Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Darkness Brutal (The Dark Cycle #1)” as Want to Read:
Darkness Brutal (The Dark Cycle #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Darkness Brutal

(The Dark Cycle #1)

3.77  ·  Rating details ·  4,200 ratings  ·  438 reviews
Aidan O’Linn’s childhood ended the night he saw a demon kill his mother and mark his sister, Ava, with Darkness. Since then, every three years the demons have returned to try to claim her. Living in the gritty, forgotten corners of Los Angeles, Aidan has managed to protect his sister, but he knows that even his powers to fight demons and speak dead languages won’t keep her ...more
Kindle Edition, 425 pages
Published July 1st 2015 by Skyscape
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Darkness Brutal, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Rachel Marks Hello, Juan! Well, I don't want to give too many spoilers but I'm hoping that the readers will really like how I resolve the love triangle in this ser…moreHello, Juan! Well, I don't want to give too many spoilers but I'm hoping that the readers will really like how I resolve the love triangle in this series (I'm not the hugest fan of them but for this story I needed one. I try not to make it too annoying through the series). By Jessica I think you mean Rebecca, but she will have her own story in DARKNESS FAIR and we'll get to see deeper into her motives and what's been going on with her. Hope that helps!(less)
Red Queen by Victoria AveyardAn Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa TahirAll the Bright Places by Jennifer NivenMy Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine WargaThe Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey
YA Debuts 2015
442 books — 3,358 voters
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa TahirRed Queen by Victoria AveyardDenton Little's Deathdate by Lance   RubinJust a Drop of Water by Kerry O'Malley CerraThe Storyspinner by Becky  Wallace
Fearless Fifteeners
116 books — 309 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.77  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,200 ratings  ·  438 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Darkness Brutal (The Dark Cycle #1)
Khanh, first of her name, mother of bunnies
Keep it hidden, keep it safe. If anyone truly knew everything, it would freak them out in a large way. It freaks the shit out of me too, so I get it. I have no clue how I know this stuff, I just do. Like how I know the orders of angels and demons, or can tell on sight if an apparition is a ghost or a time slip, or if someone’s a virgin, or if they’ve ever killed anyone.

Why can’t I just know how to play Xbox or baseball?
This was a blast, and probably one of the best YA urban fantasy I've read
Leah Polcar
I am giving this two stars because the premise and set-up are interesting. While Marks combines elements from other novels and short-stories, like Neverwhere and this really kick-ass series of short stories about a detective-type guy who can see demons and rescues and "angel" this one time (which you can tell I absolutely cannot remember the name(s) of and if you actually know what I am talking about, please comment and put me out of my misery and let me have the pleasure of re-reading these s ...more
Donita Luz
This review is also available here.

**I received Darkness Brutal from Skyscape via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you.**
"I've spent my whole life trying to save people that didn't want to be saved! I've done everything to stop something inevevitable. And I failed. Every. Time." I take a shaky breath. "If it's the end of the world, there's nothing I can do anymore. I'll watch it burn."
It's almost a mainstream in every YA-paranormal books that the main character has to be h
Yzabel Ginsberg
[I received a copy through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.]

The beginning of this novel was interesting and full of promises, combining Aidan and his sister Ava being targetted by demons to a mysterious man, Sid, gathering gifted youth with abilities to see and/or touch the supernatural. Yet a few things definitely rubbed me the wrong way after a while.

Aidan as a character was fairly enjoyable. He's had a hard life, but doesn't spend his time whining about it, instead doing what he c
Emmeline (The Book Herald)
I received this ARC from Skyscape via Netgalley in return for an honest review

Hear ye, hear ye, prepareth thyself for thy new(eth?) obsession!
haha sorry that was weird but seriously, for those who love a paranormal suspense which made me reminiscent of The unbecoming of Mara Dyer then this will make you very happy!

Rating- 4.5 stars

Let's start with the plot!
"Today I'll do what I should have done that night so long ago- I'll redeem what I love. Or die trying"
Aiden has been on the run since he
Review Contains Spoilers
Aiden: I must protect Ava! And Choose between Kara and Rebecca! I wanna have sex too, dammit!

