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Friday, June 4, 2010

'Night Pleasures' Dark Hunter #1 by Sherrilyn KENYON


From the BLURB:

Dear Reader,


Have you ever wanted to know what it's like to be immortal? To journey through the night stalking the evil that preys on humans? To have unlimited wealth, unlimited power? That is my existence, and it is dark and dangerous. I play hero to thousands, but am known to none. And I love every minute of it.


Or so I thought until one night when I woke up handcuffed to my worst nightmare: a conservative woman in a button-down shirt. Or in Amanda's case, buttoned all the way up to her chin. She's smart, sexy, witty, and wants nothing to do with the paranormal-in other words, me.


My attraction to Amanda Devereaux goes against everything I stand for. Not to mention the last time I fell in love it cost me not only my human life, but also my very soul. Yet every time I look at her, I find myself wanting to try again. Wanting to believe that love and loyalty do exist.


Even more disturbing, I find myself wondering if there's any way a woman like Amanda can love a man whose battle scars run deep, and whose heart was damaged by a betrayal so savage that he's not sure it will ever beat again.


- Kyrian of Thrace


This is the first book in Sherrilyn Kenyon’s ‘Dark Hunter’ series, which is currently 27 books deep. This first book, ‘Night Pleasures’, was released in 2002. I say ‘first book’, but really the novel ‘Fantasy Lover’ is what kicks-off the series, without actually making mention of the Dark-Hunter mythology. First-time D-H readers should probably start with ‘Fantasy Lover’, but wouldn’t be completely astray if they began their series foray with ‘Pleasures’.

I would call the D-H series ‘Blackdagger Brotherhood’ lite. More akin to Lara Adrian’s ‘Midnight Breed’ series than the Warden’s epic serial saga. Like Adrian, Kenyon lands more heavily in the ‘paranormal romance’ genre, emphasis on the ‘romance’ fluff.

One thing I loved about Kenyon’s D-H world is her spin on the vampire mythology. Her’s is a very unique retelling of the old vampiric lore – mixing Gothic and Greek mythology. According to Kenyon’s world, immortal Dark-Hunters were created by the Gods of Mount Olympus. Kenyon’s mythological roots start with a conversation between Zeus and Apollo. As Kenyon’s story goes, Apollo and Zeus had a friendly bet about who could make a superior race. Apollo fathered the ‘Apollites’ – a race so superior to humans that Zeus banished them to the island of Atlantis. One day Apollo became enraged by his Apollites – so he turned them into something akin to the ravaging animals they had become – giving them fangs, honed senses, turning them into ‘Daimons’. Over the years their blood-drinking and fangs leant imagination to the ‘vampire’ myth.
To combat the Appolites/Daimons, Artemis (the Goddess of the Hunt) sought to create hunters out of humans. Any human who died seeking vengeance would be given an opportunity for immortal life, to serve Artemis’s cause once their own vengeance was met.

It’s a very convoluted retelling of the vampire lore – but if you’ve ever read any Greek mythology you know that all those stories are long-winded and a little bit complicated (especially when Zeus seemingly fathered *everyone*). But Kenyon’s explanation is so unique, and brings Greek gods into the story to really make things interesting.

Since Kenyon’s mythology started when the Gods ruled Mount Olympus, Dark Hunters have been being created for a *long* time. It means Kenyon writes some very interesting male characters – like Kyrian of Thrace. Kyrian is old enough to remember Helen of Troy and have a serious grudge against the Romans.
Kenyon really revels in combining the supernatural with ancient history – and if you have a love of history it makes things interesting. It means Kenyon can pull out characters from Troy, to King Arthur and Tutankhamun – giving real scope to her series.

Kyrian’s Dark Hunter role is flipped on its head when he meets Amanda – a boring accountant recently jilted by her fiancé. Suddenly Kyrian’s life isn’t all about hunting and killing – now he can’t stop thinking about this accountant and being preoccupied with her safety.

He kissed her lightly on the lips. “What I am is a man in love with a woman. I want you, Amanda. For the rest of my blessedly short mortal life. I want to wake at dawn with you in my arms, and watch our children play and fight. Hell, I even want to hear them back-talk me.”
She smiled at him. “Are you sure?”

“I have never been more sure of anything in my life...”


I really liked the Kyrian/Amanda romance. Their relationship isn’t anything new or groundbreaking, and it is all predictable. But I still enjoyed reading it – despite knowing it was all going to end with ‘happily ever after’.

Kenyon sets up some wonderful secondary characters, including a Yoda-like Dark Hunter leader called Acheron who constantly dyes his hair in outlandish colours. Or the Celt warrior called Talon who feels most comfortable in the nude and rides a sweet motorbike.

This first book didn’t blow me away, but I will be sticking with it. I’m intrigued enough that D-H has 27 books and a legion of devoted fans who swear by their obsession. And I liked the hints Kenyon dropped about upcoming books and characters.
‘Night Pleasures’ was predictable and so-so, but I loved the Greek/Vampire mythology Kenyon has thought up and her God/Goddess characters.

3/5

5 comments:

  1. Fantasy Lover is one of my LEAST favorite books. I liked this one..but they get better. I really enjoyed working my way through this series last year.

    Talon..oh Talon....LOL

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  2. The DH books were the first adult romance books I read after I finished Twilight and was looking for more vampire stuff. They do get better, I hope you'll enjoy them!

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  3. Danielle,

    I started with Fantasy Lover and almost called it quits. But I am glad I stayed with the series - because they just get better with each installment. :)

    M

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  4. hmmmmm 27 books huh? LOL I wanna read it, just need the time hehe

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  5. I hate this book and its heroes. Kyrian and Amanda are so boring, their story just got me annoyed. I hate it when the hero spends half his time crying and lost in self-pity. Amanda is a crap of heroine, boring, annoying with that litany of 'I'm a normal woman, with a normal life, with normal friends'... I hate them with a fiery passion, to the point I skip their scenes in any book.

    However, the book had its nice side - D'Alerian. I absolutely love him. He needs his own story.

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