New books to recommend (or not, as the case may be):
First up is Sherrilyn Kenyon’s latest, ‘Kiss of the Night’. Part of her ‘Dark-Hunter’ series, this latest foray into the world of muscle-bound immortals falls a little flat. The premise is interesting—Apollo’s last descendant, a woman named Cassandra, must be kept alive at all costs. If she dies before producing an heir, so shall the sun. Die, that is. Along with the earth, and all who dwell there.
I’m pretty good at suspending belief—in fact, I’m a veritable genius at it—and while ‘Kiss of the Night’ starts out well, it ultimately fizzles—mainly because the characters just aren’t that interesting. Wulf is a Viking immortal whose biggest hang-up is that everyone except supernatural folk (and those of his own family’s bloodline) forgets he exists five minutes after meeting him. This is an intriguing concept, but unfortunately, it’s given a rather ho-hum treatment. So much so, that when Wulf, again and again, feels compelled to remind everyone of his sorry predicament, you want to reply with a resounding, “Who cares?”
Cassandra isn’t treated much better. There’s a death sentence looming over her—the young lady is destined to die on the day of her 27th birthday—which is only 8 months away. “Woe is me!” she proclaims, often. “For I shall not ever know the joys of love, marriage, or childbirth!”
Not her exact words, but close. Oh sure, the author tries to portray her as a kick-ass chick who is skilled in self-defense, but that goes nowhere, mainly because Cassandra fights, like, twice—and each time fails to save herself. Wulf has to step in and tear off heads. Oh, those stubborn, arrogant, possessive males! Darn them! Darn!
My final complaint about this book is that while it does add more background information to the Dark-Hunter universe (who knew Appolites formed cliques?), it does so in such a dry manner as to be completely unmemorable. All the (shocking!) revelations are rather dull.
If you’ve read this far, you’re probably ready to run screaming. And if you’ve never read any of Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark-Hunter novels, you probably should—from ‘Kiss of the Night’, that is. Don’t use this particular novel as the introduction to her series. Start with ‘Fantasy Lover’ or ‘Night Pleasures’. You won’t be disappointed. I just hope that Ms. Kenyon takes better care with her next Dark-Hunter novel. A couple more duds like this one, and this series (which has been very entertaining up until now), might be on the rocks.
Next on my list of reviews is Laura Kinsales’s ‘Uncertain Magic’. Set in 1797, this novel follows the adventures of a young woman, Roderica (or Roddy), who is gifted with the ability to read minds. Rather than use this gift to take advantage of folk and grow insanely rich and powerful, good-hearted Roddy, who wants nothing more than to marry and have children, stays tucked away in her family’s manor, protected from the clamoring thoughts of the unseemly masses. Until, dear readers, Roddy meets the Devil Earl, a handsome rogue of ill-repute, whose thoughts she cannot hear. And what’s the first thing she thinks upon meeting this strange man? Yeee-haw! Lets get hitched!
Don’t get me wrong, I think this is a very good book—very entertaining, with interesting characters. I throughly enjoyed myself, which is why I’m recommending it to fans of romance. It’s just…you know, not that deep. But then again, I wasn’t exactly looking for War and Peace.
The next book is ‘The Winter Queen’ by Boris Akunin, a Russian author who is just beginning to have his books translated into English. The first in an apparent nine books series, ‘The Winter Queen’ is set in 1870’s Moscow, and follows a young detective, Erast Fandorin, as he stumbles on a complex international plot to, well, rule the world. Kind of. It’s hard to explain, and if I tried, it would give away too much of the story. Which, I must say, is pretty darn good. There isn’t a single predictable moment, and the ending—oh, the ending—is horrifically shocking. I mean, really. I highly recommend this one, just as long as you don’t mind big words and a writing style that is somewhat old-fashioned (but in a good way).
So there they are! Take them or leave them, I hope you enjoy!