Blood Pact (Darkling Mage #7), Nazri Noor
Rating: 5 Stars
Publisher: Self Published
Tags: Magic, Mythology, Paranormal, Gay MC, Action, Horror, Humour
Length: 276 Pages
Purchase At: amazon
Everyone is red on the inside.
The destruction of the Dark Room has locked away the Eldest forever… or so it seems. The Boneyard discovers a bloodthirsty cult desperate to bring back the Old Ones, and Dustin Graves rescues the strangest of sacrifices: a Welsh corgi.
Gods of legend covet the magical canine, and the Lorica gives chase, believing that Dustin’s heart still beats with the blood of shadows. But a second secret runs in his veins… a crimson contract, a pact sealed in blood, one that will draw terrifying enemies right to his doorstep.
If you like snarky heroes, snappy dialogue, and a bit of grit and gore, you’ll love the seventh book in Nazri Noor’s series of urban fantasy novels. Explore the Darkling Mage universe and discover Blood Pact today.
Book #7 in the Darkling Mage Series is the best book of the series so far. I did miss Asher, he’s young and Sterling, in particular, likes to keep him away from places he shouldn’t be. Mind you, he’s one hell of a necromancer but his skill set wasn’t needed as much this time. I mention Asher because he’s grown on me tenfold since they rescued him from the Viridian Dawn cult. I also mention it because he took a few books to grow on me and now I think Asher is one of the best characters. That’s pretty much the way things have progressed throughout. I might not have liked some of the characters initially, or they were meh, and then they were fleshed out and matured or grew over the series. Voila! I’m totally engaged and waiting for who and what comes next. It’s excellent writing to keep it fresh and the reader invested over multiple books.
The action and troubles are on from the start in Blood Pact, especially after the boys are invited to Delilah and Marybeth Ramsey’s mansion for a social soiree. Everyone is dressed to the nines as Dustin turns up, well, like Dustin and in a dented rideshare while there are chauffeur-driven limousines everywhere.
Yes indeed, that’s our Dustin.
Needless to say, the society event ends in a bloody mess. Nothing good comes from Dustin ever going out. I swear he’s the Jessica Fletcher of the arcane and supernatural world – don’t invite him unless you want a murder – or thirty – to be solved. A lot of dead people happen at the Ramsey’s and the one thing unusual left standing is a Welsh Corgi. He’s quickly taken in by the boys of the Boneyard and named Banjo. Because, why not? The hunt is then on to find out who owns him.
Pretty soon there are demons after Dustin. Mammon, Prince of Greed, wants Banjo, of course Mammon does, they like the unusual and the deadly, and Banjo seems to fit both perfectly. What Mammon wants Mammon usually gets, scarily enough for Dustin and the Boneyard as Mammon breeches walls and wards they shouldn’t. These boys have grown attached to Banjo. Especially Carver, and that is quite the surprise. Carver is enigmatic and aloof. He teaches and cajoles arcane powers but that’s where it ends… until Banjo.
There’s also a fancy feast that needs to be organised to gain information, the Lorica have a new and annoying Hound, and one of my favourite vampires, Sterling, gets to bask in the sunlight’s glow. He’s also great comic relief. To know leather wearing, cigarette smoking, irreverent and undead Sterling is to love him, and I’ve officially claimed him.
“If only someone kind and generous with an excellent circulation system would offer their magical blood to expedite my healing I would – ”
“No,” I said coldly. “And there are far sexier, more convincing ways to phrase that. Seriously.”
“Fine,” he muttered. “I’ll pay you.”
“You’re the worst.”
The pacing of the action, humour, horror and gore are perfectly written in series book #7. The characters are getting some more backstory or a bit more time to grow on you, personalities are popping, and Nazri Noor utilises the right people for the job. Some secondary characters return, and a, kind of, new-not-so-new character made me happy dance. Add one more guy to the Boneyard ‘sausage fest’, as Mason so indelicately puts it. But he also has a point. There are powerful women throughout the series but they tend to be entities/gods, like personal favourite, Arachne, or antagonists, like Thea. Some who fit in grey areas, Artemis, Hecate. Lorica stalwart Prudence has been absent with her aunt, Madame Chien, for a couple of books. Romira only drops in on an as needed basis. Mama Rosa is an important motherly figure, but, boy, don’t push her, however she is still a secondary figure. I guess I’m saying I’d like to see a more regular and prominent female character among the guys.
Arcane drag queens Metric and Imperial Fuck-Ton return in scintillating fashion and kick some arse while also looking sickening. I want their pink x-ray vision glasses, for totally shameful reasons, that matched their nails.
Dustin has lost his use of the Dark Room and shadow because of its connection to the Eldest and it makes him question his status as a mage. Although fire is something he’s getting better at wielding all the time, the dark still calls to him and he misses it. It’s not something he’s willing to discuss for fear of his friend’s concern he is truly dark, for the Heart destroying him, but will it be his and the world’s undoing?
Dustin and Herald are a couple now, fire and ice, and while I find the chemistry a little awkward, I remind myself this is first and foremost an UF series. Still, I trust in the author and know this pair will gel given some more time. Let’s face it, most new relationships need time to get comfortable. I also applaud the series diversity, and it isn’t just about an MC who is gay in a mainstream UF series, it’s also cultures being represented well. The food alone remains unbelievable. I want to eat at Mama Rosa’s restaurant, and often.
If you’re looking for a quality urban fantasy series to get involved in, because of the standard of the writing, because of the characters, and because of the contemporary world it’s set in, one you believe could easily and carefully co-exist within our non-arcane one, you should definitely check out the Darkling Mage series. Based on new characters and plot, it seems there is much more to come for readers to sink their teeth into.
I’m looking forward to the next book in the series because I need my fix of these characters, this world, and the place I’ve willingly carved out in amongst it all. 5 Stars all the way.
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