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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
Susan-Alia Terry returns to the Coming Darkness series with book two, Dreaming in Shadow. Terry introduces readers to a new type of creature amongst the numerous diasporas represented in the series, which include but are by no means limited to vampires, werewolves, satyrs, angels, and archangels, and a top-down caste-style system extending from gods to slaves. How Kai and Lugan became sons of Aram and what led to it are explored, and Kai's all-consuming love for Lucifer aside from the comfort offered by Te is central. Trauma runs rampant and the why behind mortals who chose to bargain their souls leads to a reader's understanding that it is less of a choice than a desperate reprieve. Also running rampant is a virus and an emerging, unexpected threat that requires putting aside long-standing feuds and banding together with enemies to survive. Like Kai, whose jumbled tattoo markings make no sense to him in the beginning, it all makes sense in the end: The Light is gone. Darkness comes.
The mark of a skilled author is when they can make the thing we have been told forever is the most sinister, horrible destroyer since the beginning of time desirable. Susan-Alia Terry achieves this in Dreaming in Shadow. “It was easy when it was just the two of them, to forget about what he meant to the world at large.” The prose and dialogue are at the highest level of polish, in contrast to the work of many other famed and revered genre authors who have come before. Also placing the series in a league of its own is the same-gender romance and sizzle that accompany it. These partnerships are overwhelmingly male and are remarkably well developed where even the female readership who would not normally be drawn in most definitely is. Myself included. For me, I can say it is the fact that Terry establishes heartfelt relationships beyond the physical, themes that balance alpha-beta situations and illustrate all forms of love, including familial. I sincerely hope this series achieves the public recognition it deserves as it would be a real shame for the world of dark fantasy lovers to miss.