Stygian – Sherrilyn Kenyon

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Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon
Series: Dark-Hunter #27
Pages: 670

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Born before man recorded time, I lived for thousands of years, believing myself to be something I’m not.
Someone I’m not.
Lied to and betrayed by gods, Daimons, and Dark-Hunters, I’ve struggled to find my way in a world where I’ve been cursed since the moment a vengeful goddess prematurely ripped me from my mother and planted me into the womb of an innocent woman who thought me her son.
Trained as a slayer and predator, I’ve learned to fit in and stay low. To become a tool for evil. Until I was sent to kill the one woman I couldn’t. My hesitation cost her, her life.
Or so I thought. In an act of betrayal that makes all the others pale in comparison, I’ve learned that things are not what they seem in this world and that my Phoebe still lives.
Now I will have to travel into the very pits of Hades to try and save her, even as everyone around me attempts to steal what little soul I have left. There’s only one person at my back and I’m not sure I can trust her either, for she was born of an enemy race. Yet sometimes the road to redemption is one that singes us to our very core. And if I fail to find the answers I need to save Phoebe, more than just my wife will die.
We will lose the world. Both human and Daimon.
~Urian of the House of Aricles

I did it!! I did it!! I’m up-to-date with the Dark-Hunters saga!! *happy dance*. Only 33 more sagas to tackle! Sadly, I start much more than I finish, so it’s an impossible race against my To Be Read list. Well, sure steps and small victories. That’s the trick for a happy reader. I will start with the review now, before I lose myself into the metaphysical concepts of reading goals.

This is the book of Urian. Enough said! We follow the character through more than 11 thousand years. Since his weird birth, to the present time where he has to deal with the truth about Phoebe. A story about family, loss, survival and immortal love. A biography of one of the most charismatic characters of this saga!

This is a milestone book, like Acheron or Styxx; so is much longer than other Dark-Hunters books. But, while the other two were made for lovers of the saga, Stygian’s focus on lovers of Urian. If you don’t like the character, you won’t like the book. Story wise, there is not much to tell. All the focus of the book is on the former Daimon and his lengthy life. Yes, there is still a bit of the epic craziness we love; but if you think that is going to be the main course, you are meant to be disappointed. Even though Urian’s story is a lot of fun, I guess that could not be enough for some readers.

Gladly, it’s not my case. I love the character, so I have enjoyed every single page of this book. After the dragon trilogy that left me with a sour aftertaste, I needed something like this to boost my love for this saga. I have laughed, cried, bitten my nails, jumped in the bed, yelled at it… All the emotions you can imagine. I was eager to finish my work day to reunite with Urian and all the amazing characters that wander around his life. I’ve been team Urian 100%, to the point that I considered the Dark-Hunters my mortal enemies as well. It’s one of the things I have loved the most about Stygian. Getting to know a much deeper point of view of Apollite and Daimon life has made me more empathetic towards them. I know I shouldn’t give the time of day to people like Stryker, Urian, Davyn and the others, but I can’t help thinking they were the true heroes of the book.

I’m extremely happy with this book, but I must point out some of the weakest elements of it. Once we reach the present time, the story becomes a retelling of previous books. Not as heavy as with Illarion’s book; but there is a nice hunk invested in telling us again Wulf’s, Acheron’s, Styxx’s and Falcyn’s books. Thankfully, the author drops some “deleted scenes” and different points of view to tell us again the same thing; so it’s much more bearable than expected. And let’s be honest, those books are important to undertsand Urian’s story, so I guess some readers will be glad for the refresher.

The other part that makes me frown a little is the ending. I have a love/hate realtionship with it. On one hand, it’s a new dawn for the Dark-Hunters and the Daimons. One I’m eager to devour as soon as the next book is published. On the other hand, the part of the story about Phoebe feels a little too short. After the ending of Falcyn’s book, I was breathless with the revelation that Phoebe was still alive. I needed to know Urian’s reaction. But it takes 90% of this book to just reach the same point in the timeline where the previous book left us. It took so long, that I was afraid the resolution of that plot twist was going to be weak and easy. And, sadly, I wasn’t wrong. I don’t mean it was horrible, far from it! I just think it hasn’t made any justice to the cliffhanger we had after Dragonsworn.

