Note: I won an ebook copy of this novella from the author themselves in a giveaway last week. That has no influence on my enjoyment of the book and all opinions herein are my own.
Darkling, the first novella in Brooklyn Ray’s Port Lewis Witches series is a dark and delicious deep dive into a magical world unlike many I’ve seen before.
In Port Lewis, a small town in the state of Washington, magic practitioners of all types are kind of commonplace in everyday life, with different families bringing their specialties to the table.
Darkling primarily focuses on Ryder Lewellyn, a late-blooming trans dude who happens to be a necromancer with an affinity for fire, and his close friend (and future lover) Liam Montgomery, a witch with an affinity for water.
Darkling is a relatively cozy urban fantasy book that looks at the intimate relationship between Ryder and Liam as it follows Ryder kind of… hitting necromancer puberty and trying to hide the darkness of his power from his and Liam’s social group of “white” witches.
Unlike other necromancers who go through uh… everything he’s going through by the time they’re like ten, Ryder is hitting that high point in a necromancer’s life… a bit late thanks to the fact that he’s got ties to two different magical families in Port Lewis. When you add in the way that necromancers are viewed as suspicious and dark as well as the reactions of Ryder and Liam’s circle of friends (and fellow witches, it’s a thing)… it’s no surprise that Ryder’s not having an easy time of things.
There’s no overarching Big Bad in Darkling, but I couldn’t get enough of following along as Ryder tries to figure out the next step to take in his magical life as well as in his relationship with Liam.
I’m new to Brooklyn Ray’s writing, but Darkling has won me over as a fan for life. I can’t wait to see what they bring to the table in the next Port Lewis Witches book!
Content Warnings/Notes: consensual bloodplay/blood-letting, on-screen death (and resurrection) of a main character, mild gore
Are There Sex Scenes/Sexual Content?: Yes & Explicit
What I Liked Most About It: the scorching hot sex scenes, Ryder’s conflict about his necromancer heritage, Ryder being a trans dude main character in a work of M/M romance, Liam’s chill ass personality, Thalia and Jordan as a ship, the worldbuilding so far and how accepted magic is (except for necromancers which isn’t fair), Ray’s writing style (so fresh and engaging)
What I Could’ve Done Without: N/A
Where Y’all Can Buy It: Ninestar Press | Amazon
Author’s Website/Social Media: Brooklyn Ray @ Twitter | Tumblr
Rating: Highly Recommended