Series: Heart of Darkness #2
on September 4th 2018
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“I love the peculiar silence of shadows. They exist, but leave no mark.”
Zeph had been a child, thrust into a war that wasn’t his. When he was older, he discovered he had landed on the wrong side of everything.
He’d been fighting for sweet revenge, because of lies he’d believed—and those lies proved to be his ruin. Falling into despair, Zeph decides living is too painful. So, he writes his final act with poison and chooses to end his story.
But Fate has other plans for Zeph and when he finds himself in the hands of his enemies, he has to decide: Does he want to live? Or does he want to die?
Or maybe that choice is no longer his to make.
Ruled by shadows and armed with secrets he never intended to share, Zeph will be put through his toughest battle yet: the war within himself.
“He isn’t a lost cause. He’s just—lost.”
That’s what Arwyn believes. She sees the monster he has become, but what she also sees is someone worth fighting for. Armed with secrets of her own, she’s determined to help Zeph fight his demons, because there was more on the line than Zeph’s soul. So much more.
Revenge may be sweet. But redemption is sweeter. The question is, can Zeph find the boy he used to be, or will he always believe that no one could ever love—a monster like him.
“You are everything good. And I am everything children are afraid of.”
**CAUTION**Contains a brief descriptive scene of childhood rape.
A MONSTER LIKE ME
by Pamela Sparkman
Pamela Sparkman’s writing is like a song. Lyrical, melodic, colorful, descriptive, eloquent. And when she puts that in a fantasy story you bet it’s phenomenal. A MONSTER LIKE ME is the second in the Heart of Darkness series and if you haven’t read The Moon Shines Red you definitely should do that before diving into this one.
A Monster Like Me starts where we left Zeph, Elin, Arwyn and Lochlan. As I dug deeper into Zeph’s story understanding for his antagonistic, aggressive behavior came to me. I didn’t want to love him, the things he did, how he treated pretty much every one around him, I couldn’t see how I would ever forgive him. But then I found out what a tragic character he really is, that no punishment somebody else could deal was nearly as bad as the one he inflicted on himself. Zeph didn’t feel worthy of anything good.
Everything he was feeling, he was setting it free, letting it out, and all his hurt and pain, anger and guilt, fear and sadness, they felt like a whip and a lash against her skin. But she took it. She took it all. Because he had carried it inside him for so long— and it was killing him.
Healing a broken soul like that takes a special person and Arwyn definitely is that. She’s tenacious, thoughtful, compassionate, fiercely loyal and deeply in love with Zeph. She was the constant in his life, his rock and the balm that soothed his soul.
“You know my heartbeats?”
“Sometimes,” she said, “I don’t know if they are yours or mine.”
But it’s also Elin’s forgiving heart and the budding friendship between Zeph, Searly, Lochlan and Favian that gives this tortured man peace. I loved their friendship so much – these scenes gave me some much needed comic relief when emotions had been running rampant. This group of people made him see that he wasn’t beyond saving and that he deserved happiness. Every time one of them managed to weaken Zeph’s grip on his guilt it felt like a reward.
Don’t expect that the romance between Arwyn and Zeph will be on the forefront of the story. While it is undeniably romantic and beautiful, it’s Zeph’s path to redemption, his own forgiveness you will be routing for. Maybe because despite Zeph’s struggles to accept love, theirs was inevitable.
“Thank you,” he said.
“For loving me when I was so unlovable.”
“Thank you,” she said breathlessly.
“For not giving up.”
“You wouldn’t let me.”
Scattered throughout the story there are action scenes that will leave you breathless.
The Moon Shines Red and A Monster Like me are fantasy at its finest. These books will wrap you in a magical and wondrous world full of adventure. The characters will break your heart and you will root for every single one of them. With her narrative Pamela Sparkman makes sure of that – she gives us fully fleshed out side characters. To say goodbye to them all is my own struggle because they have taken up a little space in my heart. I hope the author keeps writing fantasy in the future – she definitely has a talent for it.
You are neither man, nor monster, my friend. You are the magic that makes everything else shine.