DNF: ‘The Dark Ones’ Rachel van Dyken


Okay, okay…I know some of you will question what exactly I was expecting when the book has a cover like this, but for those of you who have been with me since I swoon over fictional men’s birth, you’ll remember that, initially, I reviewed nothing but paranormal romance.

I guess my DNFing (it’s a word, shut up) of this book maybe shows just how much I’ve grown as a reader throughout the duration of 2017; life’s too short to read books you’re not enjoying! At the tail end of 2016, I realized reading was becoming something of a chore because I was hesitant to read outside of my ‘preferred’ genre…and it dawned on me that with many of the books that I was reading, I was essentially rereading the same story over and over again, just with different characters in different locations.

I’m not one for New Year’s Resolutions, but on 1st January 2017, I pledged to read more widely and boy, have I read more widely since then. I’ve been reading drama, horror, sci fi, non-fiction, poetry…

…but I still enjoy the odd bit of romance now and again and following my reading of Archangel’s Viper, I felt my romance fix hadn’t been entirely satisfactory, so I decided to browse the Kindle store for some new titles.

And that’s where I stumbled upon The Dark Ones. On paper (or on screen, I should say) it sounded like your average, run-of-the-mill paranormal romance. Vampires, immortal kings, conflicts, drama, the ‘chosen one‘…The Dark Ones has it all and as I’m your stereotypical poor student, when I saw it was free, I hit ‘Download’ quicker than I make a cup of tea when I wake up in the morning (which is pretty fucking quick).

As I settled into my reading of it, though, I found myself becoming increasingly uneasy and it was when I hit the 35% mark that I realized I just couldn’t read anymore. It was depressing me and I’m depressed enough as it is without my method of escapism making me feel even worse. It wasn’t just the superficial, archetypal characters that very often populate the realms of paranormal romance (y’know, the darkly troubled, brooding asshole that everyone lusts after etc)…it was more the sheer oppression of the female protagonist that was bothering me.

The Dark One’s protagonist is a woman called Genesis and despite her being a two dimensional, annoyingly whiny character, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her. The author’s treatment of her epitomizes everything that I hate about this genre when it’s done wrong. Let me explain:

1. She has no free will. The moment she steps through the door that leads her to the immortals, Genesis is stripped of the scraps of free will she’d possessed in her previous life. The male immortals barter for her ‘services’ like she’s nothing more than a slab of meat, all while she stands, shaking as terror naturally courses through her body. If that doesn’t sound horrific enough, Ethan then ‘has to’ forcibly ‘mark’ Genesis to make her his ‘mate’ because it’s so obviously the only way to save her from Cassius….she has literally known Ethan for about half an hour by this point. Oh, and the greatest thing about all of this? She doesn’t understand the implications of his actions until afterwards, which leads me quite nicely onto my second point…

Me when I read this entire section

2. Being an immortal’s mate is quite literally a life or death situation and not because the immortal world is teeming with blood-thirsty vampires and rabid werewolves. Oh no. The actual process of becoming an immortal’s mate is life-threatening. Genesis’ life hangs in the balance through no decision of her own and why, you might ask, do the immortals need humans? Well, conveniently to the plot…

I’ve seen this disturbing plot play out one too many times

3. …immortals can only have offspring with humans. She’s essentially being forced into sexual slavery. Cassius wants Genesis so he can breed with her and, at one point, she’s actually referred to as ‘a breeder’.

Me around 10% in

4. Ethan treats Genesis like shit. I dunno, maybe their relationship improves later in the book but certainly in the 35% that I read, he was a class A dick to her. One minute, he’s leaning forward about to kiss her, the next he’s throwing a temper tantrum and stomping around downstairs because she doesn’t truly ‘love’ him (calm it, buddy, she’s not even known you 24 hours!). His emotions are about as predictable as a forest fire (which I imagine aren’t very predictable? Correct me if I’m wrong) and while I’m not a psychologist, I can imagine being subjected to that kind of behavior would make a person extremely frightened and insecure.

Me when it comes to archetypal characters in paranormal romance

5. Soul-consuming lust. This is something that kinda ties in with my first point; Genesis not only loses free will over her life, but she loses free will over her body too. Her mind is literally fighting against her body’s yearning for Ethan and this yearning is something that, initially (because no doubt she’ll realize she does actually love him later in the book), is a result of his forced ‘marking’ of her. I don’t even need to explain how many shades of creepy and messed up that is.

“Did I actually just read that?”

So there we have it. Rant over, guys. What books have you recently DNFed? 



8 thoughts on “DNF: ‘The Dark Ones’ Rachel van Dyken

  1. I recently DNF’d an urban fantasy, I’ve not posted the review yet though. There was nothing wrong with it as such and it gets rave reviews but I didn’t connect with the main character or the story and just didn’t enjoy or want to read anymore. Perhaps my fault as I loved the authors grimdark work which I’ll stick with and I’m not really an urban fantasy fan anyway but gave it a go and we’ll, DNF’d it.😂

    You definitely have a point about depression, reading is escapism and if that escapism makes you depressed then obviously the book isn’t for you as reading should make you feel better!

    “I know some of you will question what exactly I was expecting when the book has a cover like this” – that could be aimed at me!😂😂😂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s always a shame when you can’t connect with the characters or the story. I know what you mean, though. One of my favourite authors has another series and I read the first two books, but I couldn’t finish the third and didn’t bother with the rest. I had the same issue as you. I just couldn’t connect with the characters or story and I think some of that was because it was so vastly different to the other series that I liked. At least we gave them a go, though 😛 We gave them the benefit of the doubt 😛
      Yeah, very often I read paranormal romance because it’s usually cheesy enough to provide me with some lighthearted entertainment to take my mind off things. If a book’s making me feel worse, then I may as well just not read it at all. I’ve moved onto ‘Dracula’ now and while not a lighthearted read, I’m sure it will entertain me enough as to not depress me 😛
      That was most definitely aimed at you 😛 Hmm I thought I was quite subtle, to be honest 😛

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ah, nothing quite like a good DNF rant. 🙂
    Last book I DNFed was “The Sun is also a Star.” It hit many of my why-i-struggle-with-YA buttons, but I can see why lots of other people like it. I think I’m just ill-suited for YA, generally speaking.


  3. I feel ya sister! I recently DNF’d the Tethered Mage that everyone loved. I found it to be so oversimplified and YA when I had started it expected a solid adult fantasy. The characters were underdeveloped and the magic system (a unique concept) lost in the mix of war and politics. I was not in the mood for YA and was craving a complex read so it did not work for me. But a lot of people loved it! We are ever evolving as readers huh 😉 Your use of gifs is brilliant ❤


  4. Bloody hell…. DNFing is totally a word and you did right to dnf this one. sounds absolutely annoying this read, and I could totally relate to those gifs.. I have gone through the same.
    Hope your next read is better 🙂


  5. My God, this book does sound insanely troubling. I love a good paranormal romance but I hate the alpha male/absolute dick love interest. This one in particular looks completely horrid! Why would an author, especially a female one, write another female in such a terrible light? It makes no sense. Girls should support other girls, not degrade them and especially not in service of men!
    Ugh, this makes me so mad. I can understand why it made you depressed because it is very depressing. To think that there are people in this world who read books like this and *enjoy* them, as well as feel like the relationships portrayed are healthy and desirable, makes me so sad. I mean, to each his own but I’m hoping they don’t allow their partner to treat them the same way! Literature is not real life, after all.
    Anyway, I loved your review, nonetheless, and hope you find something much better to read soon! I’ve learned that free doesn’t always mean “grab it” hahaha


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