I started reading Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark-Hunter series some time last year. I read the first four books in the series, and the first of another series, and have been enjoying the books immensely. I read two more of the books in January, Night Play, book 5, and Seize the Night, book 6. Ideally I would like to be completely caught up by all of the books by the time her next release in the series arrives later this year.
While each book is a romance, that is not what really caught my interest. Kenyon has done a brilliant job of creating her own mythology around that which has existed and been passed down for millenia. That mythology is primarily what keeps me involved in the series. Stories of curses, an eleven-thousand year old Atlantean God with his own personal Charonte demon, immortal warriors of Artemis who fight of the rogue creatures of Apollo – there is so much take in as one reads through the stories. Then, of course, there are the Dream-Hunters, mention of the fates, the justice nymphs, and the Were-Hunters. I really have been captivated since book one. This is the type of stuff that makes my head spin (in a good way of course).
Night Play is a bit different than the first four books. Each of those four focused on different Dark-Hunters but in book five Kenyon gives us the story of one of the Were-Hunters (we actually meet him the first time in book 2). Vane is an Arcadian Wolf – which basically means that his base form is human and he can change into a wolf at will – who hasn’t had an easy life. His parents hated each other and as a result his mother wanted nothing to do with her pups. As a result Vane and his brother and sister were left to be raised in their fathers pack. Their father constantly treated them horribly, yet they really had no choice but to stay with the pack for fear of being left unprotected. Vane was actually born Kattagaria – which means his base form was wolf and he would change to human on occasion – as his siblings and father were, but when he hit puberty his base form changed leaving him vulnerable. When Vane’s sister passes away, he and his brother are left for dead by their father, a move that he had been trying to make for some time.
Night Play starts on the night that the two brothers are hung and left in a New Orleans swamp. After this night, Vane’s brother is left in something of a comatose state and after taking him to Sancutary, a safe haven for all creatures with no pack, Vane is left unsure what to do to help his brother. It is after going to sanctuary that Vane meets his mate Bride, which is an interesting process all its own. Bride learns that there is a world she never knew about out there while Vane learns of a brother he never knew and must face an enemy. Without giving too much away, the battle faced turns out quite interesting, and of course, our good guy is victorious as well as getting his happy ending with his mate.
As for how I feel about Night Play, I really liked this one. Not only did I love the characters in it – with the exception of Bride’s ex-boyfriend who I would’ve cocked upside the head if possible – I liked the newness of it. I had gotten to know some of the Dark-Hunters, their backgrounds, and the way things work among them with only passing mention of the Were-Hunters and how things at Sanctuary work in the previous installments. I loved the peek into Were-Hunter life, pack life, and this whole new facet of shifter mythology.
Seize the Night brings us back to the world of the Dark-Hunters. Valerius, once a grand Roman military fighter/leader, is now serving Artemis as once of her hunters for eternity. He thinks he has seen everything is his roughly 2000 years of life, but when he witnesses a woman unlike any other he has seen before single handedly fighting a group of Daimons, he is awestruck. The woman he sees is Tabitha, who we may recall is the twin sister of Amanda from book one. Seize the Night offers us not only the crazy fighting and witness to a world of Daimons, Spathi demons, and magic, but also some fun personal drama.
I generally am not a fan of drama, at all – by this I mean the he said, she said/soap opera type. I want nothing to do with it, yet I must admit that I really looked forward to what would happen when Kyrian and Julian figured out that the hated Valerius Magnus is in town. I was not let down by this one. Seeing the situation between Valerius and Kyrian (who happens to be married to Amanda) play out was quite fun, plus watching Valerius and Tabitha together… well I couldn’t help but laugh. Valerius is a high bred Roman used to only the best of the best while Tabitha is a free soul, playful, and has the gall to serve phallic shaped pasta to mentioned high-bred Roman (at least I thought his reaction was funny). Bottom line – both books were good.
There is however, one thing that I’ve noticed about the books lately that has kind of thrown me off. I’ve noticed that as we go into the series everything ends up a little too happily ever after. It seems that everyone ends up immortal and things are all just peachy-keen, courtesy of the Atlantean God mentioned earlier (for the most part anyway – there are other gods/goddesses involved). Aside from everything ending up a bit more ideal than neccesary – and certainly more ideal than one would ever get in the real world – I still really enjoy the books. I like reading about the adventures, the different creatures in the world, the way things work amongst the gods, and so on. I look forward to continuing on with this series and her others.
If you are a fan of books that dabble in mythology these are good books to check out, just remember that they are romances, and they are not PG.