Wednesday, July 15, 2009

TBR Challenge 2009: Sherrilyn Kenyon

I'm off to the RWA conference in DC. Will tell you all about and hopeful escape without any photographic proof that I was there since I am allergic to pictures of myself. But for your reading pleasure I give you the following reviews:

I was bad and didn't write up my review for the TBR challenge last month so here's three books by Sherrilyn Kenyon to make up for it.

Title: Upon a Midnight Clear

Published: October 2007 by St. Martin's

Number of Pages: 282

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Stand Alone/Series: Book 20. See here for reading list and reading order.

Why This Book: Because I'm a series junkie and that stupid OCD thing keeps making me buy and read this seemingly endless series.

From the Author Site: Ever think Scrooge had it right before the ghosts ruined his life and left him vulnerable?

At one time Aidan O’Conner was a world renowned celebrity who gave of himself and his money without wanting anything in return. Until those around him took without asking. Bitter betrayal came at him from all directions. Even those closest to him. Now he’s a man who wants nothing of the world or anyone who’s a part of it.

Until the night he finds a stranger on his doorstep that he’s seen before... in his dreams.

Born on Olympus as a goddess, Leta knows nothing of the human world. But a ruthless enemy has driven her from the world of dreams, into the home of the only man she knows. Her immortal powers are derived from human emotions and Aidan’s anger and hostility are just the fuel she needs to defend herself.

One cold winter’s night that will change both their lives

Trapped together by a storm, the two of them must do the one thing they swore they never would. Trust.

Hero: Aidan O'Conner a bitter A-list movie star whom everyone has turned against because his cousin Donnie paid/convinced them that Aidan was not a nice person.

Heroine: Leta a dream hunter who's nemesis is Dolor, the god of pain. When they last tangled she trapped him. Now he is loose and she must corral him once more.

Review: This really should have been a short story in a Christmas anthology. There just wasn't enough of the story to make it a full length book. The publisher certainly tried. Although the length of the book in relation to the number of pages seems sufficient, the reality is that they used a really LARGE print to make it look like a full sized book.

As to the story, it would have made a great short story with a little editing. This is a short story that was fluffed into a bad almost full length novel. A bit of cutting and pruning would have done wonders for the story.

What I liked best: Nothing. There was nothing I enjoyed about this book. *sigh*

What I least liked: Too many to list. Probably would have been better off not reading this story. It didn't add much to the overall storyline.

Keeper?: Probably not. But I'm a junkie so I may keep it for awhile.

Recommendation: Skip it. Nothing needed to move the overall storyline forward. The only useful fact is that the curse Zeus put on the Oneroi to not feel seems to be fading. But this was also covered in The Dream-Hunter, book 18 of the series.

Grade: D

Title: Dream Chaser

Published: February 2008 by St. Martin's

Number of Pages: 359

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Stand Alone/Series: Book 21. See here for reading list and reading order.

Why This Book: Because I'm a series junkie and that stupid OCD thing keeps making me buy and read this seemingly endless series.

From the Author Site: Dreaming was never so deadly or exciting...

Hades doesn't often give second chances.

Xypher has one month on Earth as a human to redeem himself through one good deed or be condemned to eternal torture in Tartarus.

Simone Dubois is a woman with a secret even she doesn't know. She's never understood why the dead haunt her, especially her sidekick who will never leave her alone. But over the years she's learned to cope. At least until an intriguing and lethal stranger walks into her life.

Now the fate of the world hangs in their hands...

It was bad enough when just the dead relied in her. Now there's Xypher who needs Simone to open a portal to hell.

And you thought you had bad days...

Hero: Xypher is a Skoti, a dream-hunter gone bad. For centuries, he has been in Tartarus, atoning for his crimes. But he made a deal which forces Hades to give Xypher a chance at a second chance. Xypher really doesn't want a second chance. He wants a chance at vengeance. Kill the person responsible for him being in Tartarus, the one who made him a Skoti. Got love this bad boy. He all gruff and rude as hell but on the inside he's really a nice guy.

