Keystone by Dannika Dark
Disclaimer: I won this book from a Goodreads giveaway, and was sent a free copy by the author. The review below is my honest opinion.
I was pretty excited for this book. Not just because I won it in a giveaway and that’s always fun, but also because it sounded really interesting. In the end though, it wasn’t quite for me.
Our main character is Raven Black. She’s half Vampire and half Mage, and hunts evildoers for fun. She lives on the streets and doesn’t really have a lot going for her, that is until she is offered a job by Viktor, a Shifter who runs a covert organization that hunts outlaws.
She is invited into the organization on a trial basis, so she can prove that she has what it takes to be there. The difficulty comes when she discovers that her partner will be Christian Poe – a Vampire with an arrogant attitude – and despite being half Vampire herself, she hates that Breed.
“I imagined myself as a dark queen, vanquishing all the evils from the city.”
The first part of this book started out great! I was curious about this world of Breeds that the author had created, and was excited to see how Raven and Christian would get along (or not). The story seemed to be developing nicely, and for the most part, I believed Raven’s actions as she went from being on her own to having to live with a random group of Breeds.
“Any high place made it feel as though all the miseries of life were beneath me and the heavens were in reach.”
After the first part though, everything seemed to change. Even the writing style felt different.
Raven and Christian are supposed to hate each other, but they are still attracted to each other. However, there was no chemistry. It was not believable, and honestly, their dialogues were super awkward. I was literally cringing at times. There is also a sex scene – not between Raven and Christian – that I felt did not need to be in the book at all. Everything about it was awkward and creepy… really creepy.
“You’re not a knight in shining armor; you’re someone’s confession.”
We were also told a lot without being shown much. There were long paragraphs about minor details that really didn’t matter, and then teeny droplets of information when something big happens. I was super excited to learn about what Raven’s powers would be like given that she is a Crossbreed, but we didn’t really learn much. We are told enough about it, but there was no emotional connection to show us how it felt.
I am also getting kind of tired of the whole “oh, the bad boy hates me, but he is so attractive, so maybe I like him, but he treats me like sh*t and wants to get rid of me, so of course I want to make out with him” story. This is really not healthy.
One more time for the folks in the back: this is NOT healthy!
Overall, I was enjoying the first part of the book, but it took a turn that I did not like. I didn’t feel the chemistry between Raven and Christian; I found their “flirting” to be awkward (and not in a cute way); and I did not appreciate the “I’m the bad boy, so I get to treat you terribly” aspect.
“Clouds don’t make stars disappear; they only hide the brilliance of their light.”
I will say that I liked the idea of the team of different Breeds coming together to hunt outlaws. There were also some interesting secondary characters that I would have liked to get to know more. I know the romance was supposed to be a big part of the story, but I would have liked to see the other relationships develop more – maybe he treats her terribly and she doesn’t tolerate it, and instead develops great friendships with the others in the group?
Hands down, the best part of the book:
“Why do you call me precious?”
“You don’t read much, do you? The idea came to me when you were trying to steal my onion rings. There’s an interesting book about a shiny little ring that drives men mad.”
Triggers/warnings: violence, torture, sexually explicit scenes, assault/attempted rape.
Have you read Keystone? What did you think?