Ava: I have to protect Aiden!

Kara: I.. can’t

Rebecca: oh Aiden….

Sid: Don’t do that, Aiden, just don’t!

I’ve been trying to deny it. I told myself we’d have time, that maybe nothing would happen this year.

I wanted to stop reading this novel several time. But my curiosity is a curse. I wanted to know how badly it would end. And it ended badly alright.

The story at first did not see
I didn't like the cliffhanger.

Darkness Brutal was an interesting introduction into The Dark Cycle series. In it, you will meet Aiden. When he was younger he saw something tragic happen: his mother's death. She died from a demon.. and for some reason he thinks it's back. Not for him, but for his little sister Ava. So they are on the run and he is constantly in protection mode when it comes to her.

Then there's Kara. She was an interesting romantic interest.. because there were hints about a love t
Athena (OneReadingNurse)
I listened to the audible version of this, and first off think the narrator did a pretty entertaining job! He is not so great at female voices but it had me cracking up when Ava (an 11 year old girl) was speaking!

So, what is the book about? Aidan is an orphaned teen, with a sister in foster care...and he ends up being essentially the chosen one, the most powerful, etc, and the sister is..... part of the mystery

Honestly it's a trope that's been beaten to death but I enjoyed watching Aiden come of
Annelise Lestrange
Review originally posted on The Book Adventures of Annelise Lestrange :)

I received this copy from YA Bound Book Tours in exchange for an honest review. Let's go :D

The Story

Normal is a word that doesn’t exist on Aidan O’Linn’s dictionary. Normal was never a part of his life, as the now orphan son of a dark witch and big brother to a little girl marked by demons. Aidan himself was never normal himself, as he always saw much more than he should.

And if you think that seeing ghosts, spirits, demons a
Jun 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, netgalley, arc, kindle
Darkness Brutal is a dark and edgy, young adult, urban fantasy.

Aidan is trying to save his sister anyway he can, even if it means loosing his own life. Homeless, battling the evil looking to take his young sister, he finds a teen group of ghost hunters that take him in. It seems to good to be true, the others ghost hunters share similar abilities to route out paranormals.

The forces of good and bad will definitely collide with many caught in the crossfire.

This is not a story for the light hearted
Ellen Gail
Jun 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle, freebie
Darkness Brutal: a review in pictures
(because I am lazy, and also tired because this damn book kept me up past my bedtime!)

Liz Barnsley
I LOVED this one. Thanks to Khan for bringing it to my attention.

Darkness Brutal is a Young Adult urban fantasy story that has some really terrific and imaginative world building, a cast of eclectic characters all of whom were well drawn and emotionally connectable and a really rocketing plot with monsters and magical mayhem galore.

There were a couple of things that made this so addictive for me - first the very low key focus on romance, I often find that when there is too much "boy meets girl a
Danielle Cloakey
Jun 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I got this as a Kindle First book after looking over the other three choices and deciding on this one. I am so glad I did! I am a huge Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan and I am also a big fan of Supernatural, and Darkness Brutal reminded me so much of those two shows. I had no idea what I was in for when I started reading this book. It delighted me to no end. The editing was superb, only minimal mistakes. I wanted this book to last me more than books usually do (I am an avid reader and writer too) s ...more
Jun 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
An imaginative, engaging urban fantasy. The fantastic world, overlaid over the familiar, is interesting, different, and disturbing, as is the history and mythology behind it. Not a huge fan of the love triangle in this novel as it seems rather forced, but it doesn't occupy a large part of the story, and I'm interested in knowing the reasons behind why it exists. Really liked the sibling relationship between Aidan and Ava (reminds me a bit of River & Simon Tam), and I am looking forward to more o ...more
Nov 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Aiden has some supernatural powers that he has kept hidden for most of his life since his mother was brutally murdered by a demon. He is living on the streets and trying to keep an eye on his 11-year-old sister, Ava, who he believes the demons are after. Desperate for help, he finds himself joining a group of paranormal investigators. He begins to learn more about his powers but feels manipulated by everyone around him (with good reason). His only goal is to save Ava but it turns out that fate m ...more
Jun 06, 2015 rated it did not like it

If I could banish this book back from wherever hell it came from I would: it's such a terrible ridiculous mumbo-jumbo. They should tell the author to remove the seal of bad writing, the curse of laughable characters and the jinx of horrible story lines, and then maybe it could be readable.

