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Of Light and Darkness #1

Of Light and Darkness

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A stunning debut that is a fiercely imaginative, multilayered dark fantasy for fans of The Bear and the Nightingale.

Raised among a secret society of Witches, Shifters, and Elves, human-born 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 in this coming-of-age modern fairy tale is slim. After Charlotte captures the attention of the young Elven prince, her scorn results in an all-out war between light and darkness.

Charlotte knows no other home than the one nestled deep in the woods of the Czech Republic, where Witches draw spells of enchantment, Shifters throw tea parties, and Elves are the closest in kin. But as genocide and war threatens life as she knows it, Charlotte will fight for what she believes in...truth, bravery, and most importantly...love. Fighting with a coven of rogue monsters is tougher than it seems, but she will stop at nothing to save them...and she'll do it before the sun comes up and light takes over forever.

Filled with Slavic folklore, Of Light and Darkness is the first part of an epic series not to be missed!.

400 pages, Kindle Edition

First published June 26, 2011

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About the author

Shayne Leighton

11 books328 followers
With over a decade of experience in the entertainment and publishing industries, Shayne Leighton is a creative professional with edge and quirkiness. Her debut novel, Of Light and Darkness hit Amazon's coveted Top 100 overall bestsellers list once during the fall of 2015, and again in the summer of 2016, reaching the #4 spot. Having a background in film science, Shayne has produced book trailers and marketing materials for New York Times bestselling authors and major publishers such as Cynthia Leitich Smith (Tantalize, Candlewick Press), Alex Flinn (Towering, Harper Teen), and Kimberley Griffiths Little (When The Butterflies Came, Scholastic Press). She strives to be the Guillermo del Toro of the publishing industry, knowing what works visually and creatively to make stories a stunning experience that is visual, just as it is intellectual. She spends most of her time working on things that excite her, drinking coffee, traveling to the Czech Republic where she always finds new inspiration, and discovering hole-in-the-wall bookstores and coffee shops on her random adventures. Shayne is a Libra and a Ravenclaw. Her favorite book is The Night Circus (though soon it may be Six of Crows). Her wand is made out of Hazel wood with a Unicorn hair core 12 1/4" long and reasonably supple flexibility. Her patronus is a robin. Find out more about Shayne, her books, music, and design work at www.ShayneRocks.com

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5 stars
330 (24%)
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365 (27%)
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361 (27%)
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173 (12%)
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107 (8%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 253 reviews
Profile Image for Kristerrn!.
60 reviews36 followers
October 25, 2012
Okay so lets start of with their relationship. It was creepy with a capital C. Seriously this dude is like her adoptive dad, why the hell would he see her as anything other than his daughter. The story was good I liked the way it wasn't just vamps against vamps, there where elves, witches and even spider people (which I loooved). I don't know this story just didn't appeal to me despite it having some of my favourite creatures in. I found myself getting increasingly bored with the story, it was taking all my effort just to read it. Don't get me wrong this was a nice little book and did have some fresh takes on the whole vampire thing (like dying a gruesome death every night). I loved finding out about some of the mystical creatures I hadn't heard about before (such as the spider dude). I didn't get the whole war between the vamps and elves, there was no explanation to how the feud started in the first place. A nice bit of background would have been extremely nice. The whole relationship just cast a shadow over this book for me, I'me sure I would have loved it if not for it making my skin crawl. It wasn't the fact that they got together, they're not related so technically there wasn't anything wrong with it. And I did kind of get over it, its just that they kept switching their roles, one minute they where alll 'ohh we're lovers, lets kiss each other crazy' and then the next its all 'Ohh my lovely little lottie, my dear sweet child'. It was confusing and icky. I could have dealt with it if they where clear on what they where to each other. Anyways others have loved this book but it just wasn't for me. I'd advise you all to make your own opinion of this book because its just been one of them days :/
Profile Image for Shelly Crane.
Author 34 books5,815 followers
February 20, 2016
Okay, I want to preface this review by saying a big "Wow, I was surprised."

I'm not really sure what I was expecting going in. From the synopsis and because it's a vampire book, I was expecting something super dark and broody. Oh, and Mrs. Leighton definitely gave us dark and broody. BUT she also gave us some of the sweetest romance I've had the pleasure of reading in a while. Which is awesome. It's an AMAZING break from the usual bad boy, jerk, drama, whatever that's going on in books these days. It's a real vampire book so the vampires are gruesome sometimes. There were things that definitely weren't pretty in the book, but that's not ALL the book was. It was a well-rounded book for sure. It's a YA novel that left behind a lot of the dramas that are used a lot in books and brought us a young girl set in a strange world...but still just a normal, young girl! I loved it. She still wanted the same thing normal girls wanted from her monster.

Charlotte was an awesome, badass leading little lady. She was strong and took So much more than I could have. She was pretty level-headed while still keeping that young teen-aged mindset. She still thought in a young way and approached things in the way a young person would, and made a couple decisions that she regretted of course, but it didn't take her very long to make the connection and turn things around. She was a smart girl who had been put in a position of taking care of someone so she felt like she was older than she was. She was a fascinating, SO strong, lovely character.

And Valek. Oh, Valek. I toyed with him for a while, but by the end of the book, I was pretty happy with him. He was one of those tortured souls who wanted to protect her, but once he saw how much he was hurting Charlotte, he turned around pretty quick. I so dug his protective vibe. And he could be so incredibly sweet.

The action was non-stop. There always seemed to be something going on or something on the horizon. And the romantic/sweet/kissy times were same. They were spread out and paced well. I was never bored. I sent Shayne an email and moaned about my lost night of sleep because there really wasn't a good place to put it down. And when an author can bring surprises for me, that's always a plus.

All in all, 5 stars from me!

