Darkness Rising by Elissa Wilds
(Love Spell, $6.99, R) ISBN 978-0-505-52792-9
Darkness Rising is the second book in Elissa Wilds’ Hidden Circle Coven series, and while it has some light-hearted moments, it’s mostly filled with dark characters, dark humor and murky storytelling.

Mobius, a protection God from the Light Realm, is our hero—and he is perfect for the job.  Mobius is tall, red-headed and gorgeous, a God with a conscience who is duty-bound to protect those around him.  He still grieves for his last earth-bound mission - an attempt to conceive a child with a lay witch named Meri, that ended in Meri and the baby’s death.  Mobius still carries the burden of failing to protect them. 

Aurora is a very different type of girl, born half God and half human; as the Earth Balancer she’s destined to bring harmony to the world while fighting the Umbrae.  The Umbrae are dark creatures who attempt to take over the world, to rule it.  Aurora has known since birth that she is meant to do her duty, and she mostly likes it.  There are times that she resents her mission, as the only boyfriend she’s ever had was disgusted when he learned who Aurora really was, and that relationship ended.

Mobius has come to earth to protect Aurora and harmonize their energies - which turns out to be unexpectedly intimate.  While Mobius tries to resist their chemistry, Aurora encourages it, as this is the perfect opportunity for her to date someone who understands her and her mission.  Aurora doesn’t know that Mobius believes she is Meri reincarnated, and he’s all mixed up inside trying to resist his lost love while trying to protect her this time around.

Meanwhile, Aurora’s coven is threatened by an influx of Umbrae and they’ve managed to garner help.  Gods from the Light Realm are getting sick, the evil on earth is spreading-which means that the Umbrae have figured out a way to increase their power.  Mobius and Aurora must figure out what their plan is, who exactly the enemy is, and battle the evil force before they can make any decisions for themselves.

I appreciated the different types of characters in encountered in Darkness Rising.  Mobius was a powerful hero, with a rare emotional depth.  Aurora was commanding, with enough vulnerability to be likeable.

However, the coven members that were highlighted throughout the story were bland, barely making a distinct impression on this reader even with the amount of storyline they occupied.  The character of the Goddess Willow was distinctly un-likeable and unpleasant.

The “Umbrae threatening the world” plot was very far-reaching, thinly described, and conveniently shaped to fit in with the story.  I had a difficult time taking any of it seriously.  While a fantastic-type story is by nature unrealistic, I find that all of the characters have to be inspirin, and likeable, while the action story has to be streamlined and well-paced.  I found the action in Darkness Rising to be frantic and bumpy. 

WhileDarkness Rising has a couple of strong points, the hasty storyline and dull secondary characters sealed its fate as a two heart review. 

--Amy Wroblewsky

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