I wish I could take back the time I spent reading it but unfortunately it's trapped in a vortex and can never be recovered.

Umm... this was kind of a mess. So we have Aidan, a homeless teenager who can see demons and speak about 6 languages. When he was younger, he watched a demon kill his mother and mark his sister. Now he's on a mission to keep his sister safe. The problem is, the demon's want her and they are getting closer to her. On top of that, he teams up with this group of "ghost hunter" type characters who all have paranormal gifts themselves. Their leader, Sid, believes that Aidan is the key to saving the w ...more
What an incredible unique and entertaining read.

All Aidan wants to do is keep his half sister Ava safe, and keep the demons from knowing that he sees them. Ava has been passed from foster home to foster home and Aidan is waiting till he is of age and has a safe place before he can take her. But Ava has been marked and is reaching the age when her powers will come and the demons are intent on claiming her. Aidan needs help and fast, so he goes to some people calling themselves the LA Paranormal.
Kristen Jett
I'm honestly not sure I could be MORE pleased with this book. Had the sequel been out, I'd have read it immediately. IMMEDIATELY.

What if you saw all the dangers lurking in the everyday world? And if to protect your remaining family, you had to try to pretend you couldn't? Aidan's been on the run - but while most runaways are just running from a dark past, he's running from something even darker. Deadlier. Demons. The ones who killed his mother - and want his sister.

I'm a sucker for a paranormal
Kat Heckenbach
Jul 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
I've no doubt this is going to be a hit in the YA reader community. Romance, magic, demons, and a voice that suits the genre to a T. This is the first of a series, and -- yay! -- it actually has its own story arc, rather than feeling like an extended introduction (one of my pet peeves). The writing is strong and I very much liked the main character--a male protagonist, which this genre needs more of! The supernatural elements are well thought-out, giving a rich background (although at times the ...more
Jun 28, 2015 rated it liked it
I'm not having much luck with the Kindle firsts. This was marginally better than some of the others I've read, but it still didn't quite live up to what it wanted to be.

Aidan is a decently drawn character, I just don't find teenagers particularly interesting protagonists. The love triangle and we-must-have-sex-to-save-everyone is pretty ridiculous. I find Kara amusing, she single handedly bumped my 2-star rating to 3.

The plot relies too heavily on characters withholding information from each ot
Cathy Ryan
Jul 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars

Seventeen year old Aidan O’Linn has the ability to see the spiritual world, the ghosts, demons and angels which inhabit it. Since the night his young sister, Ava, was marked by a demon, his sole purpose has been to protect her from being claimed by the darkness. The demons want her and nothing will stop them. With their mother dead and Ava in foster care, Aidan is trying to stay under the radar, living on the street and keeping his strange abilities secret. He sometimes works for eccent
Ezinwanyi Chinyere
I was really disappointed with this one. This novel featured two orphans, young man Aidan O’Linn who can see demons from other realms and his little sister Ava. They didn’t know much about their family lineage, but they knew they came from magic users. In fact, Aidan understands 5-6 languages despite never took any languages in high school including demon languages. His sister Ava can read people’s thoughts and also see bits of the future. Ava is being hunted by demons and Aidan is trying to kee ...more
Feb 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
An interesting story with lots of mystery and surprises. A bit on the younger side of YA though some blush-inducingly suggestive scenes. I enjoyed the refreshing male POV of Aiden and appreciated the combination of action during his run-ins with various demons that contrasted beautifully with his deep and caring soul. All he wants is to protect his sister Ava from the Darkness of the demon world, which seems inexplicably insistent on grabbing her on her birthday. But how can he do that when he d ...more
Briar Mitchell
May 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: done
I have to say that I did enjoy Rachel's book, Darkness Brutal. At first, I thought I might be put off about the language in the book (part of the up front disclaimer) but, it is definitely part of the character and totally works within the framework of the story.