An absolutely unstoppable love story in an unputdownable book. So many twists and surprises I could barely take a breath!
Profile Image for Candace Charee'.
1 review2 followers
February 27, 2011
Of Light and Darkness Is a beautiful magical story that captures you from the first sentence. Shayne has done a most terrific job of bringing you into the story and making you feel as if you were right there with the characters. This book will make you cry, laugh, be afraid and feel pure joy! It is honestly one of the very best books I have ever read! It is master crafted in such a way that gives you hope that there ARE great books out there since Twilight lol I give this book not 5 stars but 50 stars!!! You are all in for a giant surprise!! This book will be a new york times best seller!!! LOVEEEEE IT!

ps Just wait till you see this Book on the big screen!!!!! A new film based off this amazing book is in Development :)))
Profile Image for Laura.
1 review3 followers
April 3, 2013
Yet another disappointing vampire read. While Shayne has very lively prose, and is a decent writer, the subject matter of this novel is appalling; I would never give this book to any teen girl (or any woman) to read as it's one of the most anti-feminist (i.e. romanticizes lack of female empowerment, exemplifies female submission) YA books that I've read in a long time. Themes present within the book; female submission (CONSTANTLY) and sacrifice in light of male wants/needs, female sexuality/innocence valued more than intellectual strength, extreme sexual objectification of women (blood doll, forced marriage, male selected attire), and incestual grooming by male protagonist (yikes). Add in some tired cliches, female co-dependency, and static characters (no justification for "special-ness" of male protag, he just "is that way"), and this book was a shocking letdown.
Profile Image for Heather *sad DNF queen*.
Author 17 books430 followers
Shelved as 'nevermind'
January 19, 2017
Admittedly I didn't make it very far into this before deciding to DNF, but I had some suspicions about where the story was going, so I checked out some reviews. And, unfortunately, I was right. So yeah, I noped the hell out of there.
Profile Image for Alaina.
5,936 reviews216 followers
December 13, 2021
Of Light and Darkness was an interesting fairytale to jump into. We get to meet some Elves, vampires, witches, and a mortal or two. Okay, just one mortal: Charlotte. She currently lives with a vampire that rescued her when she was just a baby, Valek. Her main job is to bring him some "willing" victims for him to feed on. Willing would be a very loose term in this situation but details.

If you thought that these two would be living their best lives without any sort of drama... well, you would be dead wrong. Enter Aiden. Now he's a little douche canoe who was obsessed with Charlotte. He absolutely hated her living with Valek and wasn't a huge fan of her liking him either. So, when he got the chance to mess with her fates... he did.

WELL, technically he got his mom to do his dirty work, but it ended up failing. I also really hated how he abused her publicly. He deserved a swift kick to his nutsack and a good throat punch too. I wasn't completely shocked with what happened before he became the lord douchebag either. I hope he gets more karma in the next book too.

In the end, I just need more karma lol. Maybe a dash of revenge too.
Profile Image for Liz at Midnight Bloom Reads.
369 reviews100 followers
January 20, 2016
I wanted to fall in love with Shayne Leighton's updated re-release of Of Light and Darkness, I really did. Any NA urban fantasy pitched as featuring paranormal creatures, spellbinding romance, and suspense is bound to capture my attention. Unfortunately, while Of Light and Darkness was very earnest in trying to sweep me away into a fantasy world, it didn't quite succeed...

It took me awhile to warm up to Charlotte and Valek as a romantic couple, mostly because I didn't really believe in their feelings for each other in that regard. I would've liked to have seen the transition of their feelings from guardian and ward to something much deeper as lovers. It didn't help that Charlotte seemed to romanticize Valek as a vampire, and that the moment his darker nature was revealed, she feared and doubted him. She's read factual information about vampires, has lived with Valek all her life, and even leads stray travelers to their home for Valek to drink/drain their blood, yet how could she still be so truly ignorant?

And there isn't a love triangle in Of Light and Darkness! I found that misleading about the book's plot description. A childhood friend, Aiden, has convinced himself he loves Charlotte, but those feelings are certainly not returned. As an elf who finds himself in a powerful position within the Regime, he's been raised to believe vampires are his enemy; it fuels his determination to keep Charlotte and Valek apart.

But where I had misgivings about the main characters, Of Light and Darkness made up for it with its world-building. I loved the idea of Occult Cities, that there are hidden, magical communities near human cities like Prague, where much of the novel is set. It's a world where elves, witches, shapeshifters, vampires, and more can live openly without the risk of discovery by humans.

But the Regime, ruled by elves who wield powerful elemental magic, have begun waging a campaign against vampires, spreading fear, limiting their blood sources, and even more horrifically, exposing them to the sun to die. Valek and Charlotte are inevitably caught up in the persecutions when the Regime finds them in the Bohemian Occult City, and must fight for not only their love, but also their very survival.

Honestly, I'm very torn how I feel about Of Light and Darkness. My lack of connection to Charlotte and Valek meant I got off to rough start with the book, and it affected the rest of my reading experience. I would get sidetracked reading other books and then return to Of Light and Darkness, hoping that I'd feel something more for Charlotte and Valek, but I never really did. But then there would be scenes filled with beautiful descriptions, capturing the magical essence of the book, and I would be encouraged to give the book another chance. In any case, my mixed thoughts about Of Light and Darkness make me hesitant to recommend the book and continue with the series.

** An ebook was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.**
Profile Image for A.J. Vrana.
Author 5 books158 followers
May 14, 2020
In Of Light and Darkness, Shayne Leighton delivers a thrilling adventure following Valek the Vampire and his human ward, Charlotte, as they face off against the tyrannical regime of occult Prague. The inversion of darkness and light is fresh, and Leighton’s deliciously twisted imagination births an ominous and enchanting world that lurks only a hair’s breadth from our own—invisible yet there. Prague—the occult city—is thick with atmosphere, drawing together the very best of Western urban fantasy with the dark charms of Slavic lore. Streets lined with jack-o'-lanterns, bewitching markets, and wicked borderlands patrolled by lycanthropes await all those who fall between the cracks and find themselves in this magical city.

