Desert Isle Keeper
Born of Defiance
I am desperately in love with Sherrilyn Kenyon’s The League series. There, I said it. When I saw that her newest was on our list of possible review books, I literally sat up straighter in my chair and made a little noise. I will never admit it was a squee. Never. But, getting back to the point, I love Kenyon’s dark and incredibly damaged heroes, her equally damaged heroines, and the inevitability of a happy ending for the both. Guilty pleasure? Maybe. Do I feel guilty at all for reading it? Nope.
Talyn Batur is the Andarian fighting champion (in both the open and Vested leagues), a major in their air force, and all of this with absolutely no family lineage (a necessity for Andarian society). And all of this at 19 years old. Looking to find a companion, he goes to a, shall we say, matchmaking agency, who supplies legal, contracted companions. He saw an ad with the lovely Felicia Orfanos, and knew he had to meet her. Felicia is, of course, terrified – as a fighter, Talyn is incredibly vicious in the ring, undefeated in both arenas. But it doesn’t take long, minutes really, for Felicia to realize that Talyn really is the gentleman he appears to be. He may lack the parental lineage to move in society (in a world where lineage it, literally, everything), but his nature is what defines him.
The problem is, though, that lack of lineage – Talyn is viciously harassed by his CO and fellow unit members in the air force, discriminated against by everyone from the companion agency to a jewelry vendor at the market. Having a female (as wives, daughters, girlfriends, etc are referred to in this culture) has given his enemies the opening they need to truly take him down. And unfortunately for both Talyn and Felicia, their family connections, even though they are not legally recognized, could get them both killed.
Talyn is a lot like Kenyon’s other heroes – damaged, tortured, and in need of a change in his life. However, unlike the others, Talyn is just the sweetest thing! He goes out of his way to welcome Felicia into her new home and into his life, agreeing to all the requests in her contract, without negotiation, and taking time (and energy and money) to find little ways to say he’s thinking of her. He’s basically perfect. Of course, he still has his issues, but is it any wonder Felicia falls for him? I certainly did! Felicia is not my favorite of Kenyon’s League heroines, but she finds her fire about halfway through the book. She’s still timid and shy, and makes some decisions that I question (like not telling Talyn important information. Why is this always a thing?), but overall I think she’s an interesting character, and fits in well with the universe.
I would have liked a little more snark and banter between the characters, but it didn’t really fit them. The romance is definitely more sweet than spicy (though their sex life manages to straddle the two quite well). It’s a quick read, even for 500+ pages, taking me less than a day to read through, and now I want to go back and re-read the entire series.
Okay, so this is definitely in the guilty pleasure world for me. There’s a lot going on, and this story actually takes place simultaneously with the first novel in the series, which could make things harder to jump in on. I’ve read all the books in this series so far, and there were times that I had to stop and pull up the author’s website, trying to figure out how people were linked, what had happened before in the series.
The next book in the series, Born of Betrayal, will be out in November. Will I be reading it? Yes, I will. I really enjoy this series. Don’t start here, though – with all the different characters and politics, it would definitely be confusing for a new reader to the series. Start with the first one, Born of Night. It sets up the world wonderfully.