‘Til Darkness Falls

Title: ‘Til Darkness Falls
Author: Pearl Love
Publisher: DSP
Buy link: Amazon.com (Second Edition)
Genre: Paranormal M/M
Length: Novel (341  PDF pages)
Rating: 3.75 stars out of 5

Review Summary: Ancient magic, deeply emotional sex and several complicated plotlines come together in this highly ambitious story featuring the most unlikely pair of lovers: a hitman and a cop.


THE BLURB

A malicious deception… An ancient curse… A timeless love…

Brian Macon is a worn-out homicide detective whose job and life hold no meaning until he meets a gorgeous German man who turns his world upside down. Alrick Ritter has a poet’s soul, a master cellist’s skill, and a sniper’s deadly accuracy, and though constrained by sinister forces to be a killer-for-hire, Alrick wants nothing more than to be with Brian. Helpless to resist the call of their hearts, Brian and Alrick begin a cautious affair, keeping secret the reality that places them on opposite sides of the law. But an ancient danger threatens to destroy their love.

Three thousand years ago in the burning sands of ancient Egypt, Prince Rahotep and his devoted slave, Tiye, were robbed of their lives, betrayed by a powerful woman’s mad hatred and the cruel humor of an evil god. Now, destiny has reunited the lovers, joining them in an unquenchable passion even as a twist of fate casts them as potential enemies. Will Brian and Alrick be able to overcome the centuries-old curse to secure the love that should have always been theirs?

THE REVIEW

Ancient Egypt, about 1000 years before our time. Prince Rahotep and his slave Tiye love each other deeply, their union favored by Fate itself. But Rahotep’s intended bride Hebeny feels cheated of her rightful position of power by Rahotep’s side and in his bed. Out of jealousy and hurt pride, she magics up Set, the wicked ruler of the Egyptian underworld. With his help, she manages to turn Rahotep and Tiye against each other. But Set’s curse dooms Hebeny to repeat her scheme again and again as she follows the lovers through centuries of reincarnation, for if she fails to turn their love to hate, Hebeny’s own soul is forfeit.

Three thousand years later in an unnamed contemporary North American city. Brian Macon, burnt-out, shy, introverted homicide detective is having a drink at a gay bar when a beautiful blond man with an enticingly exotic accent hits on him. Brian is immediately drawn to the stranger who he later learns is a German writer, and the attraction is mutual. The men land in bed together before they even get to exchange names. Soon their passionate affair turns into much more. But Alrick Ritter isn’t only a man who loves Beethoven and used to play the cello until a tragic accident robbed him of this pleasure. He’s also a hitman and the very sniper Brian is currently hunting. Hebeny, following her ancient curse, has once again set the fated lovers onto the high road to perdition. But as she leans back to gleefully watch the show, something starts to go wrong. It seems that in this incarnation, Brian’s and Alrick’s love will finally overcome Hebeny’s eternal hate.

This book was awfully hard to rate for me.

On the one hand, the plot idea was fascinating. Fated lovers, meeting and falling in love again and again in every reincarnation, doomed to have their love turned into murderous hate every single time…what a wonderful, tragical drama! Both the contemporary and the historical plot line were well done, with sizzling eroticism and true, heartbreaking emotions. Brian Macon was a well rounded, haunted character, his partner Angela a motherly enforcer everybody would love to know, and his captain a wonderfully malicious bitch. The bad boys were your old-school mafia stereotypes, so exaggerated I think they were intentional, and the supportive cast were just as colorful.
Rahotep and Tiye were less well elaborated, but nevertheless likeable characters, Hebeny was acting just the spoiled, ambitious, arrogant teenage girl she was supposed to be, and Set was deliciously mischievous, just like the ancient legends picture the evil god.

The writing has its flaws, though. Both Alrick’s and Brian’s back stories are told several times, first by the author during the narrative. Later Brian tells his story to Angela in his own words, and Alrick’s story is revealed to Brian by Alrick’s sister, and once again when Brian tells Angela about Alrick. It’s the same spiel with Tiye’s and Rahotep’s story which is repeated at least three times, at wearisome length and with barely any variations. A little more concise would have done the story flow a lot of good. Also, neither the depiction of the mafia baddies  nor the police procedure were overly realistic. As a matter of fact, since this story wasn’t really about the mystery but more about the romance, this didn’t carry a lot of weight.

When it comes to action, either fights or emotions or sex, there’s nothing to bitch about, though. Those scenes are fast-paced and powerfully written. Even though some sex scenes come across as gratuitous, they’re all particularly beautiful and deeply emotional.
Considering the multitude of complicated plot lines, these were surprisingly smoothly woven together with just the tiniest inconsistencies regarding former and present incarnations by the end.

