About the Book:
Title: Darkest Heart
Author: Rebecca L. Garcia
Series: Marked by Blood #3
Publication Date: Jan. 20, 2023
Synopsis: To beat the darkness, you must become it…
Trapped behind enemy lines, Olivia is forced to watch as the rogue soul vampires destroy countless mortals. In a bid to end the monarchy, the creatures and their leader will stop at nothing.
If she does not escape, her friends and family will die. But the only way out means she must become worse than her captors. As she falls deeper into the darkness, she realizes she may not find her way back to the girl she once was.
Back at the castle, Kalon and the Blood Brothers take over in the king’s absence. In a bid to lure more mortals into Sanmorte, they reopen the deadly competition where people can fight in a bid to gain immortality. But if the secret they’ve kept for centuries continues to spread, they will find themselves at the center of a war that has been brewing for decades.
With little to lose, and everything to gain, will any of them make it out of this with their souls intact? Because when immortals play games, rarely are there any winners.
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Darkest Heart is the third book in the Marked by Blood series, and I think it’s my favorite. It is an intense and dark story, as Olivia is held prisoner in a house of horrors, and Sebastian desperately and helplessly tries to find her.
The story is told from three very different POVs – Olivia, Sebastian, and Niall. I really liked that we got all three perspectives. Sebastian’s feelings of helplessness and vulnerability, Olivia’s captivity and realizations, and Niall’s political machinations, as well as his love life, are all so intriguing. I was surprised at how much I liked having Niall’s point of view, and his surprising romance with an intelligent and fiery human is one of my favorite parts of the story.
I love Elizabeth, the human who captured Niall’s interest. She is so fierce and unafraid, and she loves her sister more than anything. Her relationship with Niall shows a different side to the vampire as he struggles with his conflicted feelings. Elizabeth, with her sharp wit and insight, challenges Niall in a way no one else has, and their growing feelings, chemistry, and the constant push and pull between them is fantastic. I’m curious to see if there’s a chance for this unlikely pair.
Of course, my favorite relationship in the story is between Olivia and Sebastian, though they spend much of the story apart. Sebastian, Erianna, and Zach search endlessly for Olivia, and Sebastian is so lucky to have his friends with him because the keep him from going absolutely feral. He’s desperate to find Olivia before it’s too late, and he’s so worried for her. His ferocity and desperation heighten the already intense story and show just how much Sebastian loves his mate. They’ve come a long way from book one, and their love story is swoon-tastic. There’s one scene in particular that is so romantic and lovely that I just melted into a puddle when I read it.
Olivia has gone through so much over the course of this series, and this is the darkest of her experiences. Being held captive, forced to listen to the abuse and killings of others, deprived of food, drink, or even basic personal hygiene, separated from the love of her life, friends, and family, and still grieving the loss of her best friend, her chapters are brutal, dark, and twisted. I would suggest checking the trigger warning before reading the book. It is a dark fantasy, and some parts could trigger readers.
I’m excited to read the next book in the series after everything that transpired in this one. I feel like it’s building up to an epic conclusion and battle for power, and I’m curious to see how Olivia, Sebastian, and their allies deal with all of the obstacles they still have to face. Thanks to Rebecca L. Garcia for providing me with a copy of the book. All thoughts are my own.
- The romance!
- The suspense.
- enemies to lovers
- found family
- multi POV
- fated mates
- foreboding prophecy
- the chosen one
- political intrigue