With a motley crew of characters, each unique in their struggles, Leighton delivers an array of complex entanglements that will be sure to satisfy. Political intrigue abound, the reader will gasp at the various twists brought about by messy, flawed characters with sometimes less-than-saintly motivations. While Valek and Charlotte grapple with their complicated, changing relationship, the creatures of the dark—marginalized by the regime’s tyranny—find themselves dwindling and powerless. When Charlotte’s grave error leads the regime to Valek’s door, they must join forces with this rag-tag crew to fight for freedom.

Of particular note is the villain, whose journey I savored every step of the way. At first unimposing, he is compelling precisely because he is so misguided, his personal desires leading him down a path of catastrophic destruction. His mother’s doting and indulgence catalyze an impatient, entitled, and misogynistic young man who unleashes his unbridled rage on the woman he claims to love, leading him to commit unspeakable acts. Her enabling—all done with an eerie smile—gives a taste of true horror, her terrifying resolve to make her son happy at any cost an unsettling testament to bad parenting with a capital B. His father’s absenteeism and cold criticism fuel the villain’s delusions of grandeur, transforming personal traumas into monstrous political schemes. All in all, the familial baggage draws attention to the way villains are truly born—not in malice or biblical notions of evil, but in good intentions and stubborn, misguided principles.

I am excited to see how this villain will transform in the coming books, and how Charlotte and Valek’s relationship grows in the face of adversity.
Profile Image for Booknut 101.
849 reviews917 followers
February 22, 2012
Unbelievably wonderful! I am NOT a fan of vamp novels - ever since the fateful Bella/Edward gag - but this has re-awoken the old-fashioned vampire-who-knows-his-own-demons and yet has some sort of morals or feelings. I loved every minute of it. My fav character is Sarah. If there was ever a movie I bags being her; a witch with curly brown hair (like mine!) and the ability to kick some serious bad guy ass! I loved, loved, loved it!!

Only criticism? I loved Adrian and yet he was made to look bad.
Profile Image for Natalie Star.
Author 4 books127 followers
August 21, 2011
A vampire finds an abandoned human baby - and takes her in to raise her?... okay that concept drew me in. This is Shayne's debut novel so I wasn't sure what to expect. I loved the story and enjoyed the characters. She is heavy on the descriptions and usually that throws me off when I am reading a story, but the way she writes sucked me in. There were no problems with the pacing. If you like vampire reads this is a must for you :)
Profile Image for Heather.
93 reviews2 followers
February 21, 2018
First off let me give a huge thank you to Shayne for giving me a copy of this AMAZING book for an honest review.

Wow..just wow. This book left me speechless. It has been a long time sine I've found such an enticing vampire read--and I'm obsessed with vampires. BUT not only does this book have vampires but it has all different types of supernatural beings such as witches, werewolves, elves, shifters, etc. which makes it even more amazing.

Charlotte is our main character of this story. She lives with a vampire named Valek who saved her as an infant and hides her in their magical world vs the mortal world. She is no longer a child but an adult and feelings have arisen that can't be ignored. Which makes the everything a little messy. She is a complete bad ass and goes through some very tough hardships. She never tries to be a damsel in distress even though she gets treated as such sometimes.

Valek is the swoon worthy vampire of this tale. And what I loved is that it was not an insta romance there was actual build up to the realization of feelings and romance.

There are so many more amazing characters in this book. One of my favorites is ironic since I'm terrified of spiders--lol.

This book had non stop action mixed with romance mixed in. It was written perfectly. This was definitely a 5/5 stars for me. I can't wait to continue the series. Thank you so much for an AMAZING read Shaye! Can't wait for book 2!
Profile Image for Kanwarpal Singh.
1,931 reviews41 followers
February 3, 2022
Raised among a secret society of Witches, Shifters, and Elves, human-born Charlotte Ruzikova with vampire guardian 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 in this coming-of-age modern fairy tale is slim. After Charlotte captures the attention of the young Elven prince, her scorn results in an all-out war between light and darkness.

Charlotte knows no other home than the one nestled deep in the woods of the Czech Republic, where Witches draw spells of enchantment, Shifters throw tea parties, and Elves are the closest in kin. But as genocide and war threatens life as she knows it, Charlotte will fight for what she believes in...truth, bravery, and most importantly...love. Fighting with a coven of rogue monsters is tougher than it seems, but she will stop at nothing to save them...and she'll do it before the sun comes up and light takes over forever.

She lost her memory , abducted , about to forced wed to another prince but things changes as magic charms start to slow down and she remembers the past and she returned to her home where she being raised and occult city adventures, and secrets death of vampire case resolved too.
Profile Image for Janean.
50 reviews2 followers
April 20, 2018
Let me preface this review by letting you know that I received a free electronic copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

I took my time writing this review. It was something that I wanted to allow myself to stew on for a little while before I shared my thoughts with the rest of the reading world. This book, in and of itself, is not a bad book, however, I did have some major problems with it that caused me to not feel as strongly about it as I would have liked to have done.

Let me set the scene for you first and foremost: Of Light and Darkness takes place in the rural Czech Republic, in mostly the modern day, quite near to the capital city of Prague. Leighton does a fantastic job of introducing us to her magical world, and it's inhabitants, that cohabitate in our very mortal world alongside us, yet unseen in our mortal, day-to-day lives. Save for one very special mortal girl, that is, named Charlotte. Charlotte was taken in by a vampire by the name of Valek and has been raised in a world of the Occult; an enchanted village that is unbeknownst to mortals that is made up of witches, elves, vampires, fae, fairies, and the like. However, the town is becoming full of increasing unrest as campaigns continue to plague the magical community with countless, unspeakable reports of atrocities that continue to befall the Occult at the hands of the vampires. Many citizens are unaware, but it is a full-on war between the Light and the Dark.

