Review: Where Darkness Lies by Bella Jewel

Where Darkness Lies (Criminals of the Ocean, #2) Publication Date: December 16, 2014


Anger and pain brought them together, but their passion might just set them free.

Dimitri wants only one thing: revenge. His stepfather, Hendrix, has caused him nothing but pain and heartache. At last Dimitri can take something—someone—important to Hendrix and make him pay: Jess.

Jess is feisty and strong headed. Her past haunts her and connects her to the dangerously dark Dimitri in an unexpected way. Dimitri keeps his secrets locked deep inside, and Jess is drawn to this broken man like no one before.

With little to cling to besides their haunting pasts, both could have been doomed to lives spent raging against the darkness that holds them prisoner. Instead, it seems that as their pain draws them closer together, it is their desire that will set them free.

My Review: ★★★★☆ 4.5 stars

I waited sooooo long for this sequel to come out! I enjoyed the first book because it was refreshing to be brought out to the sea even if the environment and aura of the characters are very similar to an MC novel. So that, plus the fantastic ending of book 1 which directly leads to the opening sequence for WHERE DARKNESS LIES had me repeatedly checking Goodreads for the publication date! 1 year after ENSLAVED BY THE OCEAN and fans finally have this baby.

Before anything else, if you haven't read the first book yet and you are planning to purchase this one, I strongly recommend you read the former first. It will give you the backstory on Dimitri and make you understand his hate towards his stepfather, Hendrix. Jess is also introduced in the first book, and her character building starts from there.

Now for this story. There are so many things I like about it! It showcased Bella Jewel's talent for creating tension-filled scenes that feel like mild foreplay at the same time. She makes you wary of the hero, but also look forward to the next moment he appears on page. I was pleasantly surprised with the humor because my initial impression of it was a serious story with deep, baggage-laden characters. It reads smoothly, and the characters of the previous book still have vital roles to play in this story line.

I really liked Jess as a character. From a quiet young woman who keeps her head down (literally and figuratively), she becomes this confident and brave beauty who chose to be strong in the most hopeless of situations. I admire her for choosing to be good. With everything she had been through, it would have been so easy to become a bitter and vengeful monster... opposite of what Dimitri became, actually.

To be honest though, I liked how Dimitri started out as the opposite of Jess. It made their love story more exciting for me. Knowing that they will inevitably fall in love, I really looked forward to seeing how it happens! And truly, it was an exhilerating, exciting, and dangerous journey for the both of them.

Fans of the first book in the series will love that the relationship between Hendrix and Dimitri is further explained. It was clever that Bella Jewel first shared the story in Hendrix's POV in the previous book because then readers know the real deal. By the time Dimitri states his version of events, you'll immediately figure out the parts where he is clueless. I sympathized with both characters: Hendrix says he acted for the best, but I think he's just plain scared to face the boy he considered his own. I can't really blame him, though. Dimitri on the other hand is very clearly hurt by his stepfather's "abandonment". I just wished for an early confrontation so that the entire story will finally be laid out on the table and the men can make amends.

As sequels go, WHERE DARKNESS LIES is an excellent follow-up for this modern-day pirate series. One of the best things is the setting is not limited to a ship in the sea. Bella Jewel shows us yet another version of piracy at sea. It's very refreshing, actually. This book has many themes (romance, suspense, Stockholm, daddy issues, old murders, secret pasts, outlaws) but the author made it all work cohesively. Definitely looking forward to the third book in this exciting series!

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**My thanks to the publisher for granting me a copy via NetGalley.



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