"Everything in Life has its own rhythm, its own beat, from waging war to making love to dancing. You just have to listen for it and then fall into it."
~Ares, God of War
Wow. Ok, first I feel I should give proper warning to anyone who may decide to read this book. As you can see above, I loved it. I'm not sure I'll even be able to find the words to explain how much I loved this book. That being said, there were elements that I was not even remotely prepared for. On the cover, you'll note 'Dark Erotic Romance'. This is very, very true and more specifically, there are multiple scenes, in graphic detail, involving incest, sexual assult (of both an adult and a child), and extremely violent rape. I am not saying that had I known, I would have passed on this book. That is not the case. I do feel, however, it should come with such warning.
Ares...Son of Zeus, God of War, Olympian, Caveman.
...and if I'm being honest, a bit of a dick. Having been booted from Olympus for a particularly heinous crime, Ares lives in solitude on his own island with 8 male guards to help protect the island and 8 females to serve him in each and every way he sees fit. Standing at 7ft tall, with long raven hair, Ares is sight to behold as well as a force to be reckoned with. With War in his blood, his hatred for his family and lowly view of mortal women, he walks around like, well...a caveman. No, really, he lives in a cave and names aren't important when everyone with ovaries he simply calls 'woman'. He seethes, grunts, glares and is just generally pissed off all the time and finding a half dead woman washed up along his shore with no clue as to how she got there, doesn't exactly soothe the beast. Throughout this story you will hate him, fear him, love him and at times, many, many times, you will 'awww' and when there's music involved...you just might giggle. *wink*
Magdalena, aka Maggie, doesn't remember much as to what happened to her, her memory is cloudy, with sizable time slots just...gone. Ares isn't quite sure what to do with the little Fae, other than deciding Alena is a better fit name wise, when he isn't calling her 'woman' that is. She's petite with silver/grey hair and stormy grey eyes. One thing he does know is that he will find out how she got there and with no evidence of ship wreckage for mile and miles, he knows greater powers are at work here. When he discovers her chastity belt bearing the mark of a Celt God, lets just say things get interesting.
The Heart of War goes beyond paranormal romance. This is an epic fantasy that is so rich in description and word play. Ms. Darling takes what we know about Greek Mythology and adds some twists and turns. I could see this book as a movie, no doubt. Long before Sister Wives, The Kardashians or The Real Housewives of Anywhere, USA....there were the Olympians. The word 'dysfunctional' doesn't even begin to describe this 'family'. They made me laugh and cringe all at the same time. You can trust no one. Not mother nor father, lover, child or sibling. The betrayals and lies that were revealed throughout made for such a fascinating, exciting read. As the reader, you will love them, hate them and find yourself not being able to get enough of them!
Ares and Maggie's journey is not an easy one, far from it. As I said, this is not a fluffy romance and to be honest, some parts of this book were difficult for me to read, for me to stomach. I laughed, I gasped and trust me, there were tears as well and during the hardest of times, my stomach churned. Maggie has a lot to remember, a lot to learn about herself all the while, trying to save her own life. This little Fae's backstory will rip your heart out. Her inner strength is nothing short of amazing and inspiring. It isn't all anguish and sorrow. Along the way, Maggie touches many lives, two orphaned African children specifically. She is a natural nurturer and the bond that forms, the connection between Ares and Maggie is a heart wrenchingly tragic, yet stunning love story.