Dark Rivers

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 30 Apr 2019

Member Reviews

I got this via Netgalley which in no way influenced my review. I didn't realize at the time it was book two in the series but there was plenty of backstory so I didn't feel lost. It's a lot like Supernatural only with lovers and instead of hunting demons they're after witches who perform human sacrifice to give themselves a sort of immortality. Right from the blurb :One hundred years ago, a sheriff’s posse killed dark warlock Rhyfel Gremory. With that in mind his disciples have been killing the first born sons of the posses for decades. Seth should have been killed but they got his brother Jesse instead and last book he saved his now-lover Evan from the same fate.

Seth and Evan are now in Pittsburgh (hence the titular rivers) on the trail of the next disciple under the guise of being true crime writers interested in the New Castle murder swamp killer (which stunned me because I'm from the Pittsburgh area and researched the Cleveland torso killer story which some have tried to link to this but never came across this and it is a real thing). They easily locate the next intended victim but finding the warlock is a lot harder.

I like that they are helping each other with a great deal of PTSD (Seth from seeing his brother's murder plus being a soldier earlier in his life, Evan because of a highly abusive relationship that he's been on the run from for a couple of years) and that Seth is training Evan to fight and to use some good magic so he's not cast into the 'damsal in distress' role.

There's plenty of action and Pittsburgh and its environs is almost like a character itself which I loved. I liked Seth and Evan and the introduction of a few new hunters. Is it greatly different from Supernatural or Buffy the Vampire Slayer or The Dresden Files no, not really but it doesn't have to be. Fans of UF want more of that. Would I get the next book? Yes. Would I go back and read book one that I missed? Honestly no. There is SO much of what happened there repeated in this that I feel like I know that whole story. Maybe it is a bit too much.

I
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While Witchbane, book one, left me unimpressed, Dark Rivers, the second book went a long way into convincing me about this series. Enough to earn an extra star.

One of the best things about it was that Evan definitely improved a lot. He is now far from the TSTL character I tagged him in the first book. Now he can do magic spells using sigils and martial arts. He and Seth still has to deal with PTSD but he was able to keep his cool during his abduction. And saved himself. Attaboy!

I also complained previously about the first book trying too hard to be steamy. Here, the horny thoughts and sex scenes were less distracting and mesh more naturally into the story. The developments between Seth and Evan was more believable and I’m now sold on their romance.

The POV switched between Evan and Seth which generally worked throughout the story, although I would have wanted Evan’s POV when he was fighting with Mike, the psycho ex, instead of having it relayed through Seth’s eyes.

The writing is still straightforward and no frills but the suspense is tighter and the story is more action packed. A big plus is the introduction of the other monster hunter team, ex-priest Travis and former special ops Brent, characters from the author’s other series, Night Vigil. I know Seth and Evan could hold their own in a fight but it’s comforting to know there are other people who can watch their backs.

Overall, this is a good sequel to Witchbane and though still far from perfect, is definitely much better written. The author was able to address some issues from the first book and also gave our heroes time to grow and catch a break. And most importantly, Dark Rivers succeeded in changing my mind about this series. I’m definitely into this now so good job, Morgan Brice!

P.S.

review of Witchbane here
other Morgan Brice books here

I received a copy of Dark Rivers from Darkwind Press via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Rating:
3.5 Stars – that place between like and love

Soundtrack: Where The River Flows
Artist: Collective Soul
Album: Collective Soul
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Not a standalone, but portrayed as one, and that makes it quite (very, at the start) repetitive...

This is a very well-written book that follows on directly from the previous tale in the series, Witch Bane, which introduces the leads. That was an excellent tale, but this one, whilst also good in its own right, repeats a lot of WB, to that readers don't get lost. For me, though, having read book 1, I felt that the first couple of chapters repeated too much of the latter, and, this happens, too, in the WB novella that follows on from this current book, Burn.

But, it's a decent read. All this author's tales are, and since discovering that she also writes as Gail Z Martin, I've been devouring those books, too. It's very much along the lines of Supernatural, but without quite the gore and darkness. Things are a bit slow, due to the leads' relationship being so brand new, and they (of course, eye roll) need to stop and have lots of sex. LOL!
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I am so glad that I stumbled across this author (more on that at the end of this review.) Witchbane, the first book in this series, had me wanting more and Dark Rivers didn’t disappoint – in fact it gave me more than I expected. 😉

Even though Seth and Evan’s relationship is just beginning, it’s stronger than either of them have ever experienced. Seth pulled him into a world that Evan didn’t know existed, but he was always unknowingly a part of. That was a lot to take in, but neither one of them had time to analyze the situation, they needed to stay ahead of the next disciple.

There was a lot going on in Dark Rivers. More than enough action to keep the pages turning, some heated moments between Seth and Evan (and not always between the sheets 😉 ) The couple was tested more than once from more than one source. I pretty much loved every minute of it. Honestly, the only complaint that I had – which was minor – was that there seemed to be a lot of going over what happened in Witchbane. I think that may have been just a “me” thing though, mainly because not a lot of time passed between me reading Witchbane and Dark Rivers. If it had been a longer time span, I might have even found it helpful.

