Book Club: Dark Kiss by Michelle Rowen

Samantha Day is your average teenage girl, but after an unexpected kiss from school heart-throb Stephen Keys, Samantha knows something is very wrong. She’s constantly hungry and boys that never noticed her before start to look at her differently. But more worryingly, when any of these boys get close to her she has the almost compulsive need to kiss them, to devour them whole. Stephen had told her the kiss would change her life, but Samantha wasn’t prepared for how literal he was – or what happened next.

I really enjoyed this book. It kept me on my toes because you see the story through Samantha’s eyes, so the reader finds out information as she does. Because of that it kept you interested because she isn’t given any warning about what she has now become, and has to go in search for answers and piece things together. So for example, when she first meets Bishop and he calls her a ‘Gray’ and tries to kill her, it comes as a shock because at this point Samantha – and the reader – have no idea what a ‘Gray’ is or why he threatens her, so it’s a shock to the reader as well as to the character.

After her kiss with Stephen, Samantha is left edgy and confused about what seems to be happening to her; food does nothing to sate her hunger but she manages to restrain from her new found compulsion to kiss any guy that gets within touching distance of her. She also keeps having disturbing dreams – or we later find out visions of a possible future.

Then Samantha meets Bishop, a seemingly troubled guy from the street whose intense blue eyes seem to see right through her. And she decides to help him. Though little does she know Bishop is anything but normal. He calls her a ‘Gray’, she has no idea what that means and after seeking Stephen out for answers she finds out that he took her soul when they kissed. He confirms that she is now a Gray, a being that hungers for human souls and feeds off of them through the kiss. Though despite what she is, and after their rather shaky start, Bishop needs Sam’s help. There are three more on his team and he has only a certain amount of time to find them before they are lost to him forever, and Sam is the only one who can help him do that. Through the time they spend together Sam searches for answers, and discovers that Bishop is actually part of a team of angels and demons who were sent to earth to help restore the balance that the gray’s threaten.

But Bishop also recognises that Sam is “special” – she isn’t like the other gray’s, she still has her humanity and is able to resist feeding – and he vows to keep her safe and help restore her soul. As the two develop a relationship, Sam figures out that it isn’t just the hunger that’s drawing her to Bishop because she can control it. It’s something else. Things become increasingly complicated and Sam is torn as to what to do and who to trust, it had only been a week since her world changed irrevocably and now she finds herself in the middle of a war, and she can’t tell which side is good and which is evil.

Along the way Sam also discovers things about herself that she never knew, and just how close to home the source of her new found problems is. She also now has capabilities she never knew she had. Her gifts come as a surprise not only to her, but to Bishop, and she discovers that she is special, she isn’t just your average gray. She is something else entirely.

I was really hooked by this story, and like I said, it kept me on my toes because, you find everything out in bits in pieces like Samantha does, so I did share her confusion at first, which made me want to read on and find out more because I didn’t necessarily know what was going to happen. Because of that and the curveballs that meant you kept discovering new things, it really did keep me guessing right up until the very end. The final showdown contained some good action and some really great suspense, and as soon as I finished it I was eager to read the next book in the series – so you can imagine my frustration when I saw that it doesn’t come out until February 2013.

But I can’t wait to read the next book to see how the story progresses; Will Samantha and Bishop will ever find a way to be together? What will they come up against now that they’ve eliminated the source of the gray’s? because they sure as hell won’t go quietly. And will they fail or succeed in their mission. I guess we’ll find out…

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