Dark Heart Forever by Lee Monroe, published by Hodder Children's Books on 7th October 2010
Jane Jonas is nearing her 16th birthday and troubled by unsettling recurring dreams where the same mysterious boy her age comes to her, telling Jane that they are each other's destiny. Her mother is increasingly anxious about Jane's disruptive sleepwalking episodes, but for Jane her dream world and reality are about to collide ...When she develops a friendship with an enigmatic stranger in town, the blond, uber-cool Evan, it's exciting, it's new, and Jane wants him more than she's ever wanted anybody - until her mystery dream boy gets in the way. Now Jane is caught between two worlds: one familiar, but tinged with romance and excitement; the other dark and dangerous, where angels, werewolves, and an irresistible stranger are trying to seduce her ...
This was a really intriguing start to the series. Initially I wasn't really sure what to expect from this book - was it going to be about vampires or werewolves or angels? It turned out to combine all three and is a fantastic addition to the paranormal romance genre. The plot was original and unlike anything else I've read recently. It will appeal to those who like a good mystery, as well as a tangled love triangle! Also that cover...!! I know some people have said that it's very similar to Lauren Kate's Fallen series but I love it - it's so pretty.
The central character Jane is approaching her 16th birthday when she starts having strange dreams which she can't explain. Soon after, she finds herself the lucky recipient of two gorgeous guys' attention and a love triangle starts to develop. I really liked Jane who is home schooled after being bullied by another girl at her school. She finds it difficult to fit in and doesn't have any friends, except for her sister Dot, but she's swept off her feet by Evan, the new guy in town. He quickly integrates himself with her family and seems perfect in every way. At the same time, the mysterious and enigmatic Luca keeps appearing to her in her dreams. He seems to know how she feels and what she's thinking and like her he's somewhat of a loner who likes his own company at times. Whereas Evan is blond and fair, Luca is dark and brooding and appears to have a number of secrets which intrigue Jane.
I liked the way that Jane gradually begins to change and develop throughout the book. She grows in confidence and self-assurance as the two boys appear on the scene. She's still Jane - needing time alone, but she also matures and becomes more confident. Luca gives Jane a journal to read which he believes holds great importance. The journal helps her to understand the strange world of Nissilum and the feelings that she's experiencing. I guessed quite early on what the real significance of the journal was going to turn out to be and I thought that this was a clever plot device.
The love triangle aspect may immediately make you think of the Twilight series but although there are admittedly a few similarities, 'Dark Heart Forever' has definitely found it's own niche in the genre. It's also nice to find a British author writing a cracking paranormal romance and I shall be keeping a keen eye on Lee Monroe and future books by her.
'Dark Heart Rising', the second book in the trilogy, is due to be published on 2nd June 2011 by Hodder Children's Books.