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
--Talon of the Morrigantes
As part of my (very slow) plan to re-read the Dark Hunter books, I'm up to this one, which some consider book #2, others book #3. I think of it as the 3rd one because Fantasy Lover, though not technically about the Dark Hunters, is like a prequel, so I am okay thinking of it as part of the series.
These books are like...generic?...crack to me. Before I even realized such a thing existed in book form. As I've mentioned, they will always have a special place in my heart because it was the first time I saw vamps as something more than cold, icky undead creatures.
So this is Talon's story. He's a swamp-loving DH with a serious sugar and caffeine addiction and a preference for one night stands. Then one night as he's off killing Daimons, he's knocked unconscious by a Mardi Gras float and rescued by local artist Sunshine Runningwolf, who brings him home, where he's essentially trapped with no wheels and no protection from the sun. He's instantly attracted to the lovely, absent-minded Sunshine, but despite how much he likes her, he knows it will never be anything more than a casual fling. Dark Hunters don't roll that way. Talon especially, as he's been cursed to to lose everyone he loves, and he doesn't wish to put anyone else in jeopardy.
Of course the Big Bad have other ideas, and make it so Talon and Sunshine are stuck together as much as possible. They got major plans, including freeing the Destroyer and killing Acheron in the process, which would allow them to retain godhood. But they need to create a diversion, and distracting all the Dark Hunters in town seems like the way to go. Their aim is to divide and conquer.
So during all the goings-on, we meet some additional Dark Hunters: Valerius, the grandson of the monster responsible for what happened to Kyrian; and Zarek, a real ornery son of a bitch with a serious disregard for authority. Right from the start he pisses people off, and alienates himself to the point where he just might end up a shade if he doesn't calm his ass down. It does make you wonder what he's been through to make him so hostile. (I know, I know!)
Good, cheesy fun. Reminds me of a time when reading was uncomplicated and my tbr pile held maybe 10 books. Night Embrace isn't quite up to par with today's paranormal romance, however it is rather emotional and gut-wrenching to read sometimes, and I am a sucker for those kinds of stories. These DH's suffered greatly as humans, often resulting in being brutally murdered. Talon's story is no different, having lost his parents, his wife & child, and his beloved sister before dying himself all because of the greed and power-hungry ambitions of others.
Going in, I did not have high expectations. I knew these weren't going to have the same effect on me as they did when I first read them. However I do quite like Talon, though he is not my favorite Dark Hunter, and he still has this tiresome obsession for his wife, which is rather weird after so many centuries since her death. Yet I really do like him and Sushine together, despite how he keeps trying to keep distance between them. She may seem absent-minded and carefree, but she's also smart and giving and capable of standing up to Talon. She could be stubborn and fierce, a worthy partner to the lonely Dark Hunter.
And speaking of lonely, we get more and more glimpses of Ash's past, and my heart just aches for him. I think I've only read 6 or 7 of the DH books, so I have quite a bit of catching up to do, and I know my heart is just gonna break. Will it hurt worse than Zarek's story? That one ripped me to shreds (and reminded me so much of Zsadist's story).
So yeah, all kinds of stuff goes down in this story as we delve deeper and deeper into the history of the Dark Hunters, and get a front row seat into Ash's complex relationship with Artemis. We see that there are more otherworldly creatures than just the Dark Hunters and the gods. This book also has a bit of a bang at the end which kicks off Zarek's story. I won't ruin it for the few people who haven't read the series, but it's a doozy.
These books aren't perfect; a lot of times they're clunky and cheesy and campy, but that's okay by me. I unashamedly enjoy them. The stories draw me in and keep me interested. I like the Greek mythology, even if many liberties are taken for the sake of the story. I like the setting in New Orleans. I like that the dangers are great and not always easily overcome. The Dark Hunter books is one of the first long-running series I've gotten hooked on, so it has a special place in my heart for that as well.
Note: Book Binge (Holly) mentioned on Twitter just yesterday that there's a scene where Talon and Sunshine spend the night having unprotected sex and Sunshine gets dressed the next morning without showering. Usually, that's a huge ick factor for me. However, that being said, I can overlook A LOT of things in a paranormal story, so details such as this don't register with me because I think differently when I'm reading this type of book and can get past things more easily. It's like the ick factor miraculously disappears for me because of the Dark Hunter superpowers LOL. Besides, Holly doesn't care for most (any?) of the Dark Hunters so I will just ignore what she has to say *g*
Rating: **** out of *****