There are so many ways in which I wanted to love this book. Fantasy elements? Check. A various assortment of fantastical races of creatures? Check. A quite sound parallel between, historical elements and the magical world created by the author? Check.

By all rights, this book should have had me hook, line, and sinker! The sad reality is, within the first three chapters I became extremely uncomfortable. Why do you ask? It's because of the glaring Oedipal relationship between the two main characters. Yes, between Valek, the adoptive father, and Charlotte, the adopted daughter. The whole relationship was quite one-sided until Valek too decided he had the creepy hots for his adopted daughter. The relationship would not have made me so uncomfortable, had the dynamic not been anything other than father-daughter before this point. But it was. And it's gross and oh-so-wrong.

Moving past good old Oedipus, I enjoyed most of the story. I was engaged and found that I was interested in what was coming next. Again, however, I must bring in the "but" to interrupt my review.

While the story was quite enjoyable an entertaining, and I will not deny that Leighton put a lot of time into her world-building, I found too many times in the story where I had to jump back and re-read a section. Normally, having to go back and read something again, in and of itself, is not a problem. However, the reason I would go back and re-read constantly is that I thought I was actually missing something. As it turns out, there were literally just parts of the plot that ran away with the author. Things that would jump out of nowhere, like, for instance, a birthday party. One moment the group is having a very serious conversation about danger and how they are going to approach the enemy, and then, suddenly, Sarah rambles on about people not daring to spoil the surprise (yes, I get it, vampires can read minds and all in this book, but there was ZERO indication that a birthday party was going to happen, and as a reader, instead of feeling surprised, I felt drunk when the party finally hit me out of nowhere).

On the whole, it was not an entirely unpleasant book. If you are willing to look past the uncomfortable situation of an adopted child being in lusty, lusty love with her adopted father who, approximately half-way through the book decides he also has the hots for her back (and we blame it all on being soul mates *gags*), this does have the potential to be a good-ish book. I will be the first to acknowledge that everyone is into different things, and perhaps, unlike me, you will not be driven away by this weird dynamic being the centrally focused relationship. Oh wait, there is also a raging doucher of a "nice-guy" elf. I suppose it's nice to see that some things supersede the ties of morality.

All in all, because I am not able to give half stars on Goodreads, I would rate this book as 3/5, but hope you know it's actually a solid 2.5 stars.
Profile Image for Dawn Vanniman.
194 reviews8 followers
November 2, 2011
Finally, a vampire that acts like a vampire. I mean, Valek needs blood to survive and he doesn't hid it and he doesn't hesitate to do what he has to do to get it. Valek rescued a human child about twenty years ago and now she's all grown up and doesn't look at Valek as a father figure anymore. She's realizing that he's quite the catch and is ready to take on the challenge of being with a vampire. Charlotte is no wimpy girl, she holds her own against werewolves, elves, vampires and witches.

The setting for the story is inside and just outside of Prague, a city that seems to be getting a lot of attention in new releases lately. I think it's history lends itself to lots of paranormal stories, it's wonderful to visit someplace new! There are cities called "Occult Cities" where all the magical folks live and they aren't allowed to leave their cities, the elves passed that law. But if vampires don't leave, they can't feed. For years, Charlotte has done the initial hunting for Valek, but now the elves are out for her too.

Of course Valek and Charlotte can't just fall in love and live happily ever after. The elves are the light-bearers in this universe and they've decided to destroy all the vampires as they are hateful and live in the dark. The biggest problem is that the next in line for the throne is Aiden, an elf who grew up with Charlotte and who is infatuated with her and determined to keep her from Valek.

The setting for the story is inside and just outside of Prague, a city that seems to be getting a lot of attention in new releases lately. I think it's history lends itself to lots of paranormal stories, it's wonderful to visit someplace new! There are cities called "Occult Cities" where all the magical folks live and they aren't allowed to leave their cities, the elves passed that law. But if vampires don't leave, they can't feed. For years, Charlotte has done the initial hunting for Valek, but now the elves are out for her too.

This is the author's debut book and I think she's done a delightful job. My e-reader let me know that my tv was lonely as I was reading this book instead of watching tv during primetime. :) I think that's a good indication of how wonderful the story is...I gave up watching Big Bang Theory just to finish it. ;)
Profile Image for TheBookPlatypus.
800 reviews117 followers
December 16, 2020
I want to say, I normally don’t read YA. But I saw this book being recommended on Ticktock of all places as a fantastic paranormal/fated mates series and I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed this. Especially for being PG compared to my normal reads.

“Valek, who had found and rescued her from a life of abandonment, was neither man nor monster.”

Valek is a vampire who found an abandoned human baby girl in the human realm and decided to take her in. He was after all lonely for the last 100 years.
“That night, I’d found meaning. I’d found her. I was to be alone no more.”

Fast forward almost 19 years, vampires are getting a really bad reputation and this magical realm full of witches, lycans, elves, and other unworldly beasts coexists are hesitating to keep accepting Valek. They’re also afraid for Charlottes life.

This story is FULL of different characters that at times I had to scroll back and remind myself who that person was and their roll in the story. Some didn’t and they felt like fillers to bulk the story a bit.
However, this story is full of great world building and magic. This author has an extremely creative imagination. I enjoyed reading about transportation spells and memory control leeches.

I know a few comments were sceeved out about this being a taboo/incestious romance. I can assure you it’s 100% NOT that. Valek and Charlotte are not related. Not once does Charlotte call Valek, daddy. They do NOT have a taboo daughter/daddy kink going on. Like at all. This book actually had like 1% steam. Valek sees himself as her ward.
They do love each other. They are fated to each other.
It’s not gross or weird like some comments made it out to be. The author was extremely tasteful in building their relationship as lovers.

