Dark Dreams and Dead Things by Martina McAtee is a book that will kill your soul if you’re invested in the series like I am. I’m a little bit obsessed. I hardcore ship 2 of the main characters, and I get really mad when things go awry for them. So of course, they do.
The first thing you should know is that this is a sequel. If you haven’t read the first book, Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things (book 1 is available here and you can get book 2 here) then stop reading right now, go read the books, and then come back to me.
The second thing you should know is that this review absolutely contains spoilers and if you don’t want to read them, you should also leave, read the book, and come back to me.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way! I originally did a video review of this book, but after going through my raw footage in attempts to edit, I realized there wasn’t much to work with. It consisted of 3 things. My introduction, a basic plot summary, and myself yelling about a character that infuriates me. That being said, I decided to maybe re-do this review, in written format.
So it’ll be broken down like this:
- Major events (broken down by character)
- Why I Hate Silas
- Overall thoughts
Let’s start with the summary.
As with the first Dead Things book, there is a large overall plot, and then there are several small plots that intertwine with the major happenings of the book.
Dark Dreams and Dead Things picks up right where book 1 leaves off.
If you’re like me and you re-read the first book before reading the second book in a series, you’ll like how there’s no time elapsed between the end of book 1 and beginning of book 2. So we pick up when Mace is a Ghost, Ember is exhausted, and Mace is afraid that if she goes to sleep something will happen to him because he’s bodiless. Ember falls asleep, and Mace disappears. Which is our first plot line.
The second major line we follow is Quinn and Tristin. If you remember, Quinn was killed by the Grove about 2/3 into book 1, but was forced to be resurrected by Ember and put into Mace’s body. So now in book 2, we see Quinn face the consequences of being resurrected, even though he didn’t want it in the first place.
The major plot line focuses on the impending doom of the pack (once again) and the fact that the Twins and Ember are the 3 reaper descendants of the ancient goddess of death, the Morrigan. Ancient and evil creatures called the Legionaries are traveling across the country killing packs of 100-300 shifters, on their way to demolish the Belladonna pack. They issue a warning and it gives the pack just a few weeks to prepare.
The problem is they don’t know what the Legionaries are, so they don’t know how to defeat them. All they know is that out of every single pack that has been hit by the Legionaries, only one survivor was found, and he can’t really say anything because he’s a baby.
Which brings us to the character events!
Starting with Rhys and Kai because hello… they found/surrogate adopted a BABY.
Rhys and Kai had a lot of issues in book 1. Mainly because Rhys wouldn’t let anybody near Kai but he also wouldn’t admit his feelings for him, so Kai was claimed by the wolf inadvertently, yet they had no relationship.That resolved itself, and they got together, and now in book 2, they are more together than ever. They are so mushy gushy, even outside of the pack, it’s adorable.
So one night, when Neoma brings home a baby wolf shifter, and nobody knows what to do, Rhys and Kai step up and take care of the baby. Rhys helps the baby calm down and shift back into human form and in turn, the baby basically claims the couple as his parents. They go out to get baby supplies, Kai names him RJ, and voila! Rhys and Kai are ready for their close ups on Teen Mom: Dead Things edition.
In all honesty though, parenthood suits them, and while they’re only 17 and are still in high school, when you fight evil for a living, parenting ages are a bit different. Considering Wren and Isa were only 16 when they had to raise Kai, Tristan, and Rhys, I think the boys are definitely up for the challenge and completely able to figure things out.
Now, we wouldn’t have little baby shifter, if we didn’t have Neoma.
Neoma gets more storytime than she did in book 1 and I couldn’t be happier. Despite the fact that everything she says is cryptic as hell (that’s just how the fae speak), I think I’m starting to understand Neoma a little bit more. She has a really dark past, and we see a bit of her darkness in a scene.
When she comes home to the pack house, drenched and shaking, cradling little baby shifter wolf. We find out that she can create storms, and that she is the cause of the huge lightning rainstorm that made the power go out. Wren tells her that she’s not supposed to use her powers, but it takes her a while to calm down. She’s clearly traumatized, and it’s not the first time she’s been through something horrible.
We don’t get much more than that, but you can tell that we’re leading into some more background on Neoma. We are getting that information when the Prequel, Loving You With Teeth and Claws, comes out in April.
Last on Neoma, let’s talk about those weird predictions she gets. She’s very vague, but she’s never wrong. She says she has to get something from the Grove facility where the pack is rescuing someone, but she doesn’t know what it is. She said she’ll know when she sees it. She ends up bringing home a Gemini. Aka, 2 witch twins who share the same body. They’re sometimes psycho.
So yeah, we get a lot of interesting Neoma moments and I love it!
Moving on, we have Quinn and Tristin.
