“Sebastian 2: Dark Times Arising” by Elizabeth Johnson

Sebastian 2: Dark Times Arising is a paranormal romance that has a lot in common with Twilight and The Vampire Diaries, but with its own unique elements. It’s the second book in a series about the tortured romance between a vampire boy who abstains from human blood and a human girl with unusually strong magical powers; when the action starts here, they have just broken off their relationship after Hanna finds out that Sebastian is responsible for the death of her birth mother–or IS he? Much is revealed about the characters’ back stories over the course of the book, and Sebastian and Hanna struggle with their contradictory feelings for each other. What sets this apart from other books of its genre is the author’s willingness to enter unusually dark territory for a romance, and the setting, which moves between such exotic locales for the genre as the North of England and Nigeria.

Although this setup had a lot of promise, the execution frequently fell flat for me. The prose style is often generic and relies more on telling rather than showing, and the plot is so crammed full of action that it rarely allows the reader space to breathe. Momentous events were revealed and resolved in the space of a single page, leaving me with a sense of “So what?” The exceptions were the scenes in Nigeria, when the text suddenly came to life, full of tension and life-like dialogue, so that I found myself wishing the action had been transplanted entirely to Africa. Now that would be a fabulous story to read!

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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