Friday, December 04, 2009

Recent Read

Born of Night by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Why this one: I’m pretty sure I read it years ago – at least I read a couple of her futuristics and enjoyed them enough that when I heard she would be rereleasing them, I wanted to give them a try. I love this genre in general.

Steam Level: Between hot and a rolling boil. Not a full boil mind you – but hot enough to enjoy

In the Ichidian Universe, the Leauge rules 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 Quiakides 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 endanger 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

My Thoughts: Hmmmm – this one is a toughie!! While I really enjoyed this book and found it one of those books that was hard to put down, I do have definite issues with it. I’m normally a 90/10 emotional vs. technical reader and the 90% emotional reader was quite happy. But the 10% reader in me noticed things that could have been better – or had less of. First off – in regards to the previous post, Nykyrian was an overtortured hero. As Hilcia pointed out, while not the kitchen sink exactly, the toilet was thrown in. I almost think the author went along and said how much more can we make this guy take – and I found it distracting.

This is a rewrite from a book published much earlier in Ms. Kenyon’s career and as I was reading it, it was hauntingly familiar. I just wish she had taken the time to do a bit more than heap more torture on the hero. The world building for example, could have used some more work. It’s a futuristic, but oftentimes didn’t really feel all that much futureisticy. I know – that’s not a real word, but it sounds good. There were also a couple of plot holes that didn’t make sense. For example; the father of Kiara, our heroine, hired Nykyrian, our hero, and his team to safeguard his daughter from bloodthirsty bounty hunters. Then without explanation, he wants the team he hired dead! I couldn’t figure out why. When she was returned, her father said the bounty had been lifted, but just a chapter before that, the bounty had been increased significantly and she was to be terminated at any cost and whoever set the bounty on her would not be persuaded to change it. So the fact that all of a sudden it was lifted, without any explanation just didn’t make sense. Nor did the fact that her father wanted Nykyrian and his team dead. Kind of a killer move for any repeat business he might have wanted.

Normally I don’t notice this kind of thing, but in this case, I was left thinking ‘huh?’ The low percentage of the technical reader in me didn’t really care for this reaction.
But on the other hand, the artistic reader in me was quite happy!

Nykyrian was a trained assassin in a brutal world. But when he was sent on assignment that was too horrific for even him, he left the League. Since the only real way out of the League was death, he was constantly aware he could be caught and killed at any time.

After leaving the League, he began fighting against the very thing he had been a part of. Nykyrian first meets Keria when he is hunting down some vicious bounty hunters who had captured her and were about to do some nasty things. Kiara is at first repelled by this fearsome man and horrified when she finds out who he is. But gradually she sees another side to him and as we, the reader, see his inner dialogue, we see a softer side; a man who has become what he is against his will and who has been powerless for much of his life.

As mentioned earlier, when Kiaras’ father hears about the threat to his daughter’s life, he hires Nykyrian and crew. Kiara is at first horrified to be stuck with this killer, but as she gets to know him and sees some of his past and the past of some of his crew, she slowly begins to develop deep feelings for this tortured soul. But as a princess and the daughter of the leader of their world, there can be nothing between her and this wanted man she is coming to love.

For his part, Nykyrian has had feelings for her all along. A world renowned dancer as well as royalty, Nykyrian is well aware of who she is from the first and he is strongly attracted to her. But as an assassin who is wanted throughout the universe and a man who has no softness, he refuses to allow those feelings any room to grow – or so he thinks.

I enjoyed this book, really I did. As can be agreed by many readers, Ms. Kenyon has a way of drawing in a reader despite the flaws. While yes, the hero crosses the line and becomes an overtortured tortured hero, I still couldn’t help but feeling for him even as I was aware in the recess of my mind I was being manipulated. It was a manipulation I went along with.

Now grading this one is the most difficult one I’ve ever done.
The 10 % technical reader in me gives it a 3 out of 5.
The 90% artistic reader in me gives it a 4.5 out of 5.

But because we are talking fractions and decimal points in order to find the average – the math involved in trying to figure this out gives me the hives. Math and I do not like each other. I could explain what I’m going for and ask Ryan, the math wizard, what the average would be but if he wanted to know why I want this kind of number for, and I had to tell him it was for the grade of a romance novel – well, he just doesn’t understand. He’s still trying to figure out why I called him at work to ask if my coworker could claim their new Dyson vacuum cleaner on their taxes. So this grade isn’t really all that reflective of the two opposing types of readers.

Grade: 3.933333333333333


nath said...

Hmmm, I haven't bought this book. I've kind of given up on Sherrilyn Kenyon :( It's too bad that Ms Kenyon didn't take time prucing things up.

LOL, love your grade :D

Katie Reus said...

Your breakdown of your grading system made me laugh *g* This sounds like something I'd like but I'm pretty biased as far as SK goes. So far I've liked everything I've read of hers. Thanks for the detailed review :)

Leslie said...

Isn't it interesting how we let some authors manipulate us? I know I do it. Mostly because I know the payoff will be worth the frustation the manipulation may cause me. Reader logic I guess. :)

Is that grade like a B++++? LOL

Marissa said...

I just bought the first three parts in this series, looking forward to read them, I like Kenyon's work.

orannia said...

I love that grade Kristie!

As Hilcia pointed out, while not the kitchen sink exactly, the toilet was thrown in.

LOL! Brilliant. And yes, there is, as discussed in your previous post, a line which, when crossed, would render the hero incapable of human relationships. I'm taking SK dances close to that line with this hero?

Lorraine said...

Thanks for the great review. I've read everything by SK, except the BAD books, and generally love her. For some reason, though, I was leery of picking up this series. It bugs me how her character's names across her varied series are so similar, eg, Sin vs. Sin, Stryker vs. Stryder, Nykrian vs. Kyrian, et al.

Oh well, guess I'll have to stuff my irritation. Clearly, this is another of her series worth reading.

Kristie (J) said...

Nath - I think a lot depends on what kind of reader you are. If you are more of a technical reader, it might not work as well. One thing I do have to say for this one on the plus side. It's not at all like her later books which before I stopped reading altogether, were more sequel bait for the next one then concentrating on the book at hand. While I was reading it, I was glad I had the next one and got the third one.

Katie: *g* It's very rare when the two sides of the reader in me are so split on a book. If I were more of a techy typ reader I think the grad would have been lower - but since I'm not, it wasn't :) And if you are a Sherrilyn Kenyon fan, I think you will really enjoy this one.

Leslie: Most of the time I'm not really aware that the author is manipulating me - but I really was in this one. The technical part was a bit annoyed, but the artistic part was impressed that I was and didn't mind.
As for a letter grade *chuckle* I don't know - more like B+-+-+-C+A-

Marissa: I think you will really enjoy these ones then. I quite enjoyed and I'm looking forward to the others.

Orannia: *chuckle* Different rooms - same idea. And he not only walked the line - he crossed it - but because he was just so darned pitiable - yet so alone - I couldn't help but not mind.

Lorraine: I read at the beginning of the book that this time round she changed some of the names and connected them as they were meant to be connected as she originally intended - so I'm not sure - but I think Nykyrian and Sin might have come before the other ones.
And while I still can't speak for the next two in these revamped reissues, I was quite impressed with this first one so I think you will find it fairly easy to put aside the annoyance *g*