Quinn and Tristin get pretty interesting in book 2. In book 1, when Quinn dies, it affects Tristin so badly that she is willing to hurt her cousin to get Quinn back. But now that Quinn is back, she’s denying she ever missed him.
We know that Tristin loves Quinn. And Quinn is nothing but obvious about his feelings for Tristin. But it takes her a while to warm up to the idea of dating him.
When they finally do go on a date though, Quinn uses it as an excuse to do something for an evil demon named Silas.
When Tristin finds out, she’s devastated, but she also doesn’t blame Quinn. Because when Quinn came back from the dead, he was put in Mace’s body, and it caused Quinn’s soul to rot. Mace being Sluagh, means he has to eat souls to survive. By putting Quinn’s soul into a Sluagh as a vessel, caused very dark things to happen.
As a result of being brought back from the dead with the demon Silas’s sigil, Quinn is forever bonded to Silas. That also causes chaos.
Tristin however, has formed a truce with Ember, after like 2 literal cat fights. As to why? I’ll leave you to figure that out on your own.
I’m not really going to talk about Wren and Isa, aside from saying that Wren was totally badass in this book. He’s normally content being beta and sitting on the sidelines. But hearing that his family was killed, and knowing that the rest of his family was in danger, he stepped up to the plate and helped Isa way more than usual. He even gave fatherly talks to the kids. Way to go Wren!
Isa was fiercely protective of her pack as always, but I think Wren takes the cake.
Lastly, we have Ember and Mace.
Which, let’s be honest. Without them, there’d be no story at all.
In book 1, Ember and Mace have a pretty complicated relationship. Mace was hired by Quinn’s dad to watch Ember and report on her every day.
Ember accidentally restored Mace’s soul, which caused their magic to be bound together, and it also gave Mace the ability to love, and fall in love with Ember.
Mace is the antihero that everyone ether loves or hates. I for one, love him. For so many reasons. But today isn’t the day to get into why I love Mace, or why I love Mace and Ember together. Today were just going to talk about what happened to them in book 2.
It can be summed up into a hashtag.
A lot of shit happens to my babies in this book. First, Ember and Mace are reunited but Mace has no body. Then Mace disappears and can only talk to Ember in Dreams. Dreams that Ember doesn’t remember. Every night he has to tell her the same thing over and over again. He’s trapped and he doesn’t know where. Then Ember meets Silas, the demon who’s sigil is on her shoulder.
Remember Miller? Donovan’s great uncle? Well his bitchy witch of a sister/Donovan’s grandmother, soul-napped Mace and stuffed him in a magic box. Which is how Silas was able to control what happened to Mace and prevent Ember from remembering her dreams.
Like I said, a lot of shit happens to my babies.
But there’s more. Something really significant happened between Ember and Mace at the very end, when they were battling the Legionaries. Ember wasn’t strong enough, she didn’t have enough control over her magic. So she gave Mace the permission he wanted, to possess her, and help her. Their souls literally merged in that moment, and she was powerful enough to do what she needed with his help.
I squealed honestly. I was like holy crap even though this is the most intense moment ever, the cutest thing is that he loves and respects her enough to ask permission. And of course I read the sentence in a sexy British accent in my head, so pardon me for fangirling.
That was a really important moment for Mace and Ember I think. From the very beginning they were unsure of how their relationship was going to work. They clash in so many ways, but their souls don’t. They are, in my opinion, true soulmates. Even when the odds were 110% against them, they were able to come together again.
I freaking love Ember and Mace.
So that brings me to my finale. My rant.
I hate Silas. I hate him so much that when I first did this review, I did it in video format but couldn’t even get a solid 3 minutes without a random outburst about Silas ruining my OTP.
Yeah yeah, I know what you’re going to say.
You either love him or hate him and for those who love him, you’ll say it’s actually Josephine’s fault. But it’s not. Do I hate the witch for stuffing Mace in a jar? Yes. But did Josephine torture Mace, physically torment him, make him race for his life back to the place he helped his girlfriend bring back a dog? Did Josephine keep Embers memories of her visits with mace? Did Josephine turn Quinn against the pack? Did Josephine BLACKMAIL Ember into releasing the original coven from their “death” and back into the real world? No.
Josephine merely withheld a lot of information, and was a terrible grandmother to Donovan.
Silas though, he did all of the above and more. He made sure that Ember and Mace were miserable. He did it all and he did it for revenge. And that’s why I hate Silas.
So overall, what are my thoughts on this book?
Yet again, Martina has written a complex and amazing story. The way she includes so many supernatural creatures in this series and it makes sense, is amazing. Her characters are so well developed, and I truly feel like I’m a part of the Belladonna pack when I’m reading.
My only complaint? Silas. We need to figure out a way to kill him because I hate him
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Thank you so much for reading, and I’ll see you next time!