As I got into the book, my first impression was how much this reminded me of the movie "Constantine" - particularly the description of the demons, the bar, the people haunting the bar, the way the main character sees demons and particula
Jun 03, 2015 rated it it was ok
Too many story lines without any sense. The first few chapters were quite interesting, but by the time I read half the book, I was very frustrated with the story and uninformative dialogues. The parent characters did not appeal to me at all. Especially the mother (I guess it could be translated as a constructive warning against teen pregnancy). Not to mention, this story did not deserve such a lengthy book (Could've wrapped it up in 250).
May 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
I know we probably shouldn't leave reviews until we've read the actual book, but I HAVE read the first chapter and it's brilliant.
It really grabs you and pulls you right into the action. If you go to the author's blog you can read it. There's also a club scene that's great too.

Agh, still have over a month to wait.
Rachel Marks
Oct 10, 2016 added it  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
It's on SALE for $1.99 all October!!!


Some art for the readers...

[image error]
Amanda Baird
Jun 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
A good read

I was surprised by how well written this book is. It has a good flow, a feeling of realism, and was very entertaining. I would definitely recommend it to fans of young adult supernatural fiction.
Feb 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
I would actually give this 4.5 stars. I really liked this book. The only reason I didn't give it 5 stars is because their where a few times I was pulled out of the story because of the way a transition took place. I will definitely be reading the rest of this series. ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Marked (Servants of Fate, #1)
  • Gateway to Fourline (The Fourline Trilogy, #1)
  • The Last Remnant (The Fourline Trilogy Book 3)
  • On the Meldon Plain (The Fourline Trilogy Book 2)
  • Reliquary (Reliquary, #1)
  • Mosaic (Reliquary #3)
  • Splinter (Reliquary, #2)
  • Fractured (Guards of the Shadowlands, #2)
  • The Guardian (The Immortal Dealers, #2)
  • The Curse Breakers (The Curse Keepers #2)
  • Boundary Crossed (Boundary Magic, #1)
  • Fated (Servants of Fate, #3)
  • Trail of Dead (Scarlett Bernard, #2)
  • Chaos (Guards of the Shadowlands, #3)
  • The Serpent (The Immortal Dealers, #1)
  • Sanctum (Guards of the Shadowlands, #1)
  • Dead Spots (Scarlett Bernard, #1)
  • Claimed (Servants of Fate, #2)
See similar books…
Rachel A. Marks is an award-winning author and professional artist, a SoCal girl, cancer survivor, a surfer and dirt-bike rider, chocolate lover and keeper of faerie secrets. She was voted: Most Likely to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse, but hopes she'll never have to test the theory. Her debut series The Dark Cycle, described as Dickens' Oliver Twist meets TV's Supernatural, begins with the Ama ...more

Other books in the series

The Dark Cycle (3 books)
  • Darkness Fair (The Dark Cycle, #2)
  • Darkness Savage (The Dark Cycle, #3)

Related Articles

Sarah J. Maas is an author who almost needs no introduction, at least in the world of young and new adult fiction. She's a multiple New York...
221 likes · 27 comments
“The demon is crouched in the corner, between the Cheetos and the onion dip. It’s a small one, only about four feet tall: a low-level creeper. I flick my gaze over the spot like I don’t see it and open the cooler door to get a Coke.” 3 likes
“Because we are not wrestling against basar vadahm (flesh and blood), but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of the choshech (darkness) of the Olam Hazeh (physical world), against the kokhot ruchaniyim ra’im (evil spiritual forces) in Shomayim (The Heavens).” ~ Ephesus 6:12” 1 likes
More quotes…