With that said, this book is pact full of drama, suspense, and action. It kept building and building and exploded at the end. It leaves off with an HEA for now. Clearly with a second book coming.

Profile Image for Kristin  Reads.
682 reviews14 followers
November 16, 2014
I am giving this book 4.5 Star....

Wow.. I absolutely loved this book. It was a complete thrill ride. I loved the taboo romance, the war between light and dark. I loved the dip into a fantasy world that felt so real page after page.

This book had so many incredible layers to it. First Shayne writing was
hands down AMAZING. This book was so beautifully written. The book contained so many dimensions.

I loved the look into a man who believed he was the ultimate "monster", however, I as a reader fell in love with his underlying beautiful character. He's love and devotion for Charlotte was spell bounding.

Charlotte, I felt her confusion for the love she had for Valek, was he father or was he lover. I loved how some books push the level of comfort up and down. But, man did these two have such a beautiful love.

I could not read this book fast enough. It had EVERYTHING that makes for a great book. Heart-pounding, thrill ride, romantic journey, and fantasy seeker this is such a great book for you... I can not wait to continue to read the next book...
Profile Image for Rachael Hansen.
65 reviews7 followers
March 7, 2018
An amazing read! It had everything you could ask for in a book! A good story line, magic, romance, and drama. Of Light and Darkness shows you the darker more grim side of the life of a vampire in a semi isolated magical world. Light and dark does not necessarily mean good and bad. I can't wait for the next book in April!

Spoiler warning!!! To avoid spoiler do not continue to read this review. You have been warned 😊

I'm still not sure how I feel about Valek and Charlotte relationship. I'm not going to lie it's definitely a little weird. I totally get falling for a vampire but he raised her. Yes he wasnt a real father figure making her do what she had to do to help him survive but you could at least consider him to be a uncle or big brother not a lover..... It started to grow on me a little by the end of the book but I was definitely team Aiden until he started to man handle Charlotte. Valek gave him what he deserved. I think I'm having a book bad guy thing lol the last few books I've read lately I've like the bad guy more than the good guy 😂
Profile Image for Lisa (littlemeadowreads).
207 reviews15 followers
March 3, 2018
*3.5 stars

Of light and darkness is an interesting book. The title already implies that a contrast between light and darkness will play a role in the story; like any good title it does portray its story pretty well. It is the story of a human girl Charlotte who was found by the vampire Valek when she was a baby. She grows up in an occult city where she is the only mortal among mythical creatures, like elves and witches.

Firstly, I got a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I have not read a vampire book since Twilight (aka a very long time ago) and still the story is definitely a bit different from the Twilight story. Basically, Charlotte grows up to be a pretty young lady with a vampire guardian. She lives at night and hunts down helpless humans so that she can lure them back to Valek’s place (Valek cannot go beyond the borders of the occult city due to the laws the elves have enforced). Where Stephenie Meyer chose to plaint a very romantic picture of vampires, Shayne Leighton wrote down a more gruesome and grotesque version of the night creatures. The leaders of the supernatural population are ruled by magic yielding elves. They basically are planning genocide to get ride of the vampires altogether. Valek and Charlotte get involved in this nasty situation since the heir of the Elven throne as an unhealthy obsession with Charlotte and Valek has a dark past. The plot was pretty original. I have not read a book quite like it. It took me a while to get into the story. However, when I did I really enjoyed it.

I enjoyed the characters. Charlotte was a brave little thing. Valek was everything you want in a charming vampire. However, I was very confused by their relationship. Since Valek found Charlotte when she was a baby, I thought he would have raised her and would be more of a father figure. Things became very awkward when it becomes clear that Charlotte is in love with Valek. This was my biggest problem with the story. Most of the other villagers thought that Valeks and Charlotte relationship was purely fatherly, which made my discomfort worse. However, it became clear that he never saw her as his daughter and never really bored with raising her since she was in the care of Elven mother (or that is how I interpreted). Although it did not completely distinguish my feelings I came to think of it as an older family friend who suddenly sees the little girl he watched growing up was now a beautiful young woman (it happens!). It still stayed uncomfortable for me. I did enjoy the sweetness of Valek towards Charlotte.

Of the side characters, Sarah was my favourite. She was quite sassy for a vampire’s house witch and I loved the way she treated Charlotte. She was a nice addition to the story. Aiden – the heir to the elven throne – was an obvious villain. He has some big issues, one of them hunting Charlotte to force her to be his wife. Personally, I think his characterization could have been more interesting if he had some desirable characteristics. Him being completely evil and completely obsesses with his own visions made him a pretty boring villain.

Since this is marketed as a modern fairy tale, I was a bit disappointed with the writing style. The writing is not bad at all. It definitely has some beautiful phrases in there. However, it was not the whimsical writing style you commonly see in fairy tales. With that being said, I really appreciated the more grotesque version of vampires that the author gave us. It is not a pretty lifestyle and I loved the original adjustments like daily death etc. Although there are some intense moments in the story, it is not a horror book. I am a chicken myself and I would never have read it if it was scary.

Thus, I really enjoyed the story even though the beginning made me very uncomfortable. The author still managed to suck me into the story and emphasize with Charlotte. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys supernatural romances and is a more gruesome characterization of vampires.
Profile Image for Justmybookishlife.
74 reviews13 followers
March 3, 2018
First off I went into this book from the publishing company not know much at all and wasn’t disappointed. It was a real vampire book, some part where dark and bloody but there was just enough and stuck to typical vampy stuff...they definitely didn’t sparkle.

Charlotte was a breath of fresh air, most YA books can have such childish female leads but she was your normal character who made some mistakes but also learned from them. She had her badass moments that had me cheering her on!

