Expected Release Date: January 11, 2013
Publisher: Self-Published
Imprint: N/A
Author’s Website:
My Source for This Book: Gift from the author
Part of a Series: Yes, 0.5, Brightest Kind of Darkness Series
Series Best Read In Order: Prequel can be read before or after Book 1
Steam Level: Chaste
Pet Peeves: Not a Self-Contained Story, Cliff-Hanger
Favorite Tropes: Male Point-of-View, Tattoo

Official Blurb:

Ethan Harris never thought monsters and darkness would consume his daily thoughts, but every night the same visions repeat in his dreams. He’s careful to project a semblance of normalcy, keeping the suffocating darkness locked inside. As much as he wishes he could focus on girls, sports, and cars like other seventeen-year-olds; nothing distracts him from his own demons or shines through.

Until Nara Collins crosses his path. The blonde fascinates and intrigues him, giving him a measure of peace he’s never felt before.

When Ethan discovers there’s more to Nara than she allows others to see, that she might have a unique secret of her own, suddenly his world comes into focus.

What Worked For Me:

  • I’ve loved Ethan ever since I “met” him in Brightest Kind of Darkness, and this novella only made me love him more. I love how he struggles with the normal things that teenagers struggle with — obnoxious parents, jerks at school, slipping grades, and so forth — and not just the paranormal aspects. 
  • I really enjoyed the glimpse into Ethan’s family life, with his distant parents, and the brother who is torn between being supportive and being a good substitute parent to Ethan. The hints that his family considers him to have a mental illness, as well as his earlier brushes with the law set him up as a wonderfully tortured hero even outside of the horrific nightmares he has every night.
  • I also enjoyed getting his point of view of Nara. Having already read BKOD, I knew just how devoted he was to her, but it was nice to be able to get inside of his head, and see the why’s instead of just the what’s of his behavior.
  • I adored the scene with Buddy. I actually loved all of the scenes that illustrated Ethan’s affinity with animals, but I especially loved the scene with Buddy, even if it broke my heart.
  • This never counts for or against a book’s final rating, but I love the cover. 🙂

What Didn’t Work For Me:

  • The music part, while enjoyable, felt a bit… odd to me. I can’t really put my finger on what it was that stuck out to me as being strange, but they weren’t really my favorite parts of the story.
  • A minor issue, and less of a negative point than just something I felt worth mentioning, but there’s a definite cliff-hanger ending to this one. While there’s a slight self-contained storyline to this prequel, it’s not in any way a standalone, and those who have never read the series should make sure that they have Brightest Kind of Darkness on hand before they begin this one.
  • There’s actually no “romance” in this prequel at all, save for Ethan’s sort of longing-from-afar of Nara. I was okay with that, having already read the next book in the series, but I think that would have frustrated me a bit were I completely new to the series.

Even though I’ve read Brightest Kind of Darkness, it’s been a long time, and a lot of books in between, and so while I remembered that I enjoyed the book, I honestly didn’t remember the specifics of what it was about. As such, I read Ethan almost as a newcomer to the series, and so the only real drawback to this novella was the cliff-hanger ending. This was a rather minor point, since I knew going into it that it ended at a specific point, but I do think newcomers to the series should be aware that this is not a self-contained story in and of itself.

Overall, I loved getting Ethan’s point of view, as well as a taste of his back story.  While I would have been a bit disappointed at the lack of actual “romance” in the book had I not already read BKOD, I did enjoy seeing Nara through Ethan’s eyes.

While Ethan can be read either before or after reading Brightest Kind of Darkness, I think I would personally recommend reading this second. However, the good news is that at the time of this review, Brightest Kind of Darkness is free* on Kindle. I honestly have no idea how long it will be available at that promotional price, but I reviewed that story when it first came out and gave it 4.5/5 Stars (WHICH YOU CAN READ BY CLICKING HERE), and would highly recommend picking it up while it’s still available on this promotion.

04stars 4/5 Stars, and recommended for any fan of the series.

*Always check the price of any book before purchasing it. 😉