I’ve enjoyed most of the books in the Darkyn series, and this one is no exception. Night Lost features a tortured hero and heroine, which could have been overwhelming, but the author pulls it off wtih aplomb.
While this is not truly a stand-alone book, it isn’t strictly necessary to have read the earlier Darkyn books first – although I strongly recommend it. The Darkyn are vampires created during the Middle Ages. Neither they nor anyone else know exactly why or how they cheated death, but they do know is that until recently, it had been centuries since any new Darkyn females were made. Each Darkyn has a unique power all their own, and a specific scent that is used to lure humans to them. Darkyn aren’t killers; that role is filled by their archenemies, the Brethren, a group of religious fanatics whose sole purpose is to torture and kill the Darkyn. Richard, leader of the Darkyn, has been turning into something terrifying as a result of Brethren torture. He kidnapped Alexandra, the Darkyn doctor married to Michael Cyprien, a hero from previous books in the series, in order that she might try and cure him. While that story unfolds, it intersects into the main plot of this book.
Nicola, “Nick” Jefferson is a thief, plain and simple. She’s an excellent thief who made her way across Europe stealing artifacts, never finding the one she truly seeks – the Golden Madonna. Though Nick is out for revenge, she also has fallen into helping “vampires” escape torture. She is drawn to them somehow and they are always in the hands of the “holy freaks.” All Nick really knows about the vampires is that they are all freakishly beautiful and very polite. Lately Nick has been having strange dreams about a “Green Man” that seem very real, and he calls to her for help. Nick promises him in the dreams that she will attempt to free him.
Gabriel Seran, (a Darkyn with a power that made my skin crawl) has been held hostage by the Brethren for two years. During that time he has been systematically and horrifyingly tortured. He escapes only in his dreams, during which he meets a young woman, a woman he believes to be merely a fantasy. Fortunately for Gabriel, Nick finds him, but they must travel incognito to escape the Brethren who know of Gabriel’s escape.
Gabriel and Nick are both strong characters. Nick’s character is more guarded, and her layers are revealed slowly, which kept me anxious to know more. Gabriel is the perfect tortured hero, but not a particularly alpha one, which gave the book a compelling uniqueness. It was nice to see Michael and Alexandra again, and the subplot involving Richard, developed over the series, is resolved here in a subplot that alone was worth the read.
Although the two story lines seem unrelated at first, they tie together neatly near the end with surprises in store for everyone. It’s one of these surprises that soured my enjoyment of the book slightly, and only slightly. If there were hints about the secret, I missed them, so I felt it was somewhat contrived in order to reach the happy ending. Still, this is my second favorite Darkyn book, (Dark Need is first) and I highly recommend it to fans of the series. And to those vampire romance readers who haven’t yet read this series…what are you waiting for?