I can’t finish without mentioning my recently discovered love towards a character that has been there for a while but never caught my attention that badly. I’m talking about Davyn. If I could make a wish related to this saga, that would be to get his book sooner rather than later. Or maybe the longer wait will make his story sweeter. Ugh! Sometimes being a reader feels like a constant fight against myself…

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2019 – Book Gallery

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Dragonsworn – Sherrilyn Kenyon

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Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon
Series: Dark-Hunter #26

Pages: 336

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There is nothing in the universe the cursed dragon, Falcyn, hates more than humanity . . . and in particular, Greek humans. In a war he wanted no part of, they systematically destroyed everything he’d ever cared for. Now he lies in seclusion, away from the world and waits for the day when evolution will finally rid him of the human vermin.

Medea was born the granddaughter of the Greek god Apollo, and among the first of his people that he cursed to die. But she will not let anyone rule her life. Not even her notorious grandfather. And when Apollo sends a new plague to destroy what remains of her people, she refuses to standby and watch him take everything she loves from her again.

This time, she knows of a secret weapon that can stop the ancient god and his army of demons. Once and for all. However, said device is in the hands of a dragon who wants nothing to do with politics, the gods, humanity, demons or Greek Apollites. And especially not her. He is the immovable object.

My enemy’s enemy . . .

When Apollo makes a strategic move that backfires, he forces Falcyn back into play. Now Medea either has the weapon she needs to save her people, or she’s unleashed total Armageddon. If she can’t find some way to control the dragon before it’s too late, Falcyn will be an even worse plague on the world than the one Apollo has set loose. But how can anyone control a demonic dragon whose sole birthright is total destruction?

It’s no secret that I thought that Dragonmark (the previous book) was a very weak reading. It scared the hell out of me, because it looked like Sherrilyn Kenyon was running out of ideas. To my relief, Dragonsworn is a much better book that erases some of the fears I had after reading Illarion’s no-book.

This time we follow the story of Falcyn, a dragon brother of Max and Illarion, and Medea, the daugther of the Daimon leaders. As we already knew, Apollo is a vengeful god who want to get rid of the Daimons making them fatally sick. Medea is looking for help and, thanks to her brother Urian, she learns about the curative capacities of a dragonstone. Too bad Falcyn’s stone is also craved by Morgen, one of the big bad wolfs of the Dark-Hunter Universe.

Even though I consider this book a leap forward from the previous one, it lacks emotion and good action. But that is just the consequence of making the good guys a bit more powerful in every book. By the 26th the main characters are gods with the ability to command armies of unbeatable demons or capable of snapping their fingers to solve their problems in a fast way (Thanos would be a mere novice among these guys!!). That means there is not really action, just a face-off to show who can muster more power without getting their hair undone. And even though everything seems a bit too easy, that doesn’t mean the pace is boring. On the contrary. One of the strengths of this book is the fast paced rhythm.

Another thing that is getting too old too fast is the multiple dimension hopping. Parallel dimensions are cool and all, but the last books in the Dark-Hunter saga and the Chronicles of Nick series have been an orgy of dimensional jumping that would give any reader a good headache in order no to get lost. I tend to feel more connected with the story in the books where most of the action takes place in our beloved mortal plane of Earth. But I must also confess that the thing I love most about Kenyon is her skill to bring the craziest elements to her stories and that sometimes means a lot of dimension hopping gathering the cream of the crop of the supernatural realms.

In my opinion, the main course of this book are the characters. And I don’t mean just Falcyn and Medea, which are OK, I mean all the rest. And being this a Dark-Hunter book, I would need about eight hands to count them all. In other books that could be a synonym of a disaster, but in a Dark-Hunter book it only means endless banter. That’s the main reason her characters are always so easy to fall in love with. They make the reader feel like one of them when they are gather in a group, no matter if big or small. No idea if that makes any sense, but it is how I feel.

