Review copy was received from Publisher. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
The Vow by Dannika Dark
Narrator: Nicole Poole
Series: Black Arrowhead #1
Published by Tantor Audio on December 1, 2020
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Length: 8 hours, 57 minutes
Amazon, Audible, Audiobook, Barnes & Noble, Apple
Melody is an ambitious entrepreneur who has always loved the thrill of a new adventure, but she’s about to get more than she bargained for when the only way to save her business is to secure a deal with a powerful tribal leader. Running Horse, Oklahoma, isn’t on the map, and Mel is about as lost as a Shifter can get. When she unexpectedly runs into her best friend’s brother, her friendly visit quickly turns treacherous.
Lakota Cross is a man with secrets. While tracking a killer, he reunites with Melody, and their friendship sparks into a passionate affair. But if he doesn’t quell the fire soon, it might burn out of control.
Once again, fate brings these two Shifters together in a moment of need. But will the sacrifice be greater than the reward?
I try not to read reviews for new books. Because I know how that sounds coming from a book reviewer, and I certainly appreciate anyone who is willing to read my reviews, allow me to clarify; I try not to read reviews on books I am already planning on reading. Those books are by authors I know, series I love, or recommendations by other reviewers. In these cases, I simply like going in blind, with no clear anticipation of what the book is about or what will happen.
When I was scrolling through a list of upcoming releases and saw The Vow, the first installment in the new Black Arrowhead series by Dannika Dark, I didn’t have to think twice about snatching it up. I am a huge fan of Dannika Dark’s Crossbreed series and that was enough for me. I felt it important to clarify my position on reviews and my aversion to knowing what a book is about, because sometimes that backfires. It wasn’t until I’d completed The Vow, when looking at reviews on a retailer’s site that I realized this series was closely connected to two additional series by Dannika Dark. Oy! I hate it when that happens.
Melody is a shifter flaunting tradition when she opens a boutique with her best friend Hope. Supply chain struggles send Melody into the back country where the shifter’s have long memories and old prejudices die hard. It isn’t long before she crosses paths with Lakota, Hope’s hunky older brother who she hasn’t seen in years. Lakota isn’t the same youth she knew growing up; he’s handsome, brooding and undercover. The two are soon helplessly tangled in a mystery involving the Native American shifter tribe and a series of brutal murders, and they have to trust in each other if they hope to make it out with their lives and hearts intact.
I really loved the main characters in the story. They both felt like real people (albeit shifters) and they seemed to act and think like normal adults. There was no “WTF?” moment; where as the reader, you question what led the character to decide doing something was a good idea or their only choice. It was definitely refreshing to have a down-to-earth heroine that knew what she wanted and what she was sacrificing to get it. I felt Lakota and Melody owned their life choices, even when they might struggle to make things work. The romantic relationship grew organically and I could honestly see them ending up together forever.
Even with the great characters, I felt a bit disconnected from the entire story. I felt like I was missing something, some subtext, the entire time I was reading the book. The habits and personalities of the shifters were not as defined as I hoped. I attribute this entirely to my not having read the first two series. Even though this is considered a standalone series, I know it would have been so much better for me had I known their shared history, the family dynamics, and more about the shifter world in general.
Dannika Dark doesn’t disappoint with her characters and interesting plot. The Native American elements in the story were fascinating and I really enjoyed that aspect of her world building. I would have liked to have better understood the secondary characters and shifter world in general, which is easy to address. Her website contains a recommended reading order, and I hope to have worked my way through the Seven and Mageri series before book two in the Black Arrowhead is released.
Nicole Poole is an excellent narrator. I’ve quite enjoyed her work in the past. She speaks clearly and has a great rhythm to her reading. For this book, I had a difficult time connecting her voice to Melody’s character. Her tone was perhaps a little older than I would have imagined for Melody. She did a great job with a wide cast of characters and accents, including the Native American accent which has a unique rhythm.
Listen to a clip: HERE
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I definitely intend to read this author and on audio, but with the series in order. It was one of my possibilities for a Read-along (probably 2 of the series) so hopefully I will get there. Wonderful review!
I just love it when we see our main characters act with maturity and realism ….its quite refreshing. I have heard good things about this author. Glad you enjoyed.
I’ve wanted to read something by Dark for a long time. People rave about her Mageri and Crossbreed series so I think I’ll give this book a pass for now and try one of the others first given what you’ve said about it being connected to other series.
The Mageri series is my favorite series of hers and I tend to reread it fairly regularly although I rarely reread other authors. And Seven is wonderful as well. I think if you hadn’t read those you very well might have felt a disconnect of sorts? This was the spinoff I’ve been waiting for, for years now. Full disclosure, Dark is my favorite author.