I also loved Valek, and his name! I’ve never seen that one before! He wasn’t your normal bad boy vamp, he actually cared about how his actions effected Thanks Charlotte and I love the right level of protectiveness that he had in the last half of the book.

I gave this book 3 stars because I love the concept and characters there was just two tiny moments I got kinda bored and wanted to skip ahead a bit.
Profile Image for Elizabeth Mathis.
469 reviews53 followers
July 14, 2016
Shayne Leighton's stunning New Adult debut is a fiercely imaginative, multilayered dark fantasy where Alice In Wonderland meets Anne Rice's Interview With The Vampire in a story about a girl caught between two societies . . . two magic sides . . . and two loves.

Charlotte is the only mortal in a society of beasts and nightmarish things. By night, she hunts other humans to satiate her Vampire guardian. By day, she struggles to find her place of belonging among the magic and monsters.
But when war conflicts her peaceful, however odd little life, she must fight for love and survival the only way she knows how...
...with her blood.

Rating: 3.75/5 Penguins
Quick Reasons: romance?! NO, this is a roMESS! it's like...a love square meets a love triangle, if that makes sense? (and it's epic); fated soulmates; vampires and wizards!; this is "light versus dark" tale taken to the extreme; a new spin on several old tropes; love the creative twist to vampire lore Shayne Leighton uses; some major grammatical errors brought the score down a bit for me

I...don't even know what I just read, but I ADORED it and now need the second book ASAP. Is it September yet? I need book two!

"Is that why you put her in with the monsters?" Aiden mumbled. "Because you believe she is one?"

"Apprentice... matters of the heart are complicated. They drive a perfectly happy man to madness."

I just... I HAVE to start with the romance, because it's epic, guys. Seriously, I tried explaining this drama to the hubs while reading, and I was like... "It's like, it's like..." And the hubs? Sort of smirked. "It's a mess!" he said. So...yes. This is NOT romance. It's a roMESS, and I loved every single moment of it, mostly because it was SO entertaining and amusing. Like seriously, everyone's in love with the vampire...except that one dude who's in love with the vampire's charge. It was insanity, and awesome, and I giggled every time any of the characters fought over any of the other characters, which seemed to happen every chapter. It was just... gah! GAAAAH! I thoroughly loved how far off the beaten love-triangle track Shayne Leighton took this book. So many kudos to her!

There are some very annoying grammatical things happening in this read that, ultimately, took my rating down just a notch. The commas, guys. The commas are EVERYWHERE, and not always in the ways they should be. There are repeated words (as in, "for that" might be repeated twice in a row in the middle of a sentence). And while these things did not detract from my enjoyment of the read or entertainment of the story...it was a LOT, in the end. And I noticed pretty much all of them, which--for just a second!--effectively broke my enthrallment.

Charlotte had the feeling Evangeline was up to something. Guilt lived in every move she made. It was so tangible, it might as well have been a dagger in her hand.

And Valek? Valek was Caesar.

But I WAS enthralled, and I was entertained, and I giggled like a maniac more than once. Shayne Leighton brought a lot of spunk and creativity to the "light vs. dark" battle in this book--and squashed the idea that there are no unique stories to tell left in the world. This book is unique in every way that matters. Vampire lore is built upon in a different way, love triangles are squashed and then recreated... This entire book was one large, awesome journey.

And the actual romance--the one this book focuses on? It's forbidden love, taken to the extreme. It's "guardian turned lover." It's sweet, and tender, and makes several romances I've read recently pale vastly in comparison. It's realistic, while so much of this book is magical. This romance is fated...but written so beautifully, you'll forgive that tiny detail. The rest of the characters, as well, are beautifully-rounded. Each has a purpose. Each draws you further into the story--even those you come to loathe, and I promise, there's at least one that I started out liking only to realize, several chapters farther, I actually REALLY hated.

The moon retreated to the underbelly of the earth, dawn's army of light invading over the horizon. I would be dying soon. Once more, it was time for me to return home--to my prison of supernatural things to which I was condemned.

This whole read was a wild, fascinating journey, and I am SO glad I took a chance on this book. While there are some annoying grammatical issues, they did not, in the end, detract from my enthrallment in the least. The prose is not necessarily "flowery"...but it's gorgeous, all the same, with some sobering, wise pearls hidden in the mix. The characters are well-rounded, snarky, and entertaining...and romance? No. From now on, this book will be considered a roMESS in my mind--and I don't mean that in a bad way at all! If you like vampire/mortal love stories, fantastically magical journeys, and light vs. dark battles, this is the perfect read for you! Trust me--it's worth picking up!
Profile Image for Deborah.
3,287 reviews429 followers
January 27, 2016

