“They had trespassed on ancient oaths for the sake of mercenary greed, for the sake of ancient hatred—had stolen a child of summer.” – Belinda Burke
Title: Dark Side of the Sun (Eight Kingdoms: Book One)
Author: Belinda Burke
Publisher: Totally Bound
Pages/Word Count: 200 Pages
Rating: 4 Stars
Blurb: Strange alliances are forged among the fae as Macsen Cadoc and his fae allies attempt to defeat the Milesians, Irish huntresses who bear a grudge against the sidhe.
Failure will bring Macsen to his knees; success may do the same, unless he and Bran Fionnan, once a captive of the huntresses, can succeed in sowing seeds of peace. Yet even while some attempt to find a middle ground and forge a place where tolerance can flower, a new power rises, a threat to them all.
The Church of Rome aims to win the earth from its immortal rivals, even if doing so comes at the price of magic itself. It will be up to Macsen to make a choice that might save the fae and all that sustains them…but only Bran has the power to convince him to do what is right.
Can mortal and immortal overcome the conflicts that divide them when some must hunt others to survive? Is love stronger than anything—even a Fae King’s pride?
Review: There isn’t much not to love about the Fae, simply because A.) there’s so much canon there to work with, and B.) there’s so much more an author can do to spin the Seelie and Unseelie Courts to the whims of her imagination, and Belinda Burke has done an admirable job of just that in the Yin Yang relationship between Macsen Cadoc and Bran Fionnan, the dark and the light sides of this fantasy fairy tale.
Macsen is the Red King, called vampire by the human females who hunt him and his kind. Bran is the kidnapped son of Summer’s Queen, trapped in the human world and prized for his abilities to create the weapons the Irish huntresses use to prey upon vampires. By rights, Bran Fionnan should be Macsen Cadoc’s enemy, but by blood Macsen and Bran have been bonded in a treaty of peace between the Red King and Summer’s Queen. It’s this bond that has the power to offer Bran his freedom, but it’s also the bond that could deliver Bran his own death.
Filled with danger and intrigue and plenty of action to keep me turning pages, the author spins a tale of lust and loathing and greed, written in a prose that’s both evocative and at times, lyrical. The bond between Macsen and Bran, though it relies heavily on the mate bond trope, comes off just this side of believable not only because of its decades long history-in-the-making but also because the interactions between the two Fae men included a good bit of chemistry, enough for me to buy into the possibility of a long-term relationship without the foundation I usually need to support it; this is one I’m looking forward to seeing in future books in the series.
Dark Side of the Sun does a little mixing of genres, between paranormal and fairy tale, and it worked well when coupled with the human element who serve as the story’s villains, those who came along and tricked Summer’s Queen out of her ownership of Ireland. But as is the case when any group bands together in a common injustice, there is always a light among the dark, and it’s this light that brings hope to Bran at his darkest hour.
There are eight hidden kingdoms in this series, two for each season, and the author has only just begun to introduce them in this first installment. There are more questions to be asked, more answers to be given, and more yet to be discovered before Summer’s Queen has a chance to retake her land, and I’m looking forward to seeing where Belinda Burke takes the action next.
You can buy Dark Side of the Sun (Eight Kingdoms: Book One) here: