Reviewed by JenI'll give Kim Knox credit for this: Dark Dealings is definitely different. It's dark and edgy... a little disturbing and not always pleasant to read, but strangely compelling at the same time.
Ava is a thief -- though not in the traditional sense of the word. She hungers for flesh and bone, and for that, she is an anathema to the Mages who surround her. All expect for Reist. He took her in when she was just a teen. Took care of her. Made her his protege. And she fell in love with him. But the feelings were one-sided. He never looked at her as a woman. As the story begins, Reist is starting a relationship with a female mage, and Ava has had enough.
When she learns that sexual energy can feed her and fill her with magic, she makes a deal with a Heyerdar. She agrees to trade sexual encounters with the powerful elemental, and with the magic she gains, she hopes to lure Reist to her bed, while sending his new woman into Heyerdar's waiting arms. In the meantime, Ava and Heyerdar must work together to track down a band of thieves who have gone on a killing spree in the territory.
Ava was a really downtrodden heroine. It was hard to watch everyone kick her when she was down. No one gave her respect or kindness. Even Heyerdar didn't treat her well, though he sure did enjoy her body. He ordered her around and treated her like a dog. Reist used her and ignored her. And everyone else treated her like she was a contagious disease. When Heyerdar finally does come around (at the very, very end,) it just doesn't ring true. Are we supposed to believe he cared for all along? Pfft.
The imagery surrounding the depiction of the thieves was mighty gruesome. They sucked people's insides out and left a husk of skin. When Ava gets mad, she wants to rip the skin from people's bones. It's not a... comfortable read. But the world-building was unique and interesting. And even though parts of the book bothered me, I didn't ever think about putting it down. Maybe it was morbid curiosity, but I wanted to see how it would all end.
If a bit of darkness doesn't bother you and you don't mind watching the heroine take some hard knocks, you might enjoy it.
*ARC Provided by Carina Press via NetGalley
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Dark Dealingsby Kim KnoxRelease Date: November 2012Publisher: Carina Press