Valek is a vampire who finds a baby abandoned on the streets of Prague, now he shouldn't have been anywhere near Prague in the first place since the Regime's first law states any Occult Creature must never expose himself to any mortal and this obviously includes entering a human city but Valek's here and he can't ignore the baby so he takes her home.
Charlotte has never known anything else, she's been raised amongst the supernatural and for eighteen years this has been her life but life is becoming more difficult as the Regime seem intend on making it impossible for vampires to feed.
So far so good but I have very mixed feeling about this book and I'll try my best to explain why.
Firstly I loved the idea behind this book, magic villages where vampires, elves, witches and shifters etc all live and work together.
I struggled with the vampires and this could just be me but I have a romanticised view when it comes to them and in this book they suffer death again and again every morning.
Also due to the Regimes restrictions vampires are not allowed into human cities so Charlotte has to go out nightly and find 'food' for Valek. The people she brings back are drained completely which again I wasn't keen on but again that's just me it does make this a slightly darker more interesting read.
I also struggled initially with the changing relationship between Valek and Charlotte, he's raised her from birth and it was a bit creepy to find their relationship turning to romance, this could have been partly due to the fact that Valek seems very cold and almost indifferent towards her at times but since I am a hopeless romantic I soon became resigned that this was the way the book was going and I went along with it.
I wasn't sure at first about Valek and Charlotte since the blurb gives the impression of a love triangle of sorts.
Personally I needed more for this relationship to truly work for me, I didn't actually really like either character that much and while they did grow on me a bit it wasn't enough for me to be fully invested in them individually or as a couple.
I was also frustrated that the Regime seem to have been given almost free reign to have amassed such power.
It's worth mentioning there's a lot of mistakes in this book and it makes reading a little difficult, I kept going back and having to re-read parts, it's not major but I've put a couple of examples below:
1 - Her grasped both sides of her face.
2 - But I do not regret going what I did for you.
These were just chosen at random to give you an idea, like I said they're not huge but because of these the book doesn't flow as well as it should and slows down reading.
This all sounds very negative and that's not my intention, while at times I found myself a bit bored and skimming I never really considered not finishing this book.
The world that's been created here is fascinating and it has so much potential, it's more than it appears to be, it's well thought out with layers and nuances, little twists and surprises and well worth a read.
I'm a picky reader I know I am and I truly wish I wasn't, so many times I'll read fabulous reviews and wish I could feel the same way about the book in question, I've tried but it's not the way I am and therefore I try to write as honest a review as I can trying to look at both the good and the not so good and all things considered this is a strong 3 stars for me.

Profile Image for Suzanne .
616 reviews165 followers
March 6, 2013
A high 3.5 stars, but not quite 4

This may be one of the more disturbing YA books that I've read but I did really enjoy it and Shayne had no trouble holding my attention from the word go. But it wasn't perfect, and I did have my issues with it. There were some mistakes I noticed, not spelling or grammer, but one thing being said at one stage and then this being completely changed later on. Like at one point, Valek doesn't want Charlotte in the room when he is going to "sleep" because he's most volatile at this time and might attack her, but later, it's ok for her to lie in a coffin with him for this.

The vampire Valek finds Charlotte as an abandoned baby on the streets of Prague, takes her home and raises her like a daughter. Makes him sound like one of the nice, romanticised vampires right? But no, he's actually quite disgusting. As we first meet eighteen year old Charlotte, she is out hunting for a human for Valek, as he's not allowed to pass beyond the walls of the occult, she isn't noticed as no humans are supposed to be on the inside.

She's also developing quite an un-daughterly like crush on Valek, which he eventually comes to return. Quite disturbing!! But, I feel these characters changed completely under the strenuous circumstances that they find themselves in, and as we don't really see much interaction as parent and child, I had to keep reminding myself of this. I couldn't really invest in the whole romance between them, but I could of course, understand how they would love each other. But then predicaments that Charlotte finds herself in because of Valek, leaves me questioning that love.

Charlotte, unsurprisingly, is not like other eighteen year old girls, having been raised by a vampire, and not being too bothered by him drinking human blood, killing humans, and keeping bodies in the freezer, maybe the inappropriate relationship is not surprising under these circumstances. But, he's the man who raised her, protected her, and comforted her when she was upset. She knows the way she feels about him is wrong, but she can't help her feelings.

Valek is a nasty type vampire. He needs blood daily or the monster arises, he has claws as hands and when he sleeps during the day, he actually dies and becomes corpse like. I can't see the attraction, but I enjoyed him as a character, and as weird as it was, I eventually found myself rooting for them, when an even more dangerous arrangement is put in their way.

I enjoyed the world building. There's all kinds of supernaturals in these books, but they all live under the rule of Wizards. Aiden, one of Charlotte's closest friends, is a wizard, and I found myself really liking him. Things really take a twist around him, but I won't say anymore, don't want to give too much away. There's quite a few interesting secondary characters who add to this story. It has a lot of action and living on the edge, a fast paced page turner.

I didn't like the cover for this book, but after reading it, it's actually quite fitting. And while I did have a few problems with this book, I still enjoyed this story overall and I'm looking forward to the next book in the series.
Profile Image for Mandy.
979 reviews126 followers
January 14, 2016
I received Of Light and Darkness in return for an honest review from the author. Charlotte was abandoned as an infant rescued by a vampire who raised her as his own. Charlotte grew up in a secret occult world for the last twenty years. Since that night almost twenty years have passed now and Charlotte is a grown girl with more than just maternal feelings for Valek the vampire who raised her. When one of her childhood friends decides an elf decides that he wants Charlotte he turns him over to his father who works for the Regime because humans aren’t allowed as pets. However before they can get away from the Regime they are captured sentenced to be executed with all the other vampires.

Refusing to let his Charlotte be destroyed Valek breaks free fleeing with her into the countryside. Not without consequences because Charlotte has been attacked by several vampires and is growing weak. They show up at a fellow vampire’s friend of Valek but the only way to save her is to allow her to feed the vampires in the home. Deciding he would rather have her alive than dead he agrees for her to feed them. Francis wants to take on the Regime because they are hunting their kind and the new leader Aiden is determined to find Charlotte and make her his bride going against the rules. What will happen when Aiden finds them?

I like Charlotte she’s a sweet girl who’s spent her whole life among the monsters, even falling in love with a vampire no less. She’s an interesting character I like that she was in love with a non-sparkly darker vampire who she even hunted for bringing back victims. I wasn’t sure about Valek because who sends a young human girl to bring you victims but as the story progressed it all made sense. That he was willing to risk it all for her just redeemed him a little more in my eyes. It wasn’t hard to dislike Aiden even if he thinks he’s doing the right thing because no one should come between a vampire and his human girl.

