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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

'Night Embrace' Dark Hunter #2 by Sherrilyn KENYON

From the BLURB:

Dear Reader,

Life is great for me. I have my chicory coffee, my warm beignets, and my best friend on the cell phone. Once the sun goes down, I am the baddest thing prowling the night: I command the elements, and I know no fear. For centuries, I've protected the innocent and watched over the mankind, making sure they are safe in a world where nothing is ever certain. All I want in return is a hot babe in a red dress, who wants nothing more from me then one night.

Instead, I get a runaway Mardi Gras float that tries to turn me into roadkill and a beautiful woman who saves my life but can't remember where she put my pants. Flamboyant and extravagant, Sunshine Runningwolf should be the perfect woman for me. She wants nothing past tonight, no ties, no long-term commitments.

But every time I look at her, I start yearning for dreams that I buried centuries ago. With her unconventional ways and ability to baffle me, Sunshine is the one person I find myself needing. But for me to love her would mean her death. I am cursed never to know peace or happiness-not so long as my enemy waits in the night to destroy us both.

--Talon of the Morrigantes

This is the second book in Sherrilyn Kenyon’s ‘Dark Hunter’ series. This second instalment follows Dark-Hunter, Talon - a Celtic warrior (Druid?) who was forced to watch his father, mother, wife, unborn babe and sister die after he incurred the wrath of a Celtic god called Camulus.

As happens to all Dark-Hunter’s, Talon was so incensed by his loss that upon his death the Goddess, Artemis, gave him a chance to seek vengeance by becoming immortal and gaining retribution. After Talon killed everyone who had slain his family (and him) he agreed to work for Artemis slaying Daimons and Apollites whose sole purpose is to wreak havoc on humanity.

When we first met Talon in book #1, ‘Night Pleasures’, he was introduced as an insatiable ladies man who lived out on the New Orleans swamps, wore biker leather and drove around on his kick-ass motorbike. He was a true recluse, not even having a Squire for company. I was instantly intrigued by him.

Unfortunately my expectations for Talon weren’t really met in his book.

Talon’s HEA comes in the form of Sunshine Runningwolf. Sunshine is an artist/free-spirit/soy-cheese-eater who Talon stumbles across when she is set upon by Daimons. He saves her, but is injured in the process – and Sunshine helps him recover (with some bedroom aerobics on the side). But it becomes apparent to Talon that Sunshine is more than she appears – she is in fact the reincarnation of his dead wife, Nynia.
Nynia/Sunshine and Talon are true soul-mates who have found each other after centuries apart.

But Talon still has the wrath of Camulus to contend with if he wants his happily-ever-after with Sunshine. And Sunshine has to decide if Talon really loves her, or the memory of Nynia.

I didn’t really warm to Sunshine (ironic, huh?). She was a bit annoying – I thought she would be, with a ‘free love’ name like Sunshine Runningwolf, but I at least hoped her heat with Talon would make up for any pitfalls in character. Unfortunately, that was not the case. I’m sorry, but no matter how many times Talon claimed to love her smell, patchouli is not a nice scent – it just reminds me of those University students I try to avoid when they shove a petition in my face. It conjures images of hemp and tofu, and there is nothing sexy about either.

I was also a little disappointed by Talon in this book. I had such high-hopes for him, mostly because he was portrayed as a real hard-ass recluse with a tough exterior. But he became putty in Sunshine’s hand a little too quickly for me, and it ruined his bad-boy appeal.

I was also a little put-off by Kenyon’s quick and easy resolutions in this book. For me, the biggest obstacle facing Talon and Sunshine was the fact that Sunshine couldn’t know if Talon loved her for her, or his memories of Nynia. But a lot of that problem-solving is done through Talon’s internal monologues, when Talon realizes he likes Sunshine’s stubborn hot headedness more than Nynia’s timidness etc. And I really don’t think Sunshine was concerned enough about her apprehensions – at one point Kenyon offers up a throw-away one-sentence line in which Sunshine admits her previous boyfriend only dated her because she reminded him of his ex. I think that’s quite an important, impacting thing to have happened to Sunshine right before she meets Talon. Surely that experience would have manifested itself more in her and Talon’s relationship?
It just seemed that the relationship obstacle wasn’t explored enough, for my liking.

“I’m your husband.”
She snorted and raked him with a bemused stare. “Not in this lifetime, buddy.” She held up her left hand for his inspection. “I don’t see no wedding ring on my finger, and the last time I checked, you didn’t come charging into town on the back of your black warhorse, sweeping me off my feet and asking me to be yours.”

One thing I will say for Ms. Sherrilyn Kenyon – she knows how to whet reader’s appetites. I am really falling for Acheron – the Dark-Hunter ‘leader’. He’s really turning out to be one of the funniest, sexiest characters – and in ‘Night Embrace’ Kenyon also drops hints about his rather tragic past. I find it especially sad that Acheron is Artemis’s sexual scratching post – poor guy! I am loving Acheron, but my heart sinks to think that his book is number #22 !!!! Seriously? It seems like Kenyon is doing so much characterization for him in this second book that surely his instalment should come sooner? Please?! Can I possibly skip ahead to his? He’s just so funny and likable;

“How old does that make you?”
“Eleven thousand five hundred and fifty-one years old, and yes, I feel every day of it.”
“Wow, I had no idea. Hell, I didn’t even know we had people back then.”
“Yeah, I was part of the original Bedrock crew who worked in the quarry on the back of dinosaurs and ran with the Flinstones. Barney Rubble was short, but he played a good game of stone-knuckle.”

I also really love Zarek – the ‘rogue’ Dark-Hunter who everyone thinks is insane and needs killing. I have a soft spot for these seemingly psychotic, marshmallow characters (thankyou, Zsadist). And yes, it might also be the similarity in the names (especially when Kenyon nicknames Zarek, ‘Z’). But I am also sad to learn that Zarek doesn’t get a whole book to himself – his story instead appears in a short-story entitled ‘Dance with the Devil’. That sucks! He could have definitely carried his own book!

I wasn’t terribly impressed with this second book in Kenyon’s ‘Dark-Hunter’ series. BUT I am liking her character development of upcoming Dark-Hunter’s enough to persist with the series... even though my instincts are telling me to read Acheron’s book and then call it quits.



  1. Nice review... im still on the fence about starting this series hehe =)

  2. Sunshine is not my favorite heroine in this series. I do love Ash (and Nick too). I hope you like the next book. And I like the were-hunters, I don't *think* you've come across any of those yet.


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