Before I begin this review, I just need to draw attention to how much I love the cover art for all the books in this series. There’s none of the pink, swirly lettering adorning some romance novels. There’s none of the Mills-and-Boonesque images of couples about to kiss or gazing longingly into one another’s eyes. No. These covers are dark. They’re intense. They’re dramatic…much like the stories and characters they conceal. On a purely visual level, these books are aesthetically pleasing and instantly beckon a reader towards them.

Anyhow, I digress. Daring Fire is book two in Mallory Crowe’s Bad Boys of the Underworld series. This book revolves around Gena and Marcus, the latter of whom we met at the end of the previous book, Finding Fire. 

Gena is living what she deems a normal life in Michigan. She has everything that she needs: a job she loves, her best friend, a comfortable home and her dog, lovable and loyal Lady. Things soon take an unexpected turn, however, when Ryan – a coworker who suddenly becomes more than a little fixated with her – murders her. Or at least tries to. Mere seconds after taking her ‘final’ breath, Gena awakes to find herself in an identical albeit new and seemingly immortal body.

Marcus meanwhile has recently arrived in New York with the intention of infiltrating the vampire rebellion. As they did in Michigan, things soon take an unexpected turn when Gena comes bursting into his life (quite literally – to quote ‘She ran into the room the guard had blocked off.’ and it is in this room that they meet for the first time). Together, they search for answers to Gena’s mysterious heritage while going head-to-head with Marcus’ enemies.

I loved this book. In fact, I adored it. Marcus is initially a bit of an enigma. When he appeared in the first book, I thought he was a bit of an asshole. Sure, he did save Anna’s life but only, he claims, so Nicolas would owe him. I wasn’t sure how I felt about a whole novel dedicated to him. My feelings are much clearer now, though – I hope he and Gena get a follow up book! The reasoning behind his cool, calculating behavior becomes apparent when the reader hears of his tragic past and this is one of the many things I love about Mallory’s books; the characters all have a past and it is a past that allows a reader to gain a better insight into them as people. This adds a hint of realism to the stories and characters. Every person, be they fictional or real, has experienced something that has shaped part of their personality and this being such a strong element in these books ensures that the characters are relatable. As a reader, you can actually care about the characters because you see them as real people, people with pasts, presents and futures.

Gena is a sweetheart. Her fierce dedication to her dog, Lady, is heartwarming. Despite her life being thrown into absolute chaos, her main priority always seems to be Lady. She ensures she’s taken for regular walks and when the rebels arrive at Marcus’ apartment, hell bent on stirring some shit up, she hides Lady in the bedroom upstairs. Gena’s need to help and protect those less able – a fact also proven by her work as a nurse and her hesitation to kill Ryan at the very beginning – makes it easy for a reader to warm towards her. She’s a very likable character. I also really liked the fact that despite her interesting heritage, she’s very down to earth. Initially, she’s desperate to return to her old life and if it weren’t for her love for Marcus, she probably would within a heartbeat. She just wants what most people want out of life and this is what makes her, again, so relatable.

I’m giving this a 5 out of 5 🙂

This title is available in both paperback and in e-reader format! Check it out on Amazon.