The Ghost and the Darkness Volume 1 (Fallocaust Series #2)
Genre: Gay Dark Romance
Tags: Dystopian, Fantasy/Paranormal, Romance, Series **Trigger Warning – Rape, Cannibalism, Torture, Brutality, Gore, Abuse, Blood Play, Drug Use,
Length: 642 Pages
Reviewer: Kazza K
Purchase At: amazon.com
SPOILERS FOR THOSE WHO HAVE NOT READ THE OTHER BOOKS.
*DO NOT READ THIS BOOK IF YOU HAVE RAPE TRIGGRS, ARE SQUEAMISH , OR DO NOT LIKE GORE AND PSYCHOLOGICALLY BRUTAL THEMES*
What was best for him? Not me, not Elish, not Skyfall…what was best for Killian.
Because it had always been about him since the day I killed his parents. I had claimed him as my own.
This book is lengthy and a lot goes on from go to whoa. I shall cover as much as I can.
The Ghost and the Darkness takes up where the cliff-hanger ending finished in Fallocaust. After the chaos that ensued in Aras, Leo and Greyson lay dead, Reno is severely injured and Killian is frantic. Of the others, Perish is his usual weird and chaotic self, Elish is cool and controlling the shots, and Jade, Elish’s husband/cicaro, is by his side. Everyone now knows that Reaver is a chimera, an immortal Dekker. More than that, he was created/engineered to be King Silas’ partner. He also may be dead right now, but he’ll be reanimated as his brothers and king always are.
The book has three primary relationships at its core – Reaver and Killian, Elish and Jade, and Garrett and Reno. Most of the people in these relationships have multiple POV, except Garrett who has one smaller, combined chapter with Elish. Elish is already well known through Breaking Jade and needs to be more enigmatic here. Ordinarily I wouldn’t be so thrilled about this many POV, but there are partners in multiple locations, different events, and intertwining arcs to be taken into consideration. It was necessary for the book to be written this way otherwise the writing and characters ran the risk of being stilted. Garrett was one of my least favourite characters, and he was predominantly objective third person which says a lot.
Leo and Greyson’s life-work and Elish Dekker’s schemes that were laid out in Fallocaust, and further in Breaking Jade, are ramping up. Post-Aras, Elish hides Reaver, Killian, Perish and Jade at his secret compound in the greyrifts. Reno has to go to Skyfall for surgery where long-dormant plans are activated. Garrett, Elish’s brother, has had a picture of Reno (for three years) along with a promise that Reno will be his, particularly after Jade has matched their auras. It is nothing to do with brotherly love, with Elish it is always about the end game – his plan to overturn King Silas. Having Reno will guarantee Garrett’s (heart-and-cock-bought) allegiance.
After recuperating, Reno does become Garret’s pet. The easy going Reno is good with this because he and Garrett have mutual loves – alcohol, as well as unlimited access to drugs, games, good food and affection in Reno-desired quantities. The trouble is, Garrett sees everything in terms of what you can buy for someone. Reno is not so complicated, he’s used to the greywastes. Garrett has a history of pets… dying, which I found unsettling. As sweet as he seems, as generous as he can be, he is also soft when he shouldn’t be and has hair-triggers (on occasion) like the rest of the Dekker family. But living in Skyfall is not all good meat, potato chip and games, there is the mandatory summons of pets to Alegria, Silas’ Skyscraper – always a psycho-sadistic affair. King Silas also has his own end game, Reno is Reaver’s best friend and Silas wants Reaver. After all, Reaver was engineered/created for him. He also wants Killian for different reasons, he stands in the way.
Reno has a mission at Garrett’s, get access to a keycard for entry to a lab in Kreig. After becoming comfortable with Garrett – and dealing with guilt over swiping the keycard – things take a nasty turn with the re-emergence of the Morosian-based terrorist group, the Crimstones, including Jade’s obsessed ex, Kerres. Reno is in the middle, and he and fellow pets and chimera brothers – Kay, Trig and Nico – are kidnapped. Kerres and the Crimstones have some vicious solidarity until things go awry, and some differences of opinion surface. Needless to say this is another very brutal part of the book. Reno is one of the most upbeat and chillaxed characters and to see him go through what he did, and thought what he did, tore at my emotions.
