darkness Brutal by Rachel A. Marks

BookCrushin was given a wonderful opportunity to read & review Rachel A. Marks Darkness Brutal and since both Sara & Teresa were interested we are going to share both of their reviews!


darkness brutalDarkness Brutal by Rachel A. Marks

Series: The Dark Cycle #1
Category: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publication: July 1st, 2015; Skyscape
Purchase: Amazon

Aidan O’Linn’s childhood ended the night he saw a demon kill his mother and mark his sister, Ava, with Darkness. Since then, every three years the demons have returned to try to claim her. Living in the gritty, forgotten corners of Los Angeles, Aidan has managed to protect his sister, but he knows that even his powers to fight demons and speak dead languages won’t keep her safe for much longer.

In desperation, Aidan seeks out the help of Sid, the enigmatic leader of a group of teens who run LA Paranormal, an Internet reality show that fights demons and ghosts. In their company, Aidan believes he’s finally found a haven for Ava. But when he meets Kara, a broken girl who can spin a hypnotic web of passionate energy, he awakens powers he didn’t know he had―and unleashes a new era of war between the forces of Light and the forces of Darkness.

With the fate of humanity in his hands, can Aidan keep the Darkness at bay and accept his brilliant, terrifying destiny?



Sara’s Review:

[book rating=4.5/5.0]

Darkness Brutal was the first book I read for the blog of 2016, and it was a wonderful way to welcome in the new year! It had everything I love in a YA paranormal book: magic, romance, snarky humor, and loyalty.

Aidan O’Linn can see demons. As a child, he watched a demon murder his mother and curse his baby sister, Ava, by marking her with Darkness. Since his mother’s death, Aidan’s mission has been to protect Ava and watch for any warning signs that the Darkness might be coming to claim for her.

I loved Darkness Brutal. I’m always impressed when an author can so convincingly write from the perspective of a teenage boy, and Rachel A. Marks nailed it with Aidan. He is kind, compassionate, sweet, and funny. His only goal is to keep Ava safe and he goes to great lengths to achieve this goal. The powers he possesses are mysterious, and by the end of the book we find out that Aidan is far more than we thought. This book was unique to me in that it combined several variations of magic, against a religious background, all of which triggered the curiosity of this history buff.

Rachel A. Mark’s writing is fluid and captivating. I finished the book two weeks ago, and can still picture the house in which Aidan and Ava seek refuge, as well as the ragtag cast of characters who live in the house. I can visualize the dark alleys, the windy beach cliffs, and backyard shed where Sid (the leader of said ragtag cast of characters) sleeps. Rachel truly created a universe in which I lost myself. The only negative aspect of the book for me was that Aidan’s inner monologue was sometimes repetitive in terms of his need to protect Ava. It was quickly and obviously apparent that his goal in life was to keep his sister safe at all costs, so there were times when I thought, Okay, I get it!

Darkness Brutal is a wonderful book with a unique plot and fully realized characters. I can’t wait for Darkness Fair!

4.5/5 stars!


Teresa’s Review:

[book rating=4.0/5.0]

Darkness Brutal is a gem of a book! I read the blurb and immediately thought, yeah, that sounds interesting! And I dove into it as soon as it showed up on my kindle.

Honestly, it was a bit of a slow start for me, I couldn’t seem to find my reading rhythm to get into this book. But I REFUSED to give up. I saw Sara exclaiming how much she loved it, so I knew that I would enjoy it when I finally got into it. It was probably just operator error. 🙂 Honestly, I am SO glad that I stuck to my guns and really gave this book a chance. Once I got to dig into this book, I saw how much this book actually had to offer. It took my breath away!

We all know how much I love books that really make you think. They bring something out of you more than emotion, they make you want to study, and look into a topic that you had not really looked at before.

Darkness Brutal not only makes you think about how Aidan can speak dead languages fluently, or knows how to fight demons that he shouldn’t be able to see. It brings you a different side of magic, angels and demons, and also the paranormal. The way that Rachel A. Marks ties all of these entities together is nothing short of brilliant. I actually started thinking about other books I have read before and kind of saw them through different eyes, what if they really did tie together and I just didn’t know it before now. I LOVE books that make you question everything. Those are the books that really stay with you, passed closing the cover. Speaking figuratively of course, since I read mostly on my kindle… 🙂

I really admire the way that Marks ends this work. It does not end on a cliffhanger, but it does leave you with more questions than answers. Doing this will not only drive you a bit crazy, in the best way, but will also leave you salivating for the next installment.

All in all I would give this book a 4 out of 5! I’m only taking off because of how many times I had to pick this book up to get drawn into her world. But I would not take back a single minute of it.

You should pick up this book today, and take yourself on an adventure that is nothing less than miraculous!

Happy Reading!



Author Bio: Rachel A. Marks

Rachel A. Marks is an award-winning author and professional artist, a cancer survivor, a surfer and dirt-bike rider, chocolate lover and keeper of faerie secrets. She was voted: Most Likely to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse, but hopes she’ll never have to test the theory. Her debut novel is DARKNESS BRUTAL, the 1st installment in The Dark Cycle (Skyscape). Book 2 releases February 2nd, 2016 and is titled, DARKNESS FAIR.

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