Desert Isle Keeper
A Blast from the Past review
first published on November 19, 2009
I’ll just say this first: Lynn Viehl is the bomb.
On to specifics. With one touch, Jessa Bellamy can uncover your darkest secrets and expose the ugliest corners of your soul. Unfortunately for her, biotech company GenHance has discovered her supernatural power and intends to kidnap and kill her in order to harvest her genes for their human mutant experiments. But Jessa has also been tracked for months by one Gaven Matthias, a man who has saved others from GenHance’s clutches. Matthias abducts Jessa, imprisons her in his underground lair, and they fall in love – although Jessa’s attraction is filtered through a heavy layer of mistrust.
Shadowlight is the first book in Ms. Viehl’s new Kyndred series, a spin-off of her Darkyn books, and if you’re new to the author this is not the best place to start. There are many plot threads to follow – what do a secretary in the 1990s, a Roman relic, Kyndred superheroes, and Darkyn vampires have in common? I cannot believe how intricately yet clearly Ms. Viehl can plot a story, and I could scream in frustration for she raises five bajillion questions and answers maybe two. Who, exactly, are the Kyndred, and how did they get these superpowers? How do events during Augustus Caesar’s time affect the present? Who is the director of GenHance? I haven’t the foggiest idea, but I’m willing to suspend all questions (for now) because this book has the best action sequences I’ve read in recent memory. The chases, the explosions, the superpowers and the suspense – it’s like watching Iron Man or X-Men 2. Ms. Viehl’s command of plot, structure, and description is unquestionably the best element in the book.
I also love the whole superhero thing. I’m sick to death of vampires, even the Darkyn ones, and the Kyndred superhero powers are awesome. The secondary characters are all, without exception, interesting as all get-out, and I was glad to see Sam and Lucan from the Darkyn books as one of the plot threads instead of another couple *coughAlexisannoyingcough*, although I’m not quite sure they’re entirely relevant. Considering Ms. Viehl is running three plot threads and five or six POVs simultaneously, I’m amazed Jessa and Matthias are as well-rounded as they are (although Jessa is more convex, as it were). They are both fascinating, interesting leads and I hope to see more of them in future books.
That’s the thing. I knew, going into Shadowlight, that it would probably feature multiple storylines and many characters, and that it is going to be part of a much bigger picture than simply “Man meets woman, they fall in love.” So I read it as such and now I’m evaluating it as such. This book is clearly the beginning of a series and it is not perfect, but it is so fascinating, so cool, so downright, flat-out, wickedly spectacularly awesome that I can’t do anything except scream in frustration that the next one is not coming out until May. I’ve half a mind to tell you to skip the series until it’s over, just to save you some major agitation. But I won’t; I can’t. I’ll just say it again: Lynn Viehl rocks. So read this book, and get ready for the first installment of the most ass-kicking series published in a long, long time.