Review of Of Light and Darkness by Shayne Leighton

An Epic Battle For Love and Power.

A Fight For Redemption.

One Human Against A Legion of Monsters.

Charlotte Ruzikova finds that she is the freak in her world of magic and monsters. When she stands before an army of impossible obstacles, the likelihood of survival is slim. Will she vanquish the nightmares, or will there be bloodshed?
Filled with hatred for what he is, Valek condemns himself to a life of solitude. Always hiding in the dark, will he ever let Charlotte’s love in? 
Together, they must fight in the shadows with their league of loveable misfits to survive the light. But will they still be alive at the break of day? 

In Of Light and Darkness by Shayne Leighton, she paints a beautiful fantasy world. She integrates and modifies fantastical creatures like fairies, elves, and shapeshifters into a world that still follows the law of the land in werewolf and vampire lore. That being said, this is not the pick for a reader still tired of the whole “vampire love story thing”. Because that’s definitely what this is with certain elements akin to Anne Rice’s characters Louise DePointe and Claudia. There were a few things to nit-pick. Charlotte had a number of injuries, particularly a head injury, that were very down played, to a point of infeasibility. There were also quite a few word confusions and misspellings. The civil war plot begins to develop in the thick of the character development, and for a few chapters, it seems that the bigger picture is going to be overcast with the romance, but that proves not to be the case later on in the book. Some of the magic later in the novel seemed convenient, but that could be easily overlooked if that same magic is incorporated into the rest of the series in a meaningful way. All of that aside, the point of view changes are smooth and easy to follow. Charlotte is a strong female protagonist, always a bonus. Valek isn’t entirely an overbearing, draconian male protagonist, double bonus! Every single character received the same full and luscious backstory as the main few, a feat in and of itself! Leighton seems almost to have invented a new genre of Romantic Horror with this world. Her love stories intertwine like a Lifetime special, her drama escalates like Game of Thrones, and her imagery is equivocal to Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. With Charlotte, facing life and death decisions that may not be choices after all and the elves still up to mischief, I can’t wait to read book two and give book one four stars.

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