The author even has time to drop a huge bomb for Urian (metaphorically speaking, of course, the former Daimon is quite well physically). I won’t reveal it over here, but I guess that what we are told will play a huge role in the next book, which is Urian’s book. I will try to read that one next month to be up-to-date with the main saga, so I can start thinking about the other series of Paranormal Romance I have started and abandoned…

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2019 – Book Gallery

Dragonmark – Sherrilyn Kenyon

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Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon
Series: Dark-Hunter #25

Pages: 344

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Centuries ago, Illarion was betrayed– a dragon made human against his will, then forced to serve humanity as a dragonmount in their army, and to fight for them in barbaric wars, even while he hated everything about them. Enslaved and separated from everyone he knew and from his own dragon brothers, he was forced into exile in a fey realm where he lost the only thing he ever really loved.

Now he has a chance to regain what’s been lost— to have the one thing he covets most. But only if he gives up his brothers and forsakes the oaths he holds most dear. Yet what terrifies him most isn’t the cost his happiness might incur, it’s the fact that there is just enough human in his dragon’s heart that he might actually be willing to pay it and betray everything and everyone– to see the entire world burn…

Twenty-five main books is a really big number and Kenyon is not stopping anytime soon. But so many books and so many on-going sagas are paying a toll. The price has been paid with Dragonmark, one of the weakest Dark-Hunter books I have ever read

This story is supposedly to be Illarion’s book (more on that later). He is one of the oldest dragons, a solitary creature until he met Edilyn, a human daughter of a demon. As it is very common with shapesifters, Illarion knew she was her mate. This book tries to tell the love story between the two of them…

I say try, because the plot of the book is developed in a pretty wierd fashion. We start in the past, with Illarion meeting Edilyn and her brother Virag. They fall in love and, as any normal couple, go to a demonic realm to fight The Morrigan. It goes pretty bad, pretty fast… Edilyn dies behind the scenes. One chapter she was there, the next she wasn’t. The book had barely begun and, suddenly, Illarion’s book mutates into Cadegan’s book (again!!). A huge chunk of this book is a retelling of Son of No One, where Illarion is mere supporting character.

But the travesty doesn’t end there. Illarion is rescued from the demonic plane and the plot travels to the present. I could barely believe what happened then… Kenyon retells us Max’s book, Dragonbane!! That was the previous one… I don’t have a great memory, but it is not so bad!! Almost 80% of Illarion’s book is not about Illarion. I think this story was just meant to fill some contractual obligation with the editorial, because I don’t understand why the author would do something like this on purpose. I hope this doesn’t happen again…

Is Illarion’s short story any good? The part in the past is pretty basic. Boy meets girl. Girl falls in love with boy. Girl’s jerk of a brother steals from boy and all hell is set loose… It looked pretty interesting, actually. Virag (the brother) is a nice character that I want to meet again in the future. After the huge retellings, Illarion takes again the spotlight. If you remember, in Max’s book he joins Apollo’s gang to save his mate (yes, she didn’t really die). What happens after that is very short, but good; so, overall, the story is decent. The final revelation is SOOO sweet. I’m savouring it!!

Kenyon is lucky to have such an amazing (and huge) cast of characters. Thanks to them, even a poor book like this one can be enjoyable. Any other author would have got a strike on my chart, but I can’t really be that tough with her. I like her books too much. Let’s hope the next one makes me forget this book (another way to say I don’t want more retellings!!).

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2018 – Book Gallery

Fire Bound – Sherrilyn Kenyon & Dianna Love

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Authors: Sherrilyn Kenyon & Dianna Love
Series: Belador #1.5
Pages: 95

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A dangerous creature is on the loose. Evalle, Tzader and Quinn take a VIPER team just outside of Atlanta for a sting operation that takes a deadly turn. Killing the half-human creature would be easy, but national security is on the line until the team can discover who created the monster, and whether more like it are waiting in the wings to be unleashed on the human world. The op goes bad with Beladors in the middle of it, and nothing turns out as expected, least of all for Evalle.

This is a short story that you can get for free in many places. One of them is the official page of Sherrilyn Kenyon. I want to stop starting sagas and then forget about them, so one of my really late New Year resolutions is going to be keep reading at least the book series I have started this year. And reconnect with some of the ones I forgot about a lot time ago (soooo many!!). I have even created a Goodreads shelf for them in order to keep them in mind.

