Oblivion Heart (Darkling Mage #4), Nazri Noor
Rating: 4 Stars
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Tags: Magic, Paranormal – Vampire, Werewolves, Other. Mythology, YA+, Series
Length: 181 Pages
Purchase At: amazon.com
Dustin Graves goes on a rare night out with the boys from the Boneyard, but things go horribly wrong. Over a hundred revelers drop dead at a pop diva’s concert, bleeding from their eyes and their ears. Miraculously, Dustin and his undead associates survive.
But the troubles have just begun. Soon Dust is dealing with a bloodthirsty imp, a grizzled Scion, and a strange man covered in even stranger tattoos. Then Mammon, the demon prince of greed, comes knocking, eager to collect on Dustin’s end of the bargain…
If you like snarky heroes, snappy dialogue, and a bit of grit and gore, you’ll love the fourth book in Nazri Noor’s series of urban fantasy novels. Explore the Darkling Mage universe and discover Oblivion Heart today.
After a pretty full schedule for the boys of the Boneyard of late, Sterling’s love of Mona, a bubblegum pop princess, has their boss, Carver, telling them to have a night out at her concert in Valero. While Sterling’s choice of music fandom shocks Dustin, Sterling is a vampire in black leather with attitude, Dustin and Asher join him for the concert.
I looked over at Sterling, who was pumping his fists, accurately singing every lyric right back to Mona, and actually crying. Like, full tears, streaming down his face. I realized then that I hadn’t had so much fun in ages.
Dustin finds himself sucked in by Mona’s music as well, but wherever they go some mayhem’s going to happen. Honestly, Valero is like Eerie, Indiana, “the centre of weirdness for the universe,” and when Mona hits the high notes and the stage and her eyes turn silver, bleeding from the human fan’s ears and orifices is not a happy ending. But why would Mona kill her own fans? Is she a mage? If so, why didn’t Sterling know? Of course the Lorica turns up to investigate and take action, the Veil has to be protected at all costs and this is an epic flag for them. There are new faces at the Lorica, like Royce, a Scion – a powerful magical multi-tasker – who’s also a power-tripping a-hole and is less than pleasant or caring from the moment he meets Dustin after the deadly concert.
Dustin makes some new and unusual friends in Oblivion Heart, including Scrimshaw, a little imp (demon) who’s partial to some fries… and a dram of blood. He can’t be seen by humans. and it makes for a couple of interesting ‘is he okay?‘ conversations when Scrimshaw pops up and Dustin appears to be talking to himself. But that’s nothing new as Vanitas is an enchanted and telepathic sword that only Dustin can hear, a sentient instrument who is very loyal. Vanitas has his heroic moments but also seems to have been upgraded with a newer, gleeful menace about him courtesy of a demon’s do-over. There’s also Sam, the tattooed…. supernatural who happens to turn up where Dustin is, in libraries or at the Black Market, a new place Dustin discovers when he’s searching for the Tome of Annihilation.
Mammon, the Prince of Greed, also reappears. He’s come to call in his favour from Dustin for helping restore Vanitas. He wants the Tome as payment, not so easy as it’s flighty and doesn’t stay in any one place for any length of time. Mammon may want Dustin to retrieve it but it’s already on the hit list of a few other powerful parties. But Mammon adds a whole new dimension to what happens if Dustin doesn’t succeed on Mammon’s behalf –
The bottle shattered, its fragments clinking to the marble floor. I held my breath.
“Or you forfeit your soul.”
Then there’s the mysterious silver light and malevolent voice threatening humans with ‘the culling’ which is not something the human race wants happening.
A shout out to the Esthers. It’s a long story, the short version is the name and the implication equals a fond memory for me.
A lot of the regular characters take a backseat in this addition and I missed Sterling, and Sterling and Dustin’s bicker-banter.
Dustin is developing his special powers further. His shadowstepping is more readily accessible and considered. The Dark Room is getting more powerful, his fire skill set is coming along nicely… but his scar? His heart? They potentially hold a lot of dark, powerful secrets.
This book is slightly darker once again than the previous books. Dustin’s entry into the arcane underground was murderous and the being who brought him through represents the darker side of this world. Having said that, there is also the familiar series humour, and the group camaraderie and necessary connection between the Boneyard and certain people in the Lorica is deepening further. I was so glad of the direction that Bastion’s character took in this book – even if it was via something pretty epic.
The three Sisters didn’t work for me, the other entities thus far have been far more interesting and far more important to the overall story than the Sisters were. Maybe there’s something more in relation to them later, they are the Fates, but I can only go off this book. There’s also quite a bit of cameo catch-up. I guess it’s working on a reminder of characters for readers, or maybe a reader drops in at book #4, I do get it, but in a 188 page book it does slow the flow down.
In the End:
Although Oblivion Heart is book #4 this is the 5th book I’ve read in the Darkling Mage series – I started at Penumbra, the prequel, which is a freebie at the author’s site. I’m still enjoying the series a great deal. There’s always plenty of well paced action, and the world building continues to grow in every book, and not at ridiculous levels. It’s not always easy for me to find UF series that are well written, well edited, and don’t have at least some romance in the background – and this doesn’t – that are riveting, with characters I have an emotional investment in. and this series ticks all the boxes every time, it’s why I keep coming back. 4 Stars.
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