Mass Market Paperback: 560 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks (September 29, 2009)
Genre: Futuristic Romance
Main Characters: Nykyrian Quikiades and Kiara Zamir
Book Origin: Personal Library
In the Ichidian Universe, The League and their ruthless assassins rule 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 Quikiades 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 threaten 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.
The last year I had to do some inner debating on why I still religiously keep buying every novel of various series by Sherrilyn Kenyon. What kind of hold does this author have on me? Is it my need to experience that excitement again that I felt upon reading those very first Dark-Hunter novels? Was it the acerbic humor of her characters or the sometimes fabulous dialogues and one-liners I had become addicted to? Whatever Kenyon’s mojo is it keeps me invested in her series, albeit at times by a thin thread. I heard about The League trilogy in my early days of reading Kenyon’s work but with the staggering OOP prices I set my curiosity for them aside. Now, as they are being reissued and were written back to the original stories I was intrigued if I could be swept off my feet by something pre Dark-Hunters.
The League is an institution for the finest, the toughest and most skilled assassins doing the bidding of The League’s council. You didn’t quit The League, The League quit you in just one way, and you would end up 6 ft under. So when their top assassin walked away from all he’d ever known hunting season was open and Nykyrian Quiakides instantly became an outlaw.
Kiara Zamir has been the target of many assassinations but she has survived them all. Still, enemies kept trying and almost succeed if not for the Nemesis a.k.a Nykyrian who saves the day and returns her to her father. In that moment their lives become entangled and new threats darken both their lives now. Two people who do not trust easily are thrown together to defeat their enemies once and for all.
Let me just start by saying that while the blue print of the hero is very hallmark for Sherrilyn Kenyon; tortured in every way possible and then some, Born of Night has more depth of character then anything I have recently read from this author save ACHERON. Though I was annoyed at times by the sameness in all the heroes background and at times it took the moral high ground, I also reveled in the amount of time that was spent on character building. For the first time, in a long time, I really felt I was getting to know the characters in every way possible.
Nykyrian is a lost and tortured soul doing what he does best and makes quite a bundle with it. He and his Sentinel group have no trouble killing people but it has to be justified in their eyes. Nykyrian’s inner turmoil shows a man with a past void of any affection or is allowed to show any emotion. Throughout the five hundred and thirty-four pages his background is intertwined in manageable portions so I didn’t feel overwhelmed but got a good overall picture of what he was like in the days of his past and what he had to endure. I would almost say that he was raised in a very Spartan way.
Kiara is neither a kick-ass heroine nor is she a spineless coward, she’s rather a mix of courage and fear that comes through as genuine and believable. A flawed woman and with compassion and curiosity she challenges Nykyrian which often delivered vibrant interaction. The dialogues are often saturated with acerbic comments, dry sarcasm or a gritty tone among the assassins that matches their personalities. Still, Kiara entwines a femininity to it without becoming overly girlish or naïve. In a testosterone rich story she keeps herself standing and demanding a place of her own.
The romance was a slow-burn one, ready to erupt at the right time and at the right place that touches on some powerful emotions between Nykyrian and Kiara. Kenyon took her time to add nuances to the romance which made it a gripping, dark and smoldering story to begin with. Add some enigmatic secondary characters to it and I was excited to meet each new character. Syn whom I got to know the best is a charmer but just as ruthless and feral as Nykyrian. Darling Cruel is an explosive expert, Dancer Hauk nurtures a savage strength and is a brilliant tech expert and along with the more mysterious Jayne they are a threesome who flavor this story with their more than interesting backgrounds. Between them all there is also humor to be found yet the focus remained on the motives that drive each individual.
With the intensity of the story I was surprised at how easily I read this meatier book. Every character, even the archenemies in Born Of Night was compelling in some form or another. The world of The League and its assassins is harsh, brutal, power-driven and has its own code of conduct. This darker, edgier tone is perfectly voiced by Kenyon, sometimes it is even gruesome but never out of proportion or something that I couldn’t read. The ‘defeating of my archenemies’ plot contained great visual fight scenes and barely survived escapes and added another thrill for me to keep reading.
Born Of Night delivers Kenyon’s most familiar issues like trust, betrayal, torture and how two emotionally scarred people find a love to call their own. The greatest asset in this first League novel is the insightful, heart tugging emotional and in-depth characterization of a group of outstanding characters who pull you into the world of Ichidian Universe. A romance that blossoms with endearing moments and grows from a simmering sensual tension to a full blown passion that delivers on a high-stake ending. I am loving the League characters that Kenyon breaths to life, with the familiar issues ranging from their pain from the past and their salt-and-vinegar attitudes. Some become larger-than-life as push comes to shove in admitting their deepest and truest colors.
Though Futuristic Romance is not a genre I read many books in I am glad to have given The League a chance.