Nightborn: Lords of the Darkyn
In a market glutted with paranormal romances and vampires, I really didn’t have high expectations of Nightborn being able to stand out. But I was very happy to be wrong. It has a great story and compelling characters that made it a book I really struggled to put down.
Korvel is a Darkyn seneschal for the leader Richard. He has been sent on a mission to recover an ancient Kyn scroll that promises to allow the possessor to create an elixir that will grant eternal life. Though the Darkyn are already immortals vampires, they have reason to fear anyone controlling this scroll. It is cursed to kill any mortal who touches it and it could help an enemy, like the Brethren, create an immortal army. As Korvel sets out in search of the scroll in a French chateau, he discovers that the scroll is already missing and a young mortal woman is his only hope of finding it.
Simone believes that she is the last of the family charged with protecting the scroll at all costs. She has trained her whole life under the watchful eye of her cruel father to be able to protect the scroll and to help the Darkyn in times of need. She is prepared to help Korvel in every way, whether it be his blood needs or any other physical desire. Of course, honorable Korvel thinks that she is a nun and would never expect that of her, though he wants her badly. As the two travel through France, with bad guys in pursuit, it takes them a while to admit the growing attraction that they feel.
In terms of the relationship between Korvel and Simone and the plot of the scroll and the way that Simone’s backstory plays in and reveals itself, I thought the book was great. I loved the way that Korvel’s past love is dealt with and the way that the reader feels as he is set free from his previous bond. I loved Simone and thought she was a wonderful mix of strength and vulnerability and I felt the two were a perfectly matched. I enjoyed the dreamscapes and saw it as a wonderful way to bring the two characters closer together. As the plot thickens around the scroll, the way that Korvel looks to protect Simone from her past and free her as he has been freed is touching and captivating.
My problem came in with the secondary characters. From the beginning, there is a second plot of a problem between the couple Nikola and Gabe. Honestly, I didn’t like her and felt no connection to their story. The fact that Nick’s drama took away from Korvel and Simone’s story began to irritate me. Had I read Nick and Gabe’s story and felt a connection to them, I probably would have felt different. The inclusion of the rocky road in their relationship kept this book from being a stand alone. The problem was not that their back story wasn’t explained – it was. The problem was I wasn’t invested enough in Nick too care about her ennui and that detracted from the book since they play a pretty big role in trying to rescue Korvel. Though she ends up having a connection to Simone, I felt Simone could have gotten where she needed to be without Nick, and would’ve liked it better if she had.
I also struggled with some of the specifics of the world. I still don’t understand why as vamps they can go out in daylight and it isn’t really explained. The bond between mates and the role of a sygkenis was very hard to decipher, though the term was used since the beginning. The difference between the Darkyn and the Kyn flew right over my head. Unfortunately, each time that I looked in the glossary, the word I needed a definition for wasn’t on the list. To be fair, the glossary was just the French terms. However, since this is a new series that depends a little on the previous one when it comes to those things, the glossary would have been better had it explained the Darkyn terms rather than the French.
Overall, I enjoyed the book and the world that Viehl created. I think that I would have had a greater appreciation had I read the previous series, something I do plan to rectify in the near future. If you are already familiar with the world of the Darkyn, it will probably score higher for you, but for now, I am content that it seems to have made a fan out of me.