Where the Devil Says Goodnight (Book 1)
Potential readers should heed the “dark” warning in this book’s description because more than a few scenes are not for the faint of heart. Merikan dives deep into Slavic mythology to draw monsters to the surface, both paranormal and utterly human. Adam and Emil pay the price, time and time again, as they grow closer on multiple levels. (This book is also not for the devoutly Catholic, I’m sure.)
I enjoy reading fantasy novels that draw their inspiration from sources other than what has become mainstream. This book did an excellent job of delving into the source material and bringing it to life via both the book’s plot and how it affects both the village’s characters and atmosphere. Merikan never reverts to basic expository to share information with the reader; instead, we learn along with Adam, the village’s new arrival, as he discovers the depths to which his new home is seeped in magic and the role he plays in it.
At its heart, this story is a romance and definitely ends with a happily ever after (albeit an unexpected one). However, the text itself reads a lot like a tragedy, and my heart hurt for Emil and Adam more than once as they confronted their demons (both internal and external). This is the rare book that doesn’t make me long to check in with the characters later because the ending was so satisfying as written. But I look forward to reading the sequel, set in the same village, and I wouldn’t mind a peek or two back at this initial couple.
Where Foxes Hunt With Wolves (Book 2)
This book is nowhere near as dark as the first story in the series. Instead, the conflicts between various characters are all very “human” (even when not all of the characters are human). It can be read as a stand-alone, with only a few hints as to events that take place previously. The werewolf element is strong in this book, however, which means this story still won’t be for all readers.
I adored Yev from page one. He’s just a guy stuck in a culture that doesn’t accept him (relevant to too many places in the world even without the werewolf bit). I needed a bit more time to warm up to Radek, but it’s hard not to find him delightful once his changeling heritage springs to the forefront.
Polish culture is not as infused in this story because it instead focuses on more “modern” paranormal elements. However, it is impossible to forget that the setting is rural Poland rather than rural America, making for a nice change from the “norm” of urban fantasy stories.
I picked up the first book in this series based on a recommendation from another author I enjoy, and I’m so glad I took a chance on both. I look forward to reading other books by this excellent writing team!