The story of this book takes place several months before the first one. Some VIPER agents (Evalle included) have to investigate the weird killings of several expensive cows. They find that the culprit is a bizarre creature that someone has engineered. They must investigate the issue and neutralize the crazy guy experimenting with monsters.

Taking into account this is a pretty short book, I don’t have much to say. It’s pure action, which is what I was looking for. There is not character development. The contrary would be weird, because this story takes place before the first book. Fortunately, there is enough asskicking to forget and forgive that there is no kind of depth storytelling in the bunch of pages of Fire Bound.

OK. Maybe I have lied a little bit. We get to know the origin story of Evalle’s pet, so that’s kind of great and unexpected. He is such a cute gargoyle thingy!! I wonder if what we have learned about it (him? her?) will have an impact in future books… Wait and read, I suppose. Will I stay true to my word and read Alterant this year? I hope so!!

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2018 – Book Gallery

Dragonbane – Sherrilyn Kenyon

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Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon
Series: Dark-Hunter #24

Pages: 320

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Out of all the mysterious boarders who call Sanctuary home, no one is more antisocial or withdrawn than Maxis Drago. But then, it’s hard to blend in with the modern world when you have a fifty foot wingspan.

Centuries ago, he was cursed by an enemy who swore to see him fall. An enemy who took everything from him and left him forever secluded.

But Fate is a bitch, with a wicked sense of humor. And when she throws old enemies together and threatens the wife he thought had died centuries ago, he comes back with a vengeance. Modern day New Orleans has become a battleground for the oldest of evils. And two dragons will hold the line, or go down in flames.

This is book 24 of the Dark-Hunter saga. 24!! And I’m not even up-to-date. This month, the 27th will be published. Some people may be tired of Kenyon’s crazy world, but I love it even more now that it has got so big. My intention was to catch up with this saga before the new release, but I have to be honest with myself and drop the dream. I like to mix my books to make the hobby more fun. I will catch up, of course, but I’m not in a hurry.

This book is the book of Maxis, the weredragon that has been living in Sanctuary for a long time. He was betrayed by his mate and left her. The dragon thought she was dead, but suddenly appears in Sanctuary looking for him. Unfortunately, she wasn’t alone. Her queen Nala is with her, a long time enemy of Maxis. Even though he thought Seraphine hated him, she doesn’t tell her queen that her mate is close. Everyone leaves except Sera and the make-up ride begins.

The story is rather simple. What is complex is the world that Kenyon has been building over the years, so there are a lot of pieces all over the table. Keeping track of everything could be daunting, but the author does her best to make the book easier for the reader. The cast is so big, that a big chunk of the book is just to introduce one character to another and build the relationship among them. If there is something I love about Kenyon’s style is her sense of humor and outstanding banter in the dialogs. That makes the reading such a wonderful experience. It’s like a Christmas dinner with a family (a rather huge one). It doesn’t matter how long you have been away… you are always welcome!!

That is why I can forigive Sherrilyn almost everything. I can even forgive that this book is a bit… lazy. Several times, she builds tension around a situation and then it ends abruptly: the rescue of Max’s children, the recovery of the Emerald Tablet, the escape of Sera and Max after the accidental stabbing… All those situations seemed pretty huge and dangerous, but they are resolved “behind the scenes”. As a reader, that left me a sour aftertaste. I wanted a big fight against the demons, but I guess that wasn’t in Kenyon’s plans. I was expecting more for those moments, so I’m a bit disappointed by them.

As always, the best part of the book are the characters. It’s obviously that she loves creating new pawns for her world and Im glad for it. In this case, Hadyn (Max’s son) is my favourite addition. I have no idea if she plans to make a book for him, but I hope there is one in the future!! Yeah, I have a weird crush even though we barely know him!!

My favourite moment of the book: the reunion between Nick and Acheron. It’s not a proper meeting, but they get to be in the same room and they behave!! They even exchange a few words!! As a huge fan of Ash and Nick, I am relieved to see that their friendship is not as dead as it seemed. Or maybe it was just that the situation called for adults and not kids throwing tantrums. Nah, I prefer the optimistic explanation. If there is something I have a huge respect for in the Dark-Hunter books is the optimism. It doesn’t matter if everything looks lost, there is always a light that the heroes can follow to triumph.