I’ve had this one on my kind for a while just need to get to in on my list and I wish I hadn’t waited. While the concept of a human girl falling in love with a vampire isn’t new the author has put her own unique spin on one of my favorite concepts. Valek doesn’t sparkle, the sun can kill him, he has these claws, must have blood preferably and he’s not your traditional vampire. Of Light and Darkness is a fast paced story that captures the heart as well as the imagination with easy to connect with characters. A truly intriguing story that shows the darker side of the paranormal world, but does have its light tossed in. I enjoyed the author’s writing style its well written and flows along making it hard to put down. The characters are amazing I loved Charlotte and her dark vampire Valek as well as several supporting characters we are given a taste of. I hated to see it end but I know the next one is coming so now I’m impatiently waiting to get my hands on it. can’t wait to see how it’s all going to play out for Charlotte and Valek as well as for Aiden. I honestly loved every moment of Of Light and Darkness it's just so unique the whole story is beautifully done.
Profile Image for Rachel.
162 reviews16 followers
January 22, 2016
My review for the revised version of
Of Light and Darkness

I had read the first copy for; Of Light and Darkness by Shayne Leighton when it was titled; Of Light and Darkness the Vampires Daughter though it was a start for the story. I felt there was something missing I just couldn’t quite put my finger on what it was. The flow was there some time there was a few parts the seemed a little slow but not to the point of wanting to stop. When I found out that Shayne was revising the series I was beyond excited to get my hands on the new version to see what changes were being done. I told some of my friends that had read the original version that it was being revised and to be on the lookout for the new copy to come out very soon. I was not disappointed at all with the wait. It seems to happen so fast that the book as here before I was even ready to start reading. All the charters that everyone fell in love with from before are in the story again with more in depth details behind each one. We learn where Valek is original from and why he doesn’t want Charlotte traveling outside of the Occult city during the day without her special whistle. And why the “special whistle” is so important through the entire story. Valek is such a great vampire, protector, and has finally realized why “Lottie” starts getting upset as she has gotten older. The others in the story Evangeline is a witch who is something else. She tries to be nice in her own way be in the end you will truly see her true colors. There are Elves that live in the Bohemian Occult City that Charlotte lives in with Valek. The Price family helped take care of her when she was younger as to keep her safe during the day while Valek slept. Then we have Edwin who works at a store that Charlotte visits when she is out during her hunting trips. Edwin is very different once you read the book you will fall in love with him like a lot of us have. Next we have a spider named Mr. Trinozka. He is half human-half spider full name is Anansi Trinozka. When Charlotte met him that was a great part of the story they are great friends throughout.
As I said Shayne really was able to go into more depth this time around with more background on each person in the story and the flow of the story was beyond anything if the vampire genera that I have read in a while. There is no sparkling of the vampires in this and it is a paranormal/paranormal romance that grabs you from start and doesn’t let go until you finish. I can’t wait to find out what happens what the rest of the series.
#Vampires #Shapeshifter #Paranormal/Paranormal Romance #Witches #Elves
Shayne LeightonOf Light and Darkness
Profile Image for Heather B (Owlnestly Reviews).
35 reviews4 followers
November 28, 2012
Owlnestly Book Reviews

I found this book to be quite refreshing. It was everything that I looked for in my reading, but with twists that were unexpected and exhilarating. I loved the fact that the vampires didn't sparkle, and did exactly what vampire should do, which is be a vampire. Shayne didn't try to make the vampires attractive to teenage girls, but they still seemed to be. I have always been attracted to the concept of immortal beings that are dark and misunderstood, but maybe don't really want to be understood. Shayne presented this concept in a brand new light. I have read numerous books on vampires and supernatural beings but I found this one to be the most unique out of all of them.

The imagery presented in this book is brilliant, I felt like I was in the Occult City with the characters in the book. The main character Charlotte was dynamic and became a little heroine in the end even if at times she was a bit of a damsel in distress. She knew how to hold her own, but she still liked the help of her love Valek. The only thing that really bugged me in the story was the premise of Valek being Charlotte's fatherly figure and then becoming a love interest. I soon moved past this little quirk because I felt that the rest of the plot made up for it. I also figured that this was just another one of those unique aspects of this book that I hadn't seen in others.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I am eagerly waiting for the next one. Will you join the Occult City?

Profile Image for Cassandra.
222 reviews72 followers
July 11, 2011
Full, non-spoiler review courtesy at Book & Movie Dimension a Blog

I was amazed by Of Light and Darkness since it was unlike most other paranormal books. The romantic dynamic is a different one but sweet. Charlotte has only known Valek her vampire guardian and then he is threatened so she goes against all odds to protect her life with him. Someone close to her wants something different though. Little does Charlotte know that someone. With its sensual feel and paranormal twists you'll be happy, your reading it.
Profile Image for Fathima.
634 reviews345 followers
September 7, 2011
WOW !!!! Thank you sooooooo much Shayne for bringing back the vampires that we all grew up listening about . Shayne manages to criss cross every recent vampire interpretation that we have heard or read about in recent times and successfully teleports us back to the 'Dracula' days kind of vampires . And she does it with a panache . Valek and Charlotte are just so cute . Their love story,shy and soft . It is definitely one of the best Vampire based love story i've come about . A must read for Vampire love story fans !! what took me by surprise in this book were the villians . You'll understand what i mean by that when you read the book . Awesome book , a must read !!
Profile Image for Chantal Gadoury.
Author 12 books388 followers
January 15, 2016
This book is phenomenal. Shayne captures a world that is entirely new and original. The love story is deep and profound, and lingers with you long after you've turned the last page. The characters are so developed, I felt Charlotte and her friends could almost be mine. From the very beginning, the readers are transported to a beautiful European village, and everything is majestic and entrancing. I never wanted to put the book down.
I can't even begin to express how much I LOVE this cover.
Shayne, bravo to this encore of "Of Light and Darkness." Fangtastic.
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