In Night Embrace, the third book in Sherrilyn Kenyon’s popular Dark-Hunter Series, she finally gets around to filling us in more on the life of the Celtic born Dark-Hunter Talon. In this book, she brings him into the spotlight, and runs him over with a Mardi Gras float, while he’s trying to save a woman from the Daimons. The woman, a rather flaky artist by the hippie name Sunshine, takes Talon home and proceeds to salivate over him, and learn from her mother, the hippie, that he’s got a rather old soul. When Talon wakes up he almost falls instantly in lust with Sunshine, and though he’s bundled up and taken home by Kyrian and the ever-faithful Nick, it’s not without being teased, for being, well, naked.
But Talon’s five minutes with Sunshine seriously starts screwing with the tough as nails Dark-Hunter and, over Acheron’s express orders, he inserts himself into the artist’s life, falls seriously in lust with her . . . and through a series of flashbacks, come to reveal himself as a very (in this reviewer’s view) weak-willed former Celtic chieftain and Sunshine as his centuries dead reincarnated beloved wife Nynia—who herself was part of a curse the Celtic god Camulus set on Talon for having, in his rage, attacked and killed Camulus’s son.
Now the Nynia-cum-Sunshine is back in Talon’s life, so is Camulus, and helped by a mysterious man named Styxx, the god plans to continue to see Talon and Nynia-cum-Sunshine pay for that centuries-gone death.
With Sunshine in his life, the Celt can think of only one thing (This being a romance novel, you figure out what’s on his mind). And, all honor of the Dark-Hunter code and way of life flies out the window and we come to find out what a brooding mess Talon really is. And Acheron’s annoyed as hell at him, too. Not to mention there are various Dark-Hunters gathering to fight what’s coming at Mardi Gras, and they’re all at each other’s throats. Acheron is a hair’s-breadth away from flipping them all off and walking away (or, killing all his Dark-Hunters) But of course, there’s a war going on, and he needs them. It just remains to be seen if Talon can remember his honor, and pull himself out of his reveries and Sunshine’s arms long enough to help Acheron save the world. And of course, Ms. Kenyon introduced some new characters—beyond the gods and Styxx. There’s also a new Dark-Hunter in town named Zarek, who hates everyone, and gets himself into all sorts of trouble. (This reviewer personally didn’t particularly care for the character.)
Everyone gets a point of view here, well, almost everyone, and literally, in some cases, their mothers. New characters and new beasties are introduced in the course of this story as the plotline diverges all over the place. There were even some funny little things in the book that made me laugh; and I was intrigued by the latest few hints Sherrilyn Kenyon drops of Acheron’s background and powers (You have to see what he does to Styxx and his compadres to believe it).
I’d been looking forward to reading this novel for a while, but unfortunately, Talon the Celt seriously fell below the picture I had in my head of him. He starts out the series with this Devil May Care attitude, seems a man you expect to seriously kick some Daimon tail when it comes down to his story. But not so or at least, not as I expected it to. I guess the expectation was too high, for when I picked up Night Embrace, from Almost New Books in Tampa, I was, alas, quite disappointed with it in the end. Why? Let’s just say she does things with the character and the mythologies that …well, annoy me, from a scholarly standpoint. Will I read more of the Dark-Hunter series? I can’t honestly say at this point. It will depend on the characters involved, I guess. (Though I would like to know why the author claims in information about her newest endeavor—her YA series Chronicles of Nick—that “You’ll understand why Nick [the DH Squire/minor character Nick Gautier ] continues to hate Acheron” because so far, given the first three books in the Dark-Hunters, I don’t get the sense that there’s hatred between them.)
But, if mixed-up mythology, heavy Paranormal romance (extremely heavy on love scenes) are your flavor, I urge you to give her third Dark-Hunter novel Night Embrace a try for yourself. (Check Amazon, or Tampa’s Borders and Barnes and Noble stores tend to keep this series in stock, or a used bookstore, or even the library, if you like). Also, its accompanying manga is about to be released March 1, so if you’d like to check that out, you can soon. But honest warning: I think this series probably will read better for you, if you don’t know anything about the mythologies Ms. Kenyon fiddles with.