Kiss of the Night
I’ll admit it right of the bat; I am a little biased when it comes to Kenyon’s Dark Hunter series. I read my first one a few months ago and in a matter of days emptied my monthly book budget reading the backlist. Call me a fangirl, but Kiss of the Night is not to be missed.
Wulf Tryggvasen is not the typical Dark Hunter (vampire-like creatures who dedicate themselves to protecting humans from a group of soul-sucking demons). Yes, he’s gorgeous, rich and sexy, but he’s also cursed – no one except those of his blood lines and other Dark Hunters can remember him five minutes after he leaves a room. Wulf spends all his time training and nagging his one surviving relative to procreate and is bored with his life. He doesn’t break a sweat when fighting Daimons and doesn’t enjoy the Dark Hunter chat rooms any longer. Wulf’s outlook changes when he meets Cassandra. Finally, a woman who remembers him! Unfortunately, the Daimons he’s fought for centuries are fighting back, and winning.
Cassandra Peters is an Apollite and the last of her line; unless she has a child soon the sun and earth and all that dwell here will come to an end. But there’s more – according to myth she is the key to freedom for any Daimon who lost his soul, and as such she’s on the run. At the start of the book she decides to stop running and face her fate because in eight short months she’ll turn 27. The day of reckoning for all Apollites is the day before their 27th birthday when they must make a choice – commit ritual suicide now, die slowly and painfully on their birthday, or turn Daimon and spend the rest of their days sucking the soul out of unsuspecting humans. Cassandra has no clue what her future holds because she is half human.
Wulf and Cassandra’s romance is complicated. Wulf is charged with killing those in Cassandra’s line who have turned. How can she be with someone whose job is to kill her people and how can he love someone he may possiblely have to kill? To make things more difficult, Cassandra faces danger and Wulf must protect her; she is being hunted by the son of Apollo, who knows she is the key to everything. The question remains: can they trust one another and what about the feelings that they have for one another?
There is so much going on in this story it is hard to give a brief summary without giving away all the great surprises Kenyon has in store for reader. There’s the mystery surrounding’s Wulf’s transformation into a Dark Hunter, what will happen on Cassandra 27th birthday, and a whole host of other surprises in the book. One of the things that make this book stand out from the other in this series is the reader gets to know the Apollite people. In previous books in this series all we see of the Apollites are the Daimons. Now we get to know them as a race of people, to see their struggles and the decisions they must make during their short lives. By the end of this book they were no longer just an evil that the Dark Hunters needed to stamp out but a race of tortured people deserving of some sympathy.
This is not a stand-alone book; had I not read the earlier titles I’d likely have been confused and lost about Dark Hunter relationships and dealings with Gods and Goddesses. I wish Kenyon would create some sort of organizational chart/family tree to explain and map out all the connections. It’s for this reason that my grade is ultimately slightly lower than may be expected by readers of this review.
As part of the larger series Kiss of the Night had few faults. The love scenes were wonderful, the revelations about life for the Apollites kept my interest when the storyline might otherwise have faltered, and the fight scenes kept the story moving along at a nice clip. I missed Ach, my favorite Dark Hunter, in this one, but am comforted in knowing eventually he will get his own book.