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Review: Dark Vow by Shona Husk

Dark Vow by Shona Husk
Fantasy Romance, Western, Magic
Ebook $4.99 (CARINA PRESS)
(Releases: November 14th, 2011)
Jaines Cord plans to kill the man who murdered her husband, even though killing a Bounty Hunter is said to be impossible. One bullet took away her livelihood, her home and her love. One bullet made by her. Fired from the gun she completed for the Arcane Bounty Hunter.
Obsidian wears the scars of disobeying the powerful Arcane Union. He barely escaped with his life and now lives quietly, in a town the lawmen forgot. When Jaines arrives asking too many questions, he's faced with a decision. Help her or run…again. Obsidian knows that if he flees he'll always be looking over his shoulder. His name is one of the first on the Bounty Hunter's death list.
Yet when Obsidian is offered an opportunity to stop the stone taking over his body in exchange for retrieving the gun, he asks Jaines for her help. Now Jaines must choose: a dead man's vengeance or a living man's hope?

Author Site: shonahusk.com

Might be my favorite romance of the year! (5 stars)

Her husband always told her not to work for the Arcane and Jaines Cord should have listened. But how could she refuse to work for the Arcane Bounty Hunter who came looking for a skilled smith? A single bullet fired from the very gun she completed for him took her husband and now she's set on making him accountable. An impossible task that will change her life if the Bounty Hunter doesn't kill her too.

When Jaines finds herself stranded in a backwater town in need of someone who can track the Bounty Hunter she meets Obsidian, a man cursed with a stone hand as a result of crossing the Arcane Union. His secrets run as deep as his scars but he's willing to help Jaines to save his own skin. Their winding path and the dangerous journey will force Jaines to know the truth about the world of the Arcane, the man she is trying to avenge, and the ability to love again.

Few authors can pull threads from several genres and weave them together as deftly as Shona Husk has done in DARK VOW. While set in a world that feels like the old west, a social system of sorts divides the people by the Lord they follow. The Hunter. The Smith. The Brewer. The Mason and so on and so forth. Only one possesses magic and those who fall into that class are ruthless, feared, and with good reason. The Arcane have done things that have damaged the world and have dark secrets few outside their ranks know. Through the entire story the feeling of tension was palpable in every page.

Jaines and Obsidian are amazing characters. Few writers bring such richly damaged and human characters to life without making them brooding or whiny. I honestly cannot recall another book to date where I was wishing as hard for the hero and heroine to be together, to find peace as one. Their interactions made me laugh and made me cry (literally!) and in the end I was left with a satisfaction only a small handful of romance authors can wring from me. This is an adventure story first and a romance second but the two are so well blended and happen so naturally I just can't sing this book's praises enough.

If you enjoy fantasy romance with unusual blended elements (such as steampunk romance) look no further than DARK VOW. Fans of Firefly will love the western-esque flair and Obsidian's anti-hero persona. If you love a strong heroine who can still ask a man for help Jaines is a multi-layered and truly likable heroine. Husk has the talent of Meljean Brook with a voice that is all her own. I'm adding her to my list of must-have authors. Simply put, I loved this book and will be recommending it to everyone who will let me.

Other Reviews: If you've reviewed this one share your link in the comments!

Notes: ARC  received via NetGalley.

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