The Darkest Touch

The Darkest Touch - Jaci Burton The Darkest Touch”, hails a change in cover art design for Jaci Burton’s Demon Hunter Series, and I think it is beautiful and compliments the darker tone of this story perfectly. The “Realm of Light” suffers a great loss, there is a fracturing of the ranks, and the prospect of victory over the evil "Sons of Darkness", grows dim. In other words, I think "The Darkest Touch" can best be described as a transition book. In addition, Jaci Burton has penned a parallel romance plot involving twin archaeologists Angelique and Isabelle Deveraux and demon hunters Ryder and Dalton. New characters are introduced into the Demon Hunter world and others we had a snapshot of in book one and two are further developed.

At the end of “Hunting the Demon”, Angelique fled the cave in Australia with the mystical “black diamond”, a relic of great demonic power sought by the evil “Sons of Darkness”. When Ryder, demon hunter and previous special ops agent finds ‘Angie’ and the black diamond gone he feels she has betrayed him and the “Realm of Light”.

The Darkest Touch

Implementing his special ops training, Ryder uses stealth and cunning to find Angelique Deveraux and accomplish his mission to return her and the black diamond to the Realm of Light for safe keeping. Ryder traces her to Sicily, Italy where Angie has rented a little house in the country. He has the house wired and in the middle of the night she is attacked by a previously unknown type of demon that is resistant to the hunter’s traditional weaponry. Through a fluke, Ryder learns that silver is the element that will kill these demons. He rescues Angie and spirits her away to a place on the other side of the island to try and keep her safe.

What Ryder doesn’t know is that Angelique was trying to protect the relic when she took it from Australia. She was afraid all the hunters had been killed and didn’t want to leave the gem to fall into the hands of the Sons of Darkness. She has hidden it away and refuses to tell Ryder where it is unless she is reunited with her twin sister Isabelle, who is also an archaeologist. Angie has a close, “twin” relationship with her sister and feels Isabelle is the one the Sons of Darkness really want to activate the jewel.

Meanwhile, demon hunter Dalton Gabriel has located Isabelle Deveraux and ingratiated himself with her by pretending to be a multimillionaire willing to finance her search for the legendary lost city of Atlantis. Isabelle is a complex character, she battles dark thought that she doesn't understand and keeps a frightening secret she learned from the twins deceased mother’s diary. She experiences blackouts and has no recollection of what transpired during the lost time. Isabelle wants fame and riches, which is what is driving her quest to find Atlantis. While she has never "feared" anything, she has a weakness which the demons unfortunately exploit.

Dalton also battles a darkness, he is an enigmatic character, mystery literally swirls around him, by the end of the story I was itching to learn his secret. Dalton feels an animalistic, undeniable attraction for Isabelle, which results in an explosive, erotic sex scene. Then, he steals her mother's diary and loses all credibility in "Issie's" eyes. You will have to read the book to find out what happens next because their story is an arc that continues in "Touched By Sin", the fourth, soon to be released novel.

Ryder and Angelique are perfectly matched, both tormented in their own way, stubborn and driven. Their relationship evolves over the course of the novel from spontaneous “rock your socks”, encounters to a deep, passionate, love. As Ryder's love for Angelique grows, he is forced to rethink some deep seated preconceptions he has about himself.

What I have loved about the heroes and heroines in these novels is that while their relationships begin on a rocky foundation of lies and betrayal, they work through their issues resulting in a soul deep commitment. These couples are not only united emotionally but they have a common cause and connection in the war against the demons.

The dénouement of “The Darkest Touch” is absolutely thrilling when the twins are taken prisoner by the demons in a trap sprung by the demon lord and leader “Tase”. This creature is one scary dude. He exudes malevolence and heat that will singe the skin actually radiates from him. The twins, you see, are the progeny of a human mother and a demon lord father and one of them is lured into the ‘darkness’ to become the demon Queen.

The sub-plot concerning the mysterious black diamond is tied off and the source of its mystical power is very surprising.

A new character, Michael who like Louis is a ‘Keeper’ or leader of the ‘Realm of Light’ is introduced and developed, another intriguing character. We also meet ‘Mandy’, brought into the Realm of Light at a young age, she is built like an Amazon and while impulsive, is a kick ass warrior. While Mandy and Michael's interactions are initially adversarial, there is certainly something of a romantic variety kindling between these two. We also learn more about demon hunters ‘Punk’, and ‘Trace’, and well – yum… ;)

Make no mistake, this is Ryder and Angelique’s love story. However, Jaci sets the stage for an life and death battle and bittersweet climax to their story. Dalton spirits Isabelle away and runs from both the Realm of Light and the Sons of Darkness, resulting in a cliffhanger.

I found “The Darkest Touch”, to be action packed, riveting, passionate and heartbreaking; it is my favorite of the Demon Hunter stories thus far.