Heroine: Simone Dubois seems to be your average "I see dead people" physic. But there is more to her than what is on the surface. As a medical examiner she sees a lot of dead people and sometime she see their ghosts and is able to provide them closure of a sort. She has been alone except for her constant companion, Jesse, a teenage ghost who died in the late 1980s.

Review: I liked Xypher from the point he first showed up in the series (The Devil May Cry). He definitely had "bad boy with a streak of goodness" written all over him. Just the fact that he was willing to help for a chance at vengeance, though he hid his reasons for holding up his end of the bargain. He's a straight shooter and doesn't hide what he is and what he wants. He reminded me very much like Zarek. I would have wanted a better heroine for him than Simone.

Simone is a goody-goody and seems to spend much of her time helping others, and in Xypher's case, even if they don't want it. Maybe because she has all those annoying ghost floating in and out of her life. Or maybe its do to the twist that Ms Kenyon made about 3/4 of the way through the book. But whatever it was, she's just annoying.

Ms Kenyon lately has had a lot of WTF going on with her storyline. It seems like every book since Unleash the Night (book 13) had something strange, unaccepted and just plain weird going on. Who knows what she's going to do next. It has made the series a bit disjointed and hard to keep up with since she keeps asking the reader to make all these leaps with her and accept all this new ideas/concepts into the world she has created.

What I liked best: The relationship between Jesse and Simone. Okay so if I were stuck with a 1980s teenager I probably would have tried to have him exorcised. But Simone and Jesse are family. A bit of a strange one, but they keep each other sane and love each other no matter what.

What I least liked: The mystery of Jaden. Is he human or is he demon? And if he isn't either, what in the hell is he? And exactly who is holding his chain. Ms. Kenyon does a wonderful job with bad boys gone good so Jaden's story should be interesting. And you know I'll probably still be buying her books. Just perhaps not new.

Keeper?: Yes

Recommendation: Could be read as a stand alone but there are tie-ins to the great story and much of the terminology of the world would need some explaining so it would be better to read as a part of the series. It picks up a loose end from the Devil May Cry (book 19 of series) and ties it up in a pretty little bow.

Grade: B-

Title: Acheron

Published: August 2008 by St. Martin's

Number of Pages: 816 (mass market paperback)

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Stand Alone/Series: Book 22. See here for reading list and reading order.

Why This Book: Because I'm a series junkie and that stupid OCD thing keeps making me buy and read this seemingly endless series. And this is Acheron's story and I've been waiting for it since book 2!

From the Author Site: Even though he was the youngest when he died, Acheron was the first Dark-Hunter ever appointed. He is also the writer of the Dark-Hunter Creed and of the Code we abide by.

Because of his Dark-Hunter age and the fact that he fought the Daimons alone for thousands of years, he is more phantom than real. He interacts with the other Dark-Hunters on a whim, and his sage advice is often sought.

Eccentric and idiosyncratic to the extreme, he is a legend among legends. The Dark-Hunters never know what to expect when Acheron enters a scene. He runs the full gamut from friendly to intimidating to downright scary.

It is said of him that there has never been a mortal born who could equal his physical perfection. He possesses a raw, rare kind of charisma.

To look at him is to want him. To see him is to ache to touch him.

Hero: Acheron, aka Ash, the leader of the Dark-Hunters. He is the oldest Dark-Hunter, having had this job since Apollo cursed the Apollites and Daimons were born. Although he did not get this calling from Artemis, who created all the other Dark-Hunters, she controls him because she controls the Dark-Hunter. He is a god and his word is law and he controls the final fate of the world.

Heroine: Soteria Kafieri, aka Tory, is a professor of archeology and has spent her life trying prove that Atlantis existed and reclaim her family's honor in the eyes of the academic community.

