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Sunday, November 29, 2009:
Fantasy Lover by Sherrilyn Kenyon (2002) - quickie review
For 2,000 years, Julian of Macedon has lived a curse of being a love-slave. When he is summoned to fulfill Grace Alexander's sexual fantasies, Grace is the first woman to see him as a man with a tormented past. Taking him out into the world, instead of keeping him in the bedroom, Grace teaches Julian to love again. But can that alone break the 2,000-year-old curse he is under?

I read this book years ago, and I don't remember why I picked it up since vampires creeped me out (though this story isn't about vampires). But I was curious about this writer who told stories about vamps mixed t up with some sexy guys and proceeded with a huge helping of Greek mythology. Sherrilyn Kenyon does not list it as a Dark Hunter book on her website though I see it listed that way at many online bookstore sites. I guess it's the prequel to the series, because it has some overlapping characters but there's really nothing about the Dark Hunter history. Still, I'm glad I read it, even though it's a bit on the fluffy side.

Grace's friend Selena thinks Grace needs a hot guy to show her a rockin' time in bed, so she brings Grace a special book, where inside the covers is a hot sex slave from thousands of years ago. Once he is summoned, he will give the summoner untold pleasure from full moon to full moon; an entire month.

Grace doesn't believe in all Selena's mumbo-jumbo, even though Selena is her best friend. But it's her birthday, and she's had a little too much wine, so she humors Selena by chanting the words necessary to bring Julian forth. When nothing happens, she's not surprised and Selena is majorly disappointed and goes home.

But of course Julian does show up, and he's very, very naked. Grace is immediately drawn to Julian, as any healthy, red-blooded woman would be, but she's not the sort of woman to just jump into bed with a guy, no matter how much he flips her switch. Julian doesn't understand Grace's reluctance as every other time he's been summoned, women have fallen upon him like ravening wolves. But right from the start, she's different, and hell, he's got nothing better to do, so why not let her show her around the 21st century?

As time passes, Grace discovers the torment of Julian's past, and how he came to be cursed. It turns out that there may be a way to break the curse, but it's dangerous and very iffy. However Grace has come to care deeply for Julian and even if he decides to move on, she'd rather have him free than trapped inside the dark pages of that book for who knows how long. Eventually Julian begins to wish for it too, and together they fight to break a curse that is nearly impossible to break...

My thoughts:

Wouldn't that be just about every woman's fantasy, right there with a hot guy to cook and clean? Yeah, I thought so too, but Grace doesn't. I liked that she's not willing to just let this gorgeous, sexy man lure into his arms quite that easily. But she wants to help him, which is more than what anyone else has ever tried to do for him before. So he lets her, even though deep down he believes she's wasting her time. But no one's ever looked beyond his appearance and his talents in the bedroom, and it feels good to be valued for something other than his body. He's not fooled, he knows Grace wants him, but she's not easily seduced.

Having already read several books in this series, I've already noticed that Sherrilyn Kenyon tends to make her heroes really suffer. I mean REALLY. Just wait til Zarek, if you haven't read the books. Most heart-breaking story ever. But this is Julian's story, and he suffers plenty enough. Betrayal, torture, horrendous grief. The things that are done to him are incomprehensible, yet they happen, and he's lived over 2000 years having to remember each gruesome, excruciating detail. I'm amazed that Julian hadn't been driven insane by all what he witnessed and experienced. But then this is a book about a fantasy lover, so insanity wouldn't really suit the purpose, now would it?

I enjoyed going back and revisiting where it all began. It's not the best of the series, but I'm glad I read it and got to know Julian and Grace, who will make future appearances in the series. I thought the book was sexy and interesting enough to keep me turning the pages. Part of it is my fascination with Greek mythology, though Ms. Kenyon does take huge liberties with it, but so what? It's mythology for God's sake. And the book is fiction, and it's fun to step outside the box from time to time and watch Aphrodite be a mom to Julian. I didn't start the series looking for intellectual stimulation, but to be entertained, and so far, that's exactly what I've experienced.

And Ms. Kenyon does tug on your emotions a bit, which is one of my weaknesses. I've already started reading Night Pleasures and there's a bit more of that going on in that book too. What can I say, the Dark Hunters are my bag of potato chips.

Rating: **** out of *****

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  1. I reread this one months back and enjoyed revisiting Grace and Julian also :).

    You are so right, SK sure does like to make her heroes suffer! It makes for heart-tugging moments, even if they are a bit over the top :). I still like them!

    I think the first seven books are the best ones in the series.

  2. I have not read any books by this author yet- except maybe something in an anthology. This book and the series sound good, I'm a sucker for a tortured hero.
    Nice review!



  3. I haven't revisited these in quite sometime, but I did really enjoy this book a lot. This may be something for me to indulge in, as after reading this, I have the desire to pull that book right off my shelf. Really good review!

  4. I liked this book but it was not my favorite book in the series- I like that the characters set the stage for the rest of the series.

  5. Nice review! Marjorie M. Liu has one with a similar premise-- Tiger Eye, except the fellow is a warrior who is usually summoned to fight.

    Lately I've been wondering a lot about these ancient characters and what it does to their "humanity" to live for hundreds and thousands of years. It's an interesting little nugget to chew on.

  6. Nice review - but this one was a big pile of cheese for me. So glad I went to the next one though because I love this series!!!! I should do a reread...there is so much I have forgotten.

  7. I did not like this book the first time I read it but loved it the second time and then I could not stop and read all the DH's released at that time. Would it not be nice if such a yummy hero would jump out of one of our own books! Great review!

  8. I haven't read any of Sherrilyn Kenyon's books except for Night Play...part of me is scared to even start a series that is so big. I do like Greek mythology thought...

    Thank you Stacy!

  9. Yeah, this book was okay. I found Julian a bit unbelievable (a bit! ha!), so the story didn't really work for me. But I did like the concept and I think Kenyon really made in work in the first Night Hunters book.

  10. I know I always said I never read one of her books but I think I read this one! Have to search the book!
    I remember the story but I totally forgot the book. Perhaps I should re-read it too and finally start this series.LOL
    Great review hon!

  11. I barely remember this one. I don't think I liked it as much as you and gave up on the author. But I've always been intrigued by the dark hunter series. I think I might give it another shot.

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