Updated: Review: Darkling (Port Lewis Witches #1) by Brooklyn Ray

Updated: Review: Darkling (Port Lewis Witches #1) by Brooklyn Ray

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There have been some allegations made about Brooklyn Ray/Taylor B. Barton about serial abuse of people of colour and other queer folks.

I no longer support this author or their books. This review will remain visible, but I owe an apology for supporting an author who has done so much harm.

These claims came about through what I suppose is a Whisper Network, though I’m not exactly sure when or where this started. I was made aware of the allegations on Twitter against Taylor B. Barton three days before it was revealed that Taylor and Brooklyn Ray were the same person.

I chose to support this person despite seeing what many would call a Red Flag (or three). I was willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, simply because I felt like an outsider who didn’t have all the information, and because I believed they were a voice for the community. I was wrong to make that assumption.

I am deeply sorry about the harm I have perpetuated by supporting this author. I am not asking for forgiveness. I am not seeking back-patting or soothing. What I have done has done harm, and I am owning up to that.

Please, if you continue below to read the review, be safe.


a picture of the cover of Darkling by Brooklyn Ray. A blue-toned forest with a white candle in front of it is bordered by a large white marbled border, with five moons above the title.

Content Warnings for Darkling (From Ninestar): Scenes of bloodletting and death (and resurrection) of an MC.

Synopsis (From Ninestar):

Port Lewis, a coastal town perched on the Washington cliffs, is surrounded by dense woods, and is home to quaint coffee shops, a movie theater, a few bars, two churches, the local college, and witches, of course.

Ryder is a witch with two secrets—one about his blood and the other about his heart. Keeping the secrets hasn’t been a problem, until a tarot reading with his best friend, Liam Montgomery, who happens to be one of his secrets, starts a chain of events that can’t be undone.

Dark magic runs through Ryder’s veins. The cards have prophesized a magical catastrophe that could shake the foundation of Ryder’s life, and a vicious partnership with the one person he doesn’t want to risk.

Magic and secrets both come at a cost, and Ryder must figure out what he’s willing to pay to become who he truly is.

Darkling by Brooklyn Ray

A Spoiler Free Review

I first read this book when I heard of it, around September of 2018 (so, about 8 months after it’s release). I had been searching high and low for more transgender protagonists to read about and I was on a Witch-kick, when found myself this book through, of all places, Twitter! Ecstatic, I wanted nothing more than to see more representation of people like me doing extraordinary things, without coming out as a central plot. I was happy to find that in this book, plus more! Ryder is an enjoyable character to read about. He’s the star of this book, introducing you to the town of Port Lewis. His perspective draws you in and keeps you hooked. There are, from the start, enough mysteries about Port Lewis to keep you wanting more, with enough answers to your questions that you’ll enjoy the total payoff.

While re-reading this, I picked up on a number of subtle clues. The reading in the beginning, especially, was riddled with clear lines to the coming story; I also enjoyed finding those clues strewn about the rest of the story.


The overarching plot of Darkling is coupled with a few other side arcs. There’s something going on between the members of Ryder’s coven, and you can see that even if you’re not completely answered until later. I found the overarching plot of self-discovery and overcoming difficulties (while having some hot gay sex!) was very satisfying at the end. There was a short amount of time toward the end, when Belial was introduced, that was very fast and confusing. However, that was cleared up by the very end.

Ryder and the love interest were also very cute. I really enjoyed the chemistry between the main romantic couple, and their sex scenes were very satisfying. I had no complaints about how it was handled with a trans main character and a cis love interest – in fact, I was very impressed with how sensitively it was done, while still being hot as hell.


Ryder may have been the star of the show but the other characters did an amazing job of fleshing everything out. None of them felt flat or unexplored. My favorite side character has to be either Christy or Donovan. Both were very sweet characters that seemed caught up in something bigger than they could understand at the time.

The only character I was a little put off by was the entrance at the very end was Belial. I felt that there wasn’t quite enough exposition to his reveal as could have been, especially in naming the character.

Otherwise, all the other characters were amazing and well-rounded.


Darkling is an erotic adventure about a trans guy witch. It’s fun, it’s sexy, it’s dark, it’s witchy. The plot is solid and the characters are fleshed out, so if you’re looking for a hot adventure, give this a try!

Definitely a recommended read!

I give this a 4/5 rating and I’ll be reading the rest of the series as it comes out!

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