Dark Side of the Moon
There are very few books on which I am willing to spend hardcover prices. Although I am a dedicated fan of this author, would I have spent hardcover price on this book? I’m sorry to say no. While I enjoy Kenyon’s Dark Hunter novels, they can be hit and miss, and this one isn’t the best choice for a hardcover debut.
Susan Michaels was a hot-shot reporter at the top of her game; no story was beyond her capabilities. But when she believed a false lead and wrote an incredibly damning story regarding a government official that was completely untrue, she was laughed out of the industry. An old college friend running a scandal rag was the only one to offer her a job. And although she attempts to write news, after her articles are edited her headlines read something like, “Terrifying vampire lizard found in woman’s basement!” Susan wishes for the old days, and leads a rather melancholy life with only a few good friends to support her. One of them is Leo, her crazy boss. When her life-long friend Angie calls her from the animal shelter where she volunteers, sounding upset, Susan heads out there to investigate.
Ravyn Kontis, Dark-Hunter and Arcadian Were-Hunter extraordinare, has fallen for the oldest trick in the book, a sexy female. Too bad she was in league with the Daimons and put an electric collar on him that will keep him trapped in his cat form during the day against his will. For an Arcadian, a shape-shifter whose natural form is human, this may eventually kill him. Ravyn is somewhat unusual, as he is both a shape-shifter and a Dark-Hunter. To become a Dark-Hunter, the person calls for the goddess Artemis at the time of their wrongful death. She then gives them the opportunity for revenge, and in turn takes their soul as payment, basically turning them into a vampire for Artemis’ fight against the Daimons. Dark-Hunters are immortal, with great strength and other powers to help them in their battles. Rayvn’s story is especially nasty as he was betrayed by his mate, whose fear and ignorance caused the death of his mother, sister, and other clan members. Afterwards Ravyn’s brother killed him. Needless to say, his family wasn’t happy when he re-appeared as a Dark-Hunter, and has refused contact with him in the centuries since his death.
Ravyn’s enemies, the Daimons (basically the evil vampires), have taken him to the local animal shelter where they plan to give him to their powerful, god-like leader, Stryker. Susan ends up in the middle of this when her friend Angie tells her that there are vampires in the city with friends in high places. Angie tells Susan that her husband Jimmy, a long time police officer, has proof of these bizarre happenings. Susan thinks Angie has gone off her rocker, but in order to cover for Angie, ends up taking a cat home with her. She doesn’t know it is the last time she will ever see Angie.
With her allergies, Susan is not happy to have a cat, and when it starts to smell like burnt hair and begins to choke, she knows her day just got worse. After she removes the collar, her day definitely takes a bizarre turn when she suddenly has a unconscious, naked man on her floor.
This book never slows down. From the moment Susan ends up with Ravyn, they are being hunted down by the Daimons, all part of an intricate plan for the Dark-Hunters in Seattle. Ravyn and Susan have very few places to find safety and end up with Ravyn’s family as they attempt to determine how to stop the Daimons. They lose some friends along the way, and there is very likely a traitor in their midst.
There are some glimpses of familiar characters: Acheron, the Dark-Hunter leader/protector (a much over-simplified description), and Nick, who was once human, but now isn’t, and who now sports an ugly attitude problem. My respect for him dropped dramatically with this book.
Susan is a treat. I loved her sarcastic sense of humor, and she is very capable in holding her own even though she feels a lot like Alice after her tumble down the rabbit hole. She isn’t afraid to face anyone down. Ravyn is obviously a tortured hero. His family are jerks, and as a Dark-Hunter he has virtually no friends. He was a sympathetic character because he tried hard to behave honorably and treat Susan and his family fairly. He also respected Susan’s abilities to hold her own and didn’t set her off in a corner somewhere.
So why didn’t I enjoy this book more? In part because virtually everything that happens occurs in roughly two days, which is too rushed for me. Fighting, explosions, injuries, family issues, death, romance…what??? It’s too fast and too much at once. Secondly, the ending bothered me. In the other Dark-Hunter books, the ending wraps up fairly neatly, problem solved, happy ending. That doesn’t necessarily happen here. Also, I think Ravyn and Susan are somewhat cheated because the focus shifts quickly to something else that will obviously be dealt with in the next book. And, I have to say that given what happened in this story and the obvious teaser at the end, I’m not sure that I want to read it, which is the first time I’ve said that about a Dark-Hunter novel.
I would love to be able to recommend this book in hardcover, but I’m not sure I can even recommend it at paperback price, which is sad because these characters deserved a better story than this. Fans, definitely wait for the paperback and first-timers, don’t even bother starting with this one.