In Darkness Reborn
I’ve been waiting for Barak q’Young’s story in the Paladins of Darkness series since I read the first book in the series. For the most part, In Darkness Reborn lived up to my expectations, but the villains in this series are starting to come from Central Casting, which affected my enjoyment of this book.
The Paladins are a group of immortal warriors defending Earth against the infiltrating “Others.” Every time there is a seismic event, the Barrier between our world and the “Other” world fails, and the Others rush across the Barrier in a crazed, almost manic fashion, only to meet their deaths at the hands of the Paladins. No one knows why the Others cross the barrier, or why their world is so awful they would risk death to cross into Earth.
We first met Barak the Other in Dark Protector, when he saved Paladin leader Devlin Bane’s girlfriend (Dr. Laurel Young) from certain death. Barak has worked for Laurel in the lab since then, but it has created a difficult situation for the Paladins since Barak is the enemy. Devlin grudgingly calls himself friend to Barak, and believes he has found a workable solution for everyone. Barak will assist Lacey Sebastian in the Geology department at the Paladin Center. Unfortunately, Lacey’s brother is a Paladin, and Lacey has no love for the Others either.
Barak is definitely a fish out of water. Although the Paladins respect him (some more than others), as the only one of his kind on the Earth side of the Barrier, he feels terribly alone. He is immediately attracted to Lacey’s spirit and intelligence, but she only marginally tolerates him, and works hard to dismiss her growing attraction to him. Her brother actively dislikes Barak and wants him gone, so there is no support from that quarter.
Barak works hard to remain true to himself and his people, while showing respect for the Paladins and their way of life. There is an ongoing investigation into an illegal trade of valuable gems across the Barrier, which has been in play over the course of the series. Barak wants to stop the trade of the blue gems because it hurts his people, but doesn’t want to give the Paladins more ammunition against them either. He also hides some special gifts of his own, which creates a rather overly dramatic conflict between him and Lacey.
I loved Barak. He was an absolutely wonderful hero. Definitely strong, but not too overbearing, and willing to work hard in order to have a relationship with Lacey. Lacey waffled a bit too much, but in relation to her situation, it was mostly forgivable. However, the subplots involving the villains in these novels are just cookie cut-outs of the same villain and situation over and over. This is wearing pretty thin after three books, so I hope the next one will offer something more unique.
Barak is probably my favorite hero from these books. The sad news is that although I like the other Paladins featured in this book, I’m not waiting with bated breath for their stories. I can recommend this one for fans of the series, but for those new to the series, this one probably isn’t the place to start. I know I will be picking up the next book when it’s released, but past that, I’ll have to wait and see.