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Saturday, March 10, 2007

Kiss of the Night

**** Kiss of the Night by Sherrilyn Kenyon. Contemporary paranormal romance.

This is the 5th book in the Dark-Hunter series.

ARGH. One of these days, I'm going to stop browsing through the Amazon reviews to refresh my memory. Ah, who am I kidding? I won't do that. I enjoy it too much--it's my version of reality TV, I think. Anyway, somebody dinged this book because *gasp* *shock* *horror* the heroine had S-E-X when she was pregnant! AAAAHHHH, how sick and perverted! Um.... how does she think the heroine got pregnant in the first place? Pardon me while I envision whacking the reviewer over the head with a cluebat. Thanks. I feel better now.

Boy, does Kenyon ever believe in torturing her heroes! And she's very inventive at it, too. Dark-Hunter Wulf Tyrggvason has an unusual problem--nobody who's not of his blood, or a Dark-Hunter or Daimon can remember him 5 minutes after they leave him. And there's only one of his descendants left: Chris, who works as his squire.

There's some wonderful stuff there between Wulf and Chris. Wulf is seriously overprotective, because if something happens to Chris, there'll be nobody who remembers him--Dark-Hunters can't be together because they drain each others' powers, and Daimons are the enemy. He's also constantly nagging Chris to procreate--a problem when the college-age young man drives a Hummer and has bodyguards, making prospective dates think he's a drug dealer.

Then Wulf saves a young woman, coincidentally a classmate of Chris's, from some Daimons, and she can remember him. Turns out Cassandra is an Apollite. Not only that, but she's a 26-year-old Apollite. (Apollites die on their 27th birthdays unless they steal a human's soul by drinking their blood and becoming a Daimon.) And she's also the last direct descendant of Apollo himself. As such, if she dies without procreating, so does the sun, destroying the world.

There's also some wonderful stuff between Cassandra and her father, who had to watch his wife and older daughter die and knows Cassandra is next. There's very much a family theme going on here, especially when Cassandra gets pregnant and has to face knowing she'll die not long after the baby's born.

And the Apollites... well, that's just hideous. We've known about them from the beginning of the series, but, as with Wulf and the other Dark-Hunters, we just didn't think about them very much until they became Daimons, in which case, they were evil and had to be killed. The concept of dooming an entire race to being forced to make a choice between becoming an evil killer or dying an agonizing death at such a young age... all because of some quarrel between gods... made me seriously angry. I'm avoiding a rant about people with power destroying regular people's lives without a second thought, but only just.

It's a decent story, heart-wrenching as I'm learning this series tends to be, but I'm thinking maybe there's just a little too much going on in this one. All the explanations about the history got very confusing, and I'm not sure whether it's because it wasn't written very clearly or if it's that there was just so much of it.

And then there was the back-and-forth between Wulf and Cassandra. I always hate that in romances. They argue, seemingly come to an agreement, then in the next chapter they're having the identical argument. Her pregnancy solves the problems of both of them needing heirs, but I was angry that she refused all suggestions of ways she could live. On the one hand, I could understand needing to feel at peace with imminent death, but to me it felt more like we had to veto all these suggestions so the magical solution at the end would be necesary.

The self-sacrifice theme irritated me a lot, too, as it always does. I think it's because I am not one for self-sacrifice, and this whole town full of noble people who willingly spend 24 hours in agony rather than taking a quick slit of the wrists or something because they think it's what the god wants... just makes me want to puke. I have a really hard time believing that it's only a small minority who's angry about this.

Unfortunately, I think this is the last Dark-Hunter book in my TBR pile. I got these at a signing at TTP in 2004, and this was the most recent book in the series then. It's not making me eager to search out the next ones, especially given the size of my TBR pile and the plethora of great paranormal romances out there.


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