Book Review: Kick at the Darkness (Kick at the Darkness Book 1) by Keira Andrews [Audiobook]

Parker, college freshman, is getting coffee one night when he finds himself in the middle of a zombie outbreak, being rescued by Adam, the annoying TA who gave him a C+ on his last assignment. With no family of his own, Adam agrees to cross the country with Parker to find his parents, and the two quickly grow closer, though it might complicate things when Parker finds out Adam is a werewolf.

Book Cover - Kick at the Darkness by Keira Andrews
Title: Kick at the Darkness
Book Number: Book 1
Pages: 274
My Rating: 3.5 Stars
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon


I’m going to start this review by saying I may have enjoyed this more if I hadn’t listened to the audiobook. Or maybe I wouldn’t have. It’s hard to know. So keep that in mind, but I’ll talk more about the audio below.

This book caught my eye because it’s a fun mix of genres that go really well together, if you ask me. I like paranormal beings. I like character-focused zombie apocalypse stories. I like romance. So what’s better than enjoying these separately? Enjoying them all together, of course! Admittedly there wasn’t a lot of werewolf-ing, but there was some, and I always like it when I find books where the werewolves shift into manbeasts rather than just a full wolf (or in this case, both).

The book had a decent plot, focused on the romance, but also with the goal of them traveling across the country to find Parker’s family and a bit of zombie-killing action and other drama along the way.

I didn’t super connect to the characters or feel super invested in their romance, but that could be due to the audiobook narration. Also, there were a lot of sex scenes in this book—eight explicit scenes (not fade to black), if I’m correct, in a 274-page book—and most of them seemed to be there for titillation rather than character/relationship development or plot. Which could be a negative or positive depending on your reading preferences. For me personally, I kind of didn’t care about the more unnecessary scenes, and I would’ve maybe liked to see more time devoted to the two of them being intimate in non-sexual ways. Especially since large chunks of time were skipped over, leaving me feeling like they hadn’t spent that much time together even though they actually had.

I still liked and cared about what happened to the characters and to their relationship though. I wanted them to be happy together. They seemed good together, and it was an easy, low-angst kind of romance. Their banter was cute and made me chuckle sometimes. There was some hurt/comfort, which was sweet. And it was believable—both that they’d be having all that sex (they did at least wait until they were in relatively safe situations, rather than getting it on in the middle of a dangerous escape) and also that they’d fall in love since they were in such an adrenaline-filled, high-stress situation, spending so much time together, relying on each other (and obviously attracted to each other).

Unfortunately, as I mentioned, I did not like the audiobook narration by Tristan James. The two main characters (and some other male characters) basically sounded the same, so it was very hard to keep track of who was speaking. I wasn’t even sure sometimes when one would stop talking and the other would start. There was a slight difference, but it was so slight that I still struggled to hear it, and it kind of came and went. And the way he spoke wasn’t exactly monotone, but it was very same-y, not much fluctuation, not from sentence to sentence nor from scene to scene, and I kept zoning out because of it. Also, the way he spoke dialogue didn’t always sound natural, it was vaguely reminiscent of an announcer or movie voiceover, and he didn’t really voice act. So characters pretty much spoke and sounded the same whether they were running for their lives, miserably sick, having sex, whispering confessions to each other in the dark, or just having a normal conversation. That’s very jarring for me, when the way characters speak doesn’t match the situation. This is all very negative, and truthfully it wasn’t terrible narration in and of itself, I feel like it would be fine for some books, but it really didn’t do this particular story justice. So I recommend this book, if it sounds good to you, but not the audio version if you have a choice and are bothered by these things too.

Overall, this didn’t leave a huge impression on me (which could be at least in part due to the audiobook narration not doing the story justice), but I still enjoyed the combo of cute werewolf paranormal romance and zombie apocalypse enough to continue the series.

*Just a note to say I have listened to the second book now and loved it and thought the characters and relationship were so much more developed. I definitely recommend trying this series if it sounds good to you!*


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  1. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    Gah, stupid audiobook lessening your enjoyment of this one. I’ve definitely found narrators impact a lot with audiobook enjoyment, but the fact you struggled to distinguish between characters is not good. I can put up with bland narration but only if they at least put enough effort to make it easy to follow what’s happening. It does sound like an interesting read, who doesn’t like werewolves and zombies?

    1. Kristen Burns

      They definitely do impact enjoyment. I feel like a lot of authors and publishers don’t understand that and think they can just hire the cheapest narrator as long as their book is read aloud. But yeah, the werewolf and zombie combo is fun!