Brought to you by OBS reviewer Daniele
*May contain spoilers*
A GIFT AND A CURSE
Mala LaCroix sees dead people—really. After using her psychic gifts to catch a killer, she’s locked in a psych ward and must strike a deal with the devil to secure her release. Apprenticed to a dark arts practitioner, Mala vows to free herself and save her loved ones from danger. But she doesn’t know who to turn to when her crush on Landry Prince turns into something more serious.
A FATE WORSE THAN DEATH
Landry has sacrificed everything to protect Mala. A near-death experience changes him forever, and now he, too, possesses supernatural powers he doesn’t understand. Mala and Landry must band together to defeat the dark forces—both human and otherworldly—who would use their abilities for evil. Even as they fall for each other, they must prepare to battle for their very souls . . . (Goodreads)
Dark Sacrifice is the second book of a trilogy and picks up right where Dark Paradise ends. Mala has inherited powers from her mother and is trying to come to grips with her new ability to see ghosts (and may have some voodoo abilities, too). When she was at death’s door (in Dark Paradise), she made a deal with her Aunt Magnolia to save her own life and agreed to become her apprentice, but it is becoming clear that Magnolia is more than she seems, and it is very dark indeed. And, just because Jasmine, Mala’s mother, is deceased, it does not mean she is gone – her ghost seems to be permanently bound to Mala. As if there is not enough going on for Mala to worry about, she finds out the truth of her parentage, and it throws Mala and her friend/quasi love interest, George, for a loop. Try as she might to hate Landry and hold him responsible for her inability to save her mother’s life, she still finds herself drawn to him, thinking about him, and her soul visits him nightly.
Landry is in jail, accused of a murder he did not commit, and finds himself the victim of an attack. He comes back from his near death experience even more attune to the supernatural and now must fight his own battle against a demon for his very soul. When he finds himself freed from jail, he is determined to protect Mala from his father and the mystery fourth man involved in Jasmine’s murder. He goes to stay with Mala to be in closer proximity to her, but he continues to fight his feelings for her, thinking himself unworthy of her love.
The fourth man is indeed out to clean up all the loose ends related to Jasmine’s murder and is systematically killing all of those involved. Landry’s father, realizing his loyalties have been misplaced, is hiding out from the fourth man but also trying his best to protect Landry and Mala.
Aunt Magnolia soon comes to collect Mala’s debt, and seeing Landry’s new abilities, takes both Mala and Landry to New Orleans to begin training. They find themselves deep in dark magic, a place full of zombies, resurrection, and human sacrifice, where nothing is quite as it seems.
The story is fast paced but has a transitional feel to it. Some questions from the first installment are answered, some assumptions are proven wrong, and more questions are proposed. I thought the creepy ambiance from the first book was somewhat missing here, even with the voodoo element. I really expected this book to focus on Mala’s apprenticeship, but it was sparsely addressed. I can hope that it will be tackled in the third book. Landry and Mala still irritate me, though I found them a bit more mature here and hope they have gotten over their angst for each other and move forward with their relationship. I have not decided if they are good for each other or not. The identity of the fourth man came as a surprise, as did Landry’s father’s about face. As before, this has a somewhat cliffhanger ending.
This Gothic-esque paranormal thriller/romance is entertaining and the writing is sound. I recommend it to lovers of paranormal romance and those who enjoy the Louisiana atmosphere and ghosts/voodoo.