Obviously, they are going to need that light to face the Apollo and Kessar situation. Is there going to be a bloody conflict or will be resolved easily as the situations in this book? I’ll know the answer with the next one, which I plan to read this year if everything goes as planned.

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2018 – Book Gallery

Intensity – Sherrilyn Kenyon

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Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon
Series: Chronicles of Nick #8

Pages: 400

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It’s a demon-eat-demon world for Nick Gautier. Just when he thinks he’s finally gotten a handle on how not to take over the world and destroy it, Death returns with an all-star cast that is determined to end the Malachai reign and lineage forever. Worse? Death and War have found the one, true enemy Nick can’t find, and even if he did, it’s one he could never bring himself to banish or kill.

Now framed for murders he hasn’t committed, and surrounded by new friends who might be turncoats, Nick is learning fast how his father went down in flames.

The heat in New Orleans is rising fast, and Nick’s threat-level has gone into a whole new level of intensity. He’s learning fast that when War and Death decide to battle, they don’t take prisoners. The don’t negotiate. And they’re both immune to his biting sarcasm and Cajun charm. To win this, he will have to embrace a new set of powers, but one wrong step, and he will belong to the side of Darkness, forever.

I have already said this over here, but I don’t mind repeating myself about that matter: Sherrilyn Kenyon is one of my favourite authors ever!! I love her crazy universes where anything could happen. Her sense of humor. Her love for redeeming the irredeemable. Her sense of adventure. Kenyon’s books are always a pleasure to read!! The Chronicles of Nick is the saga that I enjoy the most. But Intensity is the book I have enjoyed the least; but it’s not a bad book at all.

It’s hard to say what is the plot of this one. Is there really a plot? It feels like the last chapter of a TV Show where the main character just makes a tour among their people to say goodbye. Everyone must get some minutes for a proper ending. The problem with Kenyon is that she likes her books packed with characters, so this book is 90% talking with other characters without any further development. Yes, Nick has some trouble… but it’s not really the most important part of the book. The story is all about more revelations about the Malachai history and little more.

This is meant to be the last book of The Chronicles of Nick saga, but Kenyon, being true to her nature, couldn’t stop here and she is planning a new set of books with Nick and his son Cyprian: Shadows of Fire. This is really good news because I love the characters. But it has also meant bad news for the ending of The Chronicles of Nick. It has been weak, leaving a lot of holes that I guess will be filled nicely in that new saga. It’s not fair, though. This saga deserved a big ending and not this huge menage of characters with a couple of minutes for each.

The reason I love Kenyon’s crazy universes is the same reason I have been a bit lost reading this book. Granted, I’ve been away for too long from the Hunterverse and my knowledge of the characters isn’t as exhaustive as before. It’s the kind of saga where you need a notepad to make notes about all the cast and facts. Otherwise, you are going to feel overwhelmed sooner or later. I could barely keep up with all the characters in this last book of The Chronicles of Nick. As I’ve said before, it seems that almost every character had something to say to Nick…

When I was almost at the end of the book I had a bad feeling about the ending. There were a lot of plot lines that needed to be closed and the author wasn’t aiming for any of those. What happens at the end has left me speechless and a bit angry. I will have to re-read it, because I’m not sure if I have understood it. The jumps in the timeline are crazier that usual, which doesn’t help at all with my understanding of the final book.

I know this review looks bad, but the book is very enjoyable. Nick is as saracstic as always and that always makes me smile. I LOVE all the characters of this Universe, so I’m glad everyone had a moment to at least say something. Fingers crossed we will see most of them in other books of the Hunterverse.

By the way… what is the deal with the cover?? They have broken the template of the saga with this one. It’s not a bad cover per se, but it is very disappointing. I guess it is as weird as the the book itself, though.