The main reason why I found this hard to rate was the fact that I’m German. I was enticed when I saw one of the main characters was my nationality, and it amused me greatly that Brian thought Alrick’s German accent erotic. The story is peppered with background info about East/ West Germany and untranslated German words and phrases. And this is where my but comes in. With a capital B.
Alrick’s German is awful, plain and simple. Most of the time he uses outdated or completely inappropriate words and has no command of grammar. This makes him sound uneducated, even stupid although he clearly is supposed to be anything but. His sister is just as bad. I won’t harp on about Alrick’s backstory, there are some facts which aren’t quite right, but forgiveable since this is fiction, after all. But why, if Alrick being a German is so very important, not have the book proofread by a German native speaker? Those mistakes thoroughly marred Alrick’s character for me, to a point I found him annoying and couldn’t enjoy the story anymore. Yet, someone who doesn’t speak German probably wouldn’t notice anything at all, thus I couldn’t let this influence my rating.

Overall a good story with a fascinating plot. I’d recommend this book for fantasy – fans and romantics who don’t mind a bit of repetitive telling.

‘Till Darkness Falls is part of DSP’s Bittersweet Dreams Series which features m/m romance stories with untraditional endings.

Author

Aside from owls, I love all kinds of birds, particularly the odd ones. Also dogs, Queen (the band), motorbikes and books.

11 comments

  • Thank you for the review, after reading it I decided to have a go with the book and I have to say I enjoyed it.
    However I wanted to point out that I´m with you with the language problem. No that I understand German (and my English is far from perfect) but I have come acoss the same problem with Spanish more often that I would have wanted and it´s just disappointing in a book that I´m overall enjoying.
    Is it that difficult for editors to get some native to check it or get help from a beta reader (being Google and other sites useless)?
    Wave, I think that your offer to post on this site requests from authors for non English speaking beta readers is really good. Wish it will be taken in consideration. I know sometimes it´s only a few words and that most of the readers don´t understand them anyway but still, it would be great if they were the right ones.

    Reply
  • Feliz, thank you again for your thoughtful review. I greatly and sincerely appreciate the feedback, and I’m glad you enjoyed the book!

    Pearl Love

    Reply
  • Feliz
    I thought this was an excellent debut review. You captured the essence of the story without giving away spoilers. The repetition would have been horrible if I had to read the book.

    The butchered German would have totally ruined the book for me if I were German. Why would authors not advertise for beta readers in another language when they don’t speak it? I have offered to post on this site requests from authors for non English speaking beta readers, but so far only one author has taken me up on it, for someone to look over a manuscript that needed a bit of French translation.

    Great job Feliz.

    Reply
  • Brava Feliz! Well done. I thought this book looked interesting too. I liked the plot line of lovers doomed to repeatedly find and lose each other over and over again. It’s a shame that the poor German grammar ruined it for you. I only know a few words from my grandmother, so I wouldn’t have caught it. But the repetitious telling of their stories would have bothered to me.

    Reply
    • Thanks TJ!
      Far as I know, this ws the author’s debut novel, and the plot was really complicated. I can fathom how hard it was to keep all that straight. The story is still worth reading, trust me!

      Reply
  • Ooooh, Felix, your debut review! This is such a well-done review, very detailed and analytical. This is all valuable feedback for author and readers.

    The repetition of the backstory would bother me a lot, but I like that you said the action scenes and sex scenes are so engaging. The reincarnation subplot does sound interesting.

    amused me greatly that Brian thought Alrick’s German accent erotic.

    Ha, ha! I’m hearing an Arnold Schwarzenegger accent, as in the Terminator movies. Erotic? Maybe under the right circumstances. 😀

    The mistakes in the German language? OMG, I feel for the author. That’s going to be me someday with Spanish or French or something like that. I love multicultural stories even though I’m not bilingual and I barely even speak English correctly. 😉

    You’re right that most of us English speaking readers may not have any idea what the German phrases mean so we’ll be okay with the story. But I can see how it would be terribly distracting to a German speaker and create the wrong impression about the character.

    You’re right. The only way to be safe is for an author to get a native speaker of the language as a beta reader first. Babel Fish or Google Translation isn’t good enough. I once ran across a blog written by a professional translator of Mexican Spanish that was devoted to mocking the Spanish translations that Babel Fish came up with! I don’t trust Babel Fish anymore.

    Reply
    • Val,

      considering what I’m trying to do, I thought very hard about bringing up the languages issue. After all, I didn’t want to come across as a wisenheimer (I LOVE that word). In the end, i had to mention it, though, it bothered me too much. I’m sure someone else wo don’t have that issue will enjoy the story more than I did.
      offtopic: Babel Fish – forget it! It is like those instruction manuals for electronic devices of some outerworldly origin. You know it’s supposed to be your language, but you simply don’t know what it says.

      Reply

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