Meanwhile, in the compound at the greyrifts, Killian is not dealing well with the state of Reaver’s body, he has never seen a chimera reanimate, and he loves this chimera. He uses heroin more and withdraws. Jade knows that Killian’s aura is murky and dark, no longer the ray of sunshine he met briefly in Tamerlan. Jade’s been left by his husband and master, Elish, to keep things in check here. On the surface, it appears Perish – the resident mind-fuck scientist – is there to help reanimate Reaver and to look at data from Kreig. Jade and Perish bounce off each other and Perish is up to his old tricks of making a play for Killian. He is unnaturally besotted with the boy, has been since he first saw him and kidnapped him. Killian is dealing with dreams and fears that Reaver will come back different when he reanimates. Certainly the scene where Reaver wakes up is… interesting and Reaver is having dark thoughts. On top of this, he wont admit to missing his dads, Leo and Greyson, but he vacillates between being mad at them, respecting what they have done for him, to thinking of them and, in particular, what Greyson would do – his last name is Merrick, not Dekker, don’t call him that. He plans on reclaiming Aras. He may also have thoughts on raising the town to the ground first, but it’s his block and a Merrick has always run Aras. He’ll go back there with Killian and Reno after this is all over. Elish can have Skyfall, Reaver wants the greywastes.
Initially Elish flips between Skyfall and the greyrifts before setting up a mission for Jade and the others. He knows he has to gain trust, so he delivers Hollis and Redmond to Reaver for Reaver’s twentieth birthday – Hollis and Redmond were instrumental in the chaos at Aras that saw loved ones hurt and killed. If you love brutal payback violence this is one of the best scenes in the book, and one of the best post-torture/murder sex scenes.
With Reaver seemingly buoyed by his ‘birthday gift,’ Elish lets Reaver in on the fact that while he knows Reaver is the one who can kill Silas, he doesn’t know how he can do it. Apparently the data is on the computers in the Kreig lab. Reaver, Killian, Jade and Perish are to head to the lab, it’s where Reaver was a born-immortal and twenty years prior plans were set in motion, lives put on the line, and carnage occurred. Elish gives Jade some extra instructions to watch and read Perish’s aura – Jade is a chimera empath. They do get to Kreig but events soon unfurl that make them have to move on. As much as Elish schemes, Reaver is a dark chimera, a loose cannon. On top of his immortal status and enhancements, Reaver has the demeanour of a greywaster which adds a truly unpredictable element to his behaviour. After Kreig, on the road with slavers as a cover, things get messy and a lot more becomes obvious to both Reaver and Jade.
I can’t go into too much detail because it would take forever but I’ll add these observations:
Perish is a multi-layered, fractured psychopath, and he is so much more than he appears. It seems he is not a Dekker but a Fallon which, if true, adds another dynamic. The O.L.S? Did he or didn’t he get his hands on it? If not, WTF? There are some interesting happenings with Perish. I want to hate him… but I can’t, scopa or not. He is a key somehow. The lab threw up some insights on multiple characters but also doesn’t give absolute clarity.
I loved the games being played and hated them all at the same time. Elish has several irons in the fire at once. But doing that leaves you exposed if you push the wrong factions together or underestimate others. Elish is awesome, don’t get me wrong, he is as cold as ice, but I respect intelligence and that man has intelligence in spades. However, I fear some darkness is coming for him next volume. I am hoping a couple of things that occurred in Jack’s chapter and near the end of the book do not add to that darkness. I am nervous. I also think there is a hell of a showdown coming between royals and some people I love. ‘Sides,’ it’s a relative thing, isn’t it, Elish?
Jade really grew as a character. He becomes loyal to Killian, caring, protective, more selfless. Like him or not, harsh or not, Elish has influenced Jade, but he cops such flack and a rough deal at times. But I do not doubt Elish’s love for him.
