Dreaming In Shadow

Coming Darkness Book 2

Fiction - Fantasy - Urban
375 Pages
Reviewed on 03/31/2023
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

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.

Rabia Tanveer

Dreaming In Shadow is the second book in the Coming Darkness series by Susan-Alia Terry. The angels are finally gone, and with God already missing, the darkness and all its creatures are gleefully rising. Kai is struggling the most after his injury. While Te assures Kai he will get better slowly, the current situation is not ideal for his physical or mental health. While Kai is lost and floundering without Lucifer, Te is stuck between a rock and a hard place. He works overtime to protect the people he loves while he looks for answers to get out of this horrible mess. But with the light gone and darkness seeping into every aspect of their lives, what can Te, Kai, and everyone do to restore the balance in the world?

Susan-Alia Terry works her magic once again with Dreaming in Shadows after the success of Coming in Darkness. The sheer number of characters is a little overwhelming in the beginning, but as the story picks up pace, things fall into place, and everything makes sense and makes remembering character names easier too. I like Kai the best. He is complicated and rigid in his ways, but he is willing to change for the people he cares for, however reluctant. While Kai is rigid, Te is fluid. He drives the story forward, becomes the voice of reason and guidance for Kai, and works together with him while Te works on his issues as well. The crescendo of the story is surprising yet very satisfying at the same time. I love Kai’s dialogues and the way he acts. It all makes sense in the end, and Terry makes sure you are hooked enough to wait for the next in the series. I seriously cannot wait to see what happens next with Te, Kai, Lucifer, and others in the next one.

K.C. Finn

Dreaming In Shadow is a work in the urban fantasy, action, and thriller subgenres and forms the second installment in the Coming Darkness series. It is best suited to mature readers owing to graphic violence, explicit language, and scenes of drug use and sex. Penned by Susan-Alia Terry, this storyline continuation sees protagonist Kai ready to face the ultimate darkness after devastating injuries. However, as Te struggles to find safety for those he loves, new solutions present themselves. It won’t be easy, but the growing darkness may still have a flicker of light and hope somewhere deep within it.

Susan-Alia Terry has crafted a masterful work of urban fantasy with all the angels-and-demons atmosphere you could want and a highly emotive and intrinsically human drama at its core. This balance gives the piece credibility that keeps you rooting for the characters, even as they face some of the most unbelievably inventive dark fantasy threats I’ve read about in a long time. I enjoyed the complexity of the character development and their individual struggles, and I found myself especially drawn to Te’s storyline for its emotional hooks and tense psychological conflict. The descriptive work was also a highlight for me, seeing the urban world blend with that of hellscapes, dark powers, creatures, and shadows that usually lurk only in our nightmares. Overall, Dreaming In Shadow is a second-in-series work that packs an excellent punch, and fans of compelling dark fantasy should check out the whole series so far.

Stephanie Chapman

Dreaming in Shadow by Susan-Alia Terry is a fantasy horror tale. Kai, a warrior vampire, has called for the Rendering. The Rendering would have Kai fighting against a Kazat warrior to atone for the death he caused of one of their members. Kai’s brother, Lugan, has assumed leadership of their clan. Kai disapproves of slaves and thralls, but Lugan has discovered Kai has a slave hidden. Roberta is imprisoned in an apartment with John, who calls her his Matah, whom he must protect. Despite being a slave, Roberta longs for Kai to return to her. Lord Te has attempted to reason with Kai that he needs to heal further, but to no avail. Lord Te’s worst fears are confirmed when Jarvis calls him for an emergency meeting.

Susan-Alia Terry writes a story full of tension and inner turmoil. Kai’s mind has him remembering painful memories. I could see his struggle and his rage and love for Lucifer. Lugan hates Kai but still feels he could be a threat to his leadership and the vivid description of the events made it easy to envision. The details about every character left me picturing impressive warriors and powerful protectors. Jarvis, while at moments being extremely serious, felt like he was there to bring some light humor to the story. Picturing a vampire twirling hairpins while he smokes made me laugh. The human qualities of several characters and their motivations were clear. Despite being the second book in a series, Dreaming in Shadow can be enjoyed as a standalone story and leaves a large opening for a sequel that I look forward to reading.

Asher Syed

Dreaming In Shadow by Susan-Alia Terry is a dark fantasy LGBTQ+ novel that follows two brothers, Kai and Lugan, whose connection is greater than the blood they do not share, having both been raised from the living, under the fathership of Aram. In this second book of the Coming Darkness series, the first being of the same name, tragedy strikes as a result of Lugan's insolence. Kai, lover of the one and only Lucifer, cannot forgive him, but he cannot kill him either. The novel shifts back and forth between multiple point-of-view characters and Terry's variant species of beings, providing an 'all roads lead to' build-up and a showdown that may prove that no matter how strained, how pained, how heartbroken, or how horrible any combination of a father to son to brother to lover to enemy to friend may be, sometimes it really is better to be plagued by the enemy you know than well and truly plagued by those you do not. “They could hate each other from a distance, but when it came right down to it … His family would always be complicated.”

Dreaming In Shadow by Susan-Alia Terry took me a minute to get into because, in the interests of full disclosure, I started the series here, with book two. There are a lot of moving parts and one of the largest, most diverse cast of point-of-view characters I have come across, but Terry's pen is sharp and once the hellfire gets rolling, the novel is impossible to put down. I loved the originality of Lucifer being displayed in pristine silver and white with delicious allure, Kai's struggle to come to terms with emotional wounds made worse by true physical degradation, and the brilliant sass of Delia with a tongue so sharp that even her Jimmy Choos can't compete. As a man of color, it's impossible for me not to acknowledge that, while they are no longer or ever were human, the representation of men of color in a fantasy that I can associate with on multiple levels is significant. Very highly recommended.