“Not a love story…a dark spiral into blackness.”
“If you’ve read Shades of Gray, you know how this has to end.”
The prequel to Shades of Gray tells the story of Patrick and Michael, how they got tangled into Claudius’ web, and their valiant fight to escape.
When Patrick’s missing brother Michael returns, he brings with him a world of darkness. Turned into a vampire against his will, Michael is the coven’s whipping boy. When Patrick tries to help, he’s claimed as a slave who spends his weekends preparing victims, scooping ashes, and falling prey to the vampire’s twisted desires.
There’s only so much hell he can take, and when vampires from a warring coven offer sanctuary in exchange for cooperation, Patrick quickly agrees. What he expected to be a few months drags out into a long smear of nightmares, and though he fights for hope and freedom, the cost of victory may be more than he bargained for.
The park was eerie in the dark. The hulking jungle gym sat like a crouched monster waiting to spring, and the swing set’s long shadows were tendrils of evil that snaked toward Patrick and Michael as they leaned on the teeter-totter.
The snow slowed, then stopped. Patrick scuffled his feet in the drifts and counted off the seconds. How long would it take a vampire to find them?
And why in the hell do we want him to?
Michael’s shoulders went stiff and Patrick followed his gaze. At first, he saw only darkness, then, like last time, the guy materialized from the shadows.
“You’re looking for me?”
Michael narrowed his eyes. “You’re the mind reader, you tell me.”
Without hesitation, the vampire asked sharply, “Why should I help you?”
Michael grabbed his brother’s arm. “Come on, Pat. I told you this was a fuckin’ waste of time.”
Before they could move, the mysterious man replied, “I didn’t say I wouldn’t help, only asked why I should.”
Patrick nodded hopefully. If the vampires were half as terrifying as this guy, there was no way they could deal with them alone. They needed someone who could help them and, though he couldn’t say why, he was sure this was the guy for the job. Maybe because he scares the shit outta me. “Hang on, Mikey. Let’s give him a chance.”
Michael glared at the vampire. “Why? We don’t even know who he is!”
The man all but rolled his eyes. “My name is Jorick. What do you want from me?”
Patrick answered quickly, “He needs help to get away from Claudius.”
Jorick studied them. The moments stretched thin and taut, heavy with the oppressive winter atmosphere. Finally, he said, “Let me speak to my associate. We might be able to do something. Return here in five days.”
Then he disappeared.
Patrick’s story is just that. We finally get to hear all about the boyfriend that started Katelina down the dark and dangerous path into the Amaranthine world. Troubled, drug addicted, and quite frankly fucked up, Patrick is definitely not the man anyone should feel bad for. He is a go nowhere, do nothing loser who can’t hold down a job to save his life… And his brother, Michael, is no better. After Michael is forced to get a day job doing lawn care at a mysterious mansion, he hatches a plan to get rich and leave everything bad behind. The plan, of course, does not go the way Michael planned, and he goes to Patrick for help. Feeling a sense of responsibility for his brother, Patrick is plunged into a world no human should ever be in. Betrayal, violence, and abuse, Patrick’s seemingly tragic story does see one bit of light at the end of a very dark tunnel, but how long will it last?
I went into Patrick completely unsure. Very little was known about him outside of Shades of Gray. He was the loser boyfriend of Katelina’s that met a really grizzly and unfortunate end at the VERY VERY beginning of Shades of Gray (so this is not a spoiler). I was incredibly curious to see how Joleene could make such a deadbeat into a relatable character. And I was not disappointed. I became so attached to Patrick, that there was fan fiction being written in my head. I mean, I knew how it ended, I knew the direction every life in the series takes. I honestly wasn’t sure how many surprises there would be. This book made me feel so much for a character that I didn’t particularly care for, that I cursed Jo. I did, I definitely, definitely did. There was a very strongly written letter and everything. But nevertheless, Patrick was beautifully written and a wonderful story. The pacing, dialog, and all around feel of the story are very true to the rest of the series, so long time Amaranthine readers should be right at home. I enjoy books that make me feel, and this made me feel so many things. I teared up at the end.
If you have not read Shades of Gray yet and want to start with Patrick, I would advise against it. You will gain a much better sense of understanding, and it will just mean a lot more to you if you start with the beginning of the series.
Of course, I have to give Brothers of Darkness 5 out of 5 stars just being it. It was an amazing book and you HAVE to read it… like now… Because it came out today, so… yeah.