One of my favorite aspects of Dark Rivers may have been the supporting characters. Seth was used to doing things on his own, until he met Evan. In Dark Rivers, they found themselves needing even more help. They had depended on long distance assistance before from other “monster hunters” and “specialists” but this time they needed physical help – whether they wanted it or not. Turns out, their “help” came in the form of characters from another series – that I quite accidentally discovered – by Gail Z. Martin. Yep, Travis and Brent have their very own series – Night Vigil. Imagine my surprise when I didn’t realize that little bit of info until I started Sons of Darkness (which should probably be read before Dark Rivers, but oh well – not the first time I put the “cart before the horse” and I’m sure it won’t be the last.) There are even more connections between these and a couple more series and books (Spells, Salt, & Steel & Badlands) and you know what that means…. I get to read ALL the books. 😉
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actual rating: 3.5

I enjoyed this book but not as much as the first one. I still like the main characters and the general plot, but a lot of this book seemed to follow a bit too closely in the exact same vein as the first book. I get that there is obviously going to be a lot of similarity because they are just hunting down a different disciple every book, but it seemed like all the highlights down to Evan being kidnapped were repeated. Also, I do like that the boys are kind of creating their own found family and it's nice to have some more characters, but the more male characters you add the more obvious it becomes that literally the ONLY female character in this book with lines is a barista that Evan talks to maybe twice.
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Another sequel I was excited to get. 
Dark Rivers (sequel to Witchbane) is an action packed dark fantasy with a fabulous romance thrown in. Evan and Seth have a full believable romance, full of trust issues, ups and downs, arguments, makeups, etc. In short it isn't a sappy overdone typical romance. 
This second installation picks up shortly after the first (I guess there's a novella in there too, which I did not read) with Evan and Seth going after the next dark warlock in their quest to stop the witch-disciples murder spree.
This story adds in some more complex variations with some great supporting new characters. I'm hopeful that they will be in further installments because they added an interesting depth to the story. The only thing that I didn't really care for is me being picky and the use of the phrase "witch-disciple." I just found it super annoying and feel like there has got to be a better term, one that flows better.
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A great continuation of the first book. If you enjoyed that you will certainly enjoy this one. I do feel like there could have been more time given to fleshing out the side characters, and there were a couple of points where characters seemed to teleport from one location to the next without time to physically get there, but the issues are easily overlooked. This was definitely a bit slower paced than the previous book, with more time given to Evan and Seth's relationship, but I don't think that will be an issue for most readers.
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although not a big fan of the first book, the series premise (along w/ book 2's location) was intriguing enough for me to try book 2.  Alas, some of the issues I had with book 1 continued with book 2 -- the pace was slow and couldn't "connect" with the main characters.  I still like the premise in general -- the 2 traveling to stop the evil disciples, knowing who the next victim is and who the disciple, if not his current personna, creating a bit of mystery and suspense elements to the story.  it just took a good while things to start to come together and, in my opinion, it felt very slow, a little too much telling rather than showing perhaps.  Once it started the pace picked up so did the story, but again it felt like a few too convenient  or too lucky moments for my liking (perhaps because in part i didn't feel invested in the characters/story).  As for the main characters -- they seemed more settled & less angstey (which I appreciated), but still a lot of sex or thinking about sex or teasing about sex (i'm no prude & enjoy a sexy book, but this just seemed a little too much particularly in the beginning of the book, as if used in place or as filler till the investigative part of the story really started).  I did appreciate that the author didn't breeze over the trauma that both characters have gone through in the past (& during this book) and how that impacts their lives currently.  While there were good points to the book, overall it just fell flat for me.
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The adventure continues. Seth and Evan are a new couple in love and have never been happier considering the huge trauma both suffered .by a dark warlock and his coven of witch disciples.

Seth's brother Jesse was murdered several years ago in a revenge sacrifice that gives the chosen witch immorality and Evan was the next to be killed. Seth saved Evan and in the process they became a couple and Evan now helps Seth on his quest to destroy these monsters.

There were 12 deputies that brought the warlock to justice so to avenge his own death he bestows immortal life on the witch that kills a male descendant from the original deputies.

Evan's witch was destroyed  so only 11 more to go. This book centers on the 2 men racing the clock to to save the next male ancestor to be sacrificed. 

Action packed, fast paced and wildly believable, I highly recommend this gripping tale. Ms. Brice is now on auto buy for me. Reviews left on Amazon, Good Reads, Barnes and Nobel and Kobo.,
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Another interesting instalment of this series where Seth and Evan try to save the next victim of the curse.

Despite only having been together a couple of months their relationship seems solid after the wobbles in the previous books. They're still at it like bunnies--I guess escaping death on a regular basis will do that to you--so if you like your books with quite a few sex scenes then this is for you. If that doesn't float your boat you would lose no plot by skimming.

This story is clever in not revealing the bad guy too soon, so you don't really know which of the secondary characters to trust. I like that the guys gained some friends in this story and I'm looking forward to them working within more of a team framework in the next book.
Overall I enjoyed this story and the world created, and I'm looking forward to the next story in the series.
Themes: Supernatural. Witch-hunters. PTSD. Magic. Established couple.
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