September 17, 2013

Book Review: Born of Night by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Reviewer: Lindsey Fairleigh

Title: Born of Night (formerly "Born of the Night")
Series: The League (book 1)
Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon
Indie or Traditional: Traditional (St. Martin)
Genre(s): Romance, Science Fiction, Space, Aliens
Main Character(s): Kiara Zamir, Nykyrian Quiakides/Nemesis
Rating: 4/5 stars

Sherrilyn Kenyon's website

In the Ichidian Universe, The League and their ruthless assassins rule all. Expertly trained and highly valued, the League Assassins are the backbone of the government. But not even the League is immune to corruption . . .

Command Assassin Nykyrian Quikiades once turned his back on the League—and has been hunted by them ever since. Though many have tried, none can kill him or stop him from completing his current mission: to protect Kiara Zamir, a woman whose father’s political alliance has made her a target.

As her world becomes even deadlier, Kiara must entrust her life to the same kind of beast who once killed her mother and left her for dead. Old enemies and new threaten them both and the only way they can survive is to overcome their suspicions and learn to trust in the very ones who threaten them the most: each other.

I liked Born of Night quite a bit, though there were a few negatives that kept it from being a five-star book for me. This is my third Sherrilyn Kenyon book, preceded on my virtual shelf by Fantasy Lover and Night Pleasures of the Dark-Hunter series, and I have to admit it's my favorite of her books so far. Though each is engaging and nicely steamy, all three romances left me with the questions: Why do the h/H love each other, and how did that happen so quickly? That being said, BoN is the least guilty of this, and I have to admit to thoroughly enjoying Kenyon's writing style. Okay, let's get down to some details...

WARNING: Spoilers may lie ahead!

  • The world building. Period. It was so fan-freaking-tastic I don't really know what to say. The way I see it, there are two options for introducing readers to a fictional (especially a science fictional or fantastical) world: (1) Let the reader discover the world with the MC(s), or (2) describe it so dang well that even though it's completely different from the world we're currently living in, it's easy to see--it's believable. BoN falls into the latter category, with plenty of alien races and planets and crazily spelled names, but despite those complexities, my mind remained unboggled thanks to the skill with which the world was crafted. 
  • The characters, especially Nykyrian and Kiara. Nyk was the quintessential tortured hero with a very troubled, often gray past, and Kiara, despite being a super wealthy and adored princess/dancer, had about as kind of a heart as a person can have. Her kindness is essentially the balm that soothes Nyk's many devastating emotional wounds, and that makes her character eternally lovable in my opinion.
  • There was an amazing "Oh shit! No she didn't!" moment reminiscent of one from KMM's Fever series, though the succeeding anticipatory "How the hell is Kenyon going to fix this" moment didn't last nearly as long. It was very well done. I shall say no more.
  • The Lorinas. Who doesn't love a temperamental cat-like alien creature that is utterly devoted to its humanoid owner?
  • The super steamy but not gratuitous sex scenes. For not having much experience, Nyk sure seems to know what he's doing!
  • By the end of the book, I was really rooting for Nyk and Kiara to find a way to be together. 

  • The "Oops! I'm pregnant!" phenomenon strikes again. This cross-genre trend is driving me bonkers. Our MC, Kiara, who just happens to be the princess of an entire freaking planet in the future, affording her all the education and social grace that customarily come with such a position, is oblivious to the basic facts of life. Yes, sweetie, when a man and a woman have sex--repeatedly--without using any kind of protection (or even considering it, either in prep or in regret post-coitus), it is quite common for said man to end up impregnating said woman. 
  • Syn's mood swings. First, he thinks Kiara is great, then he hates her with a fiery passion and isn't afraid to show her and Nyk evidence of his hatred at any possible moment, and then...viola! He marches back on page and is the most compassionate, kind, supportive friend to Kiara. I suppose it is possible that I missed something and this abrupt change from "I hate you and hope the assassins succeed in killing you" to "I'll be here for you, whatever you need" is actually explained...
  • Kiara's dad is such an uber-douche. Really? Really? Was it absolutely necessary to order Nyk's immediate execution after he saved your daughter's life about a thousand times and returned her safely to you? Really? Fine, whatever, but would an apology be so difficult? Maybe just a teeny weeny one?

So, despite the negatives listed, this book had strong enough positives and was just so dang enjoyable that it earned four out of five stars from me. I liked it, a lot, and I think it's safe to say I'll be reading Born of Fire, the next book in the series. I would recommend Born of Night to anyone who loves a sexy romance with a reality-bending twist. Fans of PNR would probably find this a good gateway book into the SFR genre.

4/5 stars

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