Review: Acheron has been a walking mystery up until Sins of the Night (book 11). We knew he was the last of his kind. At first is was the fact that he was Atlantean. But in Sins we find out he's a God, the last of the Atlantean pantheon still free to walk the earth. His mother, Apollymi the Great Destroyer, is the only other Atlantean god left but trapped and if freed will destroy the world.

The first half of the book deals with Acheron's mortal life and the beginning of the Dark-Hunters The short, the Beginning, is included vertatim, at the appropriate place in the storyline. I would have thought Ms Kenyon would have reworked it so that it would be fresh or left it out completely, but unfortunately it was a retelling of the same story. Acheron is definitely in the running for the most tortured hero. He certainly had hell on earth and then it followed him into his immortal existence thanks to Artemis.

The second half of the book is the love story between Acheron and Tory with Artemis and Stryker as the villians. It wasn't the best but it also wasn't the worst. I'm not sure that it was worth all the hype and waiting. An interesting story with only a couple of WTFs to take in. It was nice to see some of the others from earlier in the series but it also left some loose ends to tie up. But thats to be expected as this seems to be the never-ending series.

What I liked best: Simi. What's there not to like about Simi. Barbeque sauce toting, eat everything in sight and loves Acheron unconditionally. Need I say more. I like that she is so literal. She'll do exactly as Ash tell her to do. No more, no less. And there misunderstandings about her instructions make for great fun.

What I least liked: Artemis and Apollo. They have no redeeming qualities. I don't understand why they can't be killed off. Sure she's the goddess of the moon and he's the god of the sun but why can't someone take over for them. And really with all the different pantheons running around this series, why isn't there another god/goddess of the moon and sun around to take over that way Simi could have herself a great ol' feast. And that would be really fun to watch/read.

Keeper?: Yes

Recommendation: Well worth reading. It has much of the flavor of the older books, which in my opinion were better, and less of WTF of the newer books. But the series is just getting too long. Especially if Acheron is the middle of the series as Ms Kenyon had once indicated. I don't know if I can make it another 20 or so books. She should just wrap it up and start something new. I wished she would write more the the Lords of Avalon series. She only wrote two and there is much to enjoy about them and there seems to be so much more to tell.

Grade: B
Series Grade to Date: C


orannia said...

I hope you have an absolutely wonderful time at the RWA National Aymless. photos of you? How will we know you were really there - LOL!

As for Sherrilyn Kenyon...I haven't read one of her books (apart from ..I think it is Night Play, because I was just so rapt to see a non-size-zero heroine :) Her back catalogue is so scary it's not funny. So, are you going to keep reading?

Aymless said...

Orannia: Unfortunately there is documented proof now since AL and I met and were photographed together.

Yes I'll most likely keep reading because I can't stand not knowing how everything is going to be wrapped up. Dang that OCD. *g*

Christine said...

So happy to see another Dark Hunter series junkie with an OCD to keep reading this gosh darned series! LOL!

Totally agree with you with your grade for Once Upon a Midnight Clear. It should have been marketed as a short story and honestly? Aidan was the hugest cry baby ever. I've been treated worse by my own family than he was yet you don't see me turning against the whole world needing a goddess to save me from myself. Sheeesh.

I was relieved when I read Dream Chaser, because I was worried Kenyon was totally losing her story telling voice for this series. I think I even gave this book a B+.

Acheron... I totally loved. Especially the first part. It really made all the puzzle pieces fit together for the series. As for part two, I thought the plot was pretty good considering it was Ash's story. I mean, writing his story is a tall order to fill, don't you think? All that mystery and high expectations? I think Kenyon did very well.

p.s. I hate Artemis and Apollo too. What assholes.

Aymless said...

(((Christine))) been missing you on the blog circuit!

I agree Aidan was a totally cry baby. Wanted to slap some sense into him ALOT.

I lurve Xypher. Definitely have a weakness for the bad boys.

Ash's story definitely was tall order to fill. And SK did a great job. I think the only other one that has such a build up will be Meljean Brook's Michael.


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