Reno is just wonderful. His humour is something the book needed. He is needed more than he knows. He always thinks about others first – Reaver, Killian, Garrett, his fellow captives, and even those who hold him in atrocious conditions. He is loyal to the nth degree and constantly had what would Reaver do? moments. I hope one day he realises his full worth. I can’t stand Garrett. He better take a hike or become a decent chimera partner. Besides, I’m all for a Reaver, Killian and Reno sandwich.
I think Killian is gorgeous.I love his soft side and I love it again when he does something off-the-charts, like he did in the basement of the greyrifts compound, or his crazy crowning-glory moment in Fallocaust. I truly enjoy the fact that Quil Carter gives him anxieties and tears – guys cry – that he is gentle and small, but he can then jump on the back of a rad-scorpion with a grenade, or cut off a head unexpectedly. I wonder over the collection of chimeras he seems to be acquiring – interesting.
Nero Dekker – I want suffering rained down on him, indescribable torture, flailing of skin and bone, misery and insurmountable pain and horrors inflicted on him constantly, for all of eternity. I want Reaver to do it, and I don’t want to miss one beat of it. Oh, I need it.
Caligula. How interesting you are after what happened to your younger brother and your father.
And speaking of Reaver, he is just amazing. I can’t get enough of him. I love him being a loose cannon. The wild enhanced chimera. Chimera X. When he goes to dark places it is frenzied. When he is with Killian, he is tender, as tender as he can be. It is an inspired pairing and deeper than it seems– while I embrace the black and the blonde haired boys, the dark and the light, I feel there is more to it, but I am keeping those thoughts to myself. I simply hope that it isn’t messed with. Their relationship and love is one of the anchor points for me in this series. Reaver is now painfully and acutely aware of his immortality and Killian’s mortality. Reaver and Killian are beautiful together once again, maybe even more so here. Sex is not used often but it was right when they came together. It was written very well and thoughtfully in The Ghost and the Darkness. I am so into the obsessive-psycho-love dynamic that they share and my heart broke in the latter stages of the book. How this impacts them overall I do not know.
First of all, I advise that you read these books in order, otherwise the plot and character subtext will be lost. The Ghost and the Darkness is another excellent addition to the Fallocaust series. In a series that is known for its brutality, this book takes the prize as the most gruesome thus far. I am not kidding with any warnings. The faint of heart should not open these books. I like dark and psychological and this book has a nasty psychological edge on top of an inhuman, physically punishing dimension. But there is love too, and I adore, adore, adore Reaver and Killian and love Elish and Jade. Garrett is not good enough for Reno.
This book is still rough around the edges editing wise, I won’t gloss over that fact. I’ll also add this, you can study English lit or creative writing and it will make you a proficient technical writer, but there are plenty of technically proficient writers who are boring and languish in the wilderness of unread books. No one can teach you how to be a storyteller. The Ghost and the Darkness continues with superb characterisations, these horrifying, flawed, manipulative, cruel, aggravating, drug-addled, beautifully believable characters that sweep you along. The complex story arcs, foreboding foreshadowing, and world-building are all extraordinarily good. You can’t help give yourself over to the seductive brutality that is the greywastes or Skyfall. You cheer for, or scream at, everyone in there. You feel nauseous, you feel angry, sad, anxiety-ridden, helpless, and horrified you are capable of desiring seismic proportions of chilling payback for certain characters that seem real. I bet most readers will think at least once while reading certain scenes, ‘who the hell am I?’ Personally, I felt like A Clockwork Orange’s Alex ^ 20. This is entertainment. This is why I read. 5 Stars!
The light that only he fuelled inside of me dimmed as I whispered into his ear, “No matter what happens, I will come back. I will find my way to you. Never forget that. Never forget that, no matter what, I belong to you…and I love you. Go find Jade and Perish.” I felt his pulse start to race, and then I counted each heartbeat as they started to slow…