 

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2018 – Book Gallery

Blood Trinity – Sherrilyn Kenyon & Dianna Love

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Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon & Dianna Love
Series: Belador #1
Pages: 519

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All her life, Evalle has been straddling the line between human and demon. Curious about her origins, but content to live in the shadows, she finds that anonymity threatened by escalating conflicts between species. Accused of a savage murder, she’s forced center stage in what seems like the beginning of an Atlanta apocalypse. Before long though, her personal problems will submerge as she learns startling facts about a hoard of supernatural terrorists.

This book has been in one of my shelfs for several years, but finally I have picked it. One more series I start… I’m a series starter. Not so much a finisher. But I’m still young, so…

Urban Fantasy is by far my favourite genre, even though I read romance more. That’s because in Spain, the former is not very popular. I always have to explain what Urban Fantasy is to my friends and family. As you can imagine, few books of that genre are found in bookshops over here. Urban Fantasy by Sherrilyn Kenyon is a plus. She is one of my favourite writers, no matter what she writes.

The fist book of the Belador saga is just a huge display of the fictional world both authors have imagined. There are character introductions in every chapter and, by the end of the book, the cast size is quite impressive. It’s the kind of character display I’m used to finding in Paranormal Romance, where authors present the characters that will star in the upcoming books. But in the Belador series it seems we are not changing the main character any time soon. So, yeah, the character treatment is unexpected for the Urban Fanatasy genre. The description of the male ones is SO typical of Romance books. Something I can totally understand taking into account both authors are also romance writers.

Enough rambling! Did I like the book? No doubt about that. The main character is Evalle, a Belador (some kind of celtic warrior) that keeps demon at bay. But she is a special branch of Belador called Alterant. They are very rare. The main difference is that they can shift into very dangerous beasts. If an Alterant becomes a monster, it’s captured and locked forever. That’s why Evalle works harder than most and keeps most of her work mates far away. She has huge trusting issues for several reasons: her Alterant condition, tough childhood… She only has two Belador friends: Tzader and Quinn (a couple of über sexy hunks, of course).

This books opens a lot of plot lines and barely close any: the search of the Ngak Stone before it claims a new host, the impending trial before the Tribunal to decide her fate, the mysterious Isak’s inquisition, the getting to know Storm, the blind woman and the Kujoo… And I bet I’m forgetting something. It’s a bit too much and many of those end in a “To be continued” that, for some reason, has been more hurtful than other cliffhangers I have encountered so far. On the other hand, so much in the plate has made this book very fast paced, which is always a nice plus for Urban Fantasy. It’s a genre where you expect a lot of ass-kicking. This one delivers.

The mythology Dianna and Sherrilyn have created is very rich, as I always expect in a Kenyon book. It can feel a bit cramped for the untrained reader, but it’s always good to know that the following books will have a crazy Universe to plant their roots. The crazier the Universe, the better an Urban Fantasy book will be. That’s my opinion, at least.

There is also a bit of romance involved. Evalle hasn’t got a couple in her whole life, but suddenly she finds two candidates: Storm and Isak. Both tall, handsome and ripped (one more trait taken from Romance books). Isak is a human mercenary that hates supernatural beings, especially Alterants (go figure…) and Storm is a cursed werepanther. Which one I think is a better suitor for her? That’s a tough one. Isak looks like he is going to be a lot of trouble once he finds out what Evalle is; but he is still a mystery. So far, Isak has been pretty nice. Storm is actually the worst of the book, in my opinion. He is just the classic shifter from Paranormal Romance books. You know, the ones whose animal part is the one that fells in love due to a weird mystical mating… I can’t barely believe love stories when they start that way. So yeah, Storm is currently better positioned to win Evalle’s heart, but my candidate to support is going to be Isak. At least for the moment.

The main course of the book is the Ngak Stone and the Kujoo warriors. The last ones are the Belador nemesis. They want to use a very powerful artifact (the Ngak Stone) to get rid of every Belador there is. As you can imagine, there are several clashes between both factions that make the story fluid easily. There is also a nice story among a reformed Kujoo warrior and the new host for the Ngak Stone. That part is actually my favourite. Very sweet.

If you don’t mind your Urban Fantasy with a side of romance (very light romance, I swear!!), this book is very enjoyable. It doesn’t let the reader to take a breath, which conceals some of the flaws of the narration (the timeline is a mess!).

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Next: Off Base by Annabeth Albert