Token of Darkness

Genre: Young Adult

I have to admit that I’m a bit biased going into this one. Amelia Atwater-Rhodes is one of my favorite authors; I’ve been reading her work since I was a teen. Token of Darkness is her eleventh book to be published and the six in her Den of Shadows series. This story took on a new twist from her previous stories. Most notably, her lead POV character is a high school boy, Cooper Blake.

Cooper was the star of his high school football team. He was well liked and had a large group of friends. But all that changed after an accident nearly claimed his life. The biggest change after the accident, though, was the appearance of the ghost of a teenage girl who called herself Samantha. Samantha shows up when Cooper wakes up in the hospital and has no memories of who she was before.

As I said earlier, taking on a male lead voice was a brave move. I’ve noticed a lot a writers have a difficult time writing in the voice of the opposite sex. Atwater-Rhode’s Cooper is convincing, but not the easiest of her characters to relate to. I have read nearly all of her books, and this was the first character I haven’t been able to empathize with (though I really did want to!) Good news though, her later book Promises to Keep also has a male lead who is much more alive as a character. So, if Cooper’s problem was simply Atwater-Rhodes learning to channel a male voice, she gets it better later on.

As for the story itself, I’m glad to see Atwater-Rhodes moving into new fields. Sure, Token of Darkness is another urban fantasy, but it’s not the cliched vampire stories she wrote when she was young. As the entirety of her Den of Shadows series takes place within the same world, I enjoy seeing her expand this world that she’s been building since she was a young teen, and learning more about the way it works and the characters that live within it with each passing novel.

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