Dance With the Devil

Dark Side of the Moon

Kiss of the Night

Man of My Dreams

Naughty or Nice?

Night Embrace

Night Play

Night Pleasures

Unleash the Night

 
Dream Chaser
by Sherrilyn Kenyon
(St. Martin's, $7.99, PG-13) ISBN  978-0-312-93882-6
***
Good grief, it took forever to get into this book. Normally, Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark-Hunters and Dream-Hunters are wonderfully fast-paced. And, although Dream Chaser follows her usual routine: tortured (literally and figuratively), drop-dead (no pun intended) gorgeous, supernatural hero and the somewhat-frumpy-yet-brainy heroine with overactive hormones and a bit of a self-image complex, from there it's different in a lot of little ways.

Obviously, the slow start is one of those ways. Dream Chaser jumps right into the action - Simone is pretty much attacked by Xypher, our recently-released-from-hell demon/god/hero, while she is helping a fellow medical examiner figure out what happened to the body of a woman who was hideously murdered.

In the midst of this, a peon of the goddess Xypher's been released to kill slaps a pair of bracelets on Xypher and Simone, binding them to one another. Since they have a range of about twenty feet, it's a pretty close bond. Naturally, this leads to thoughts that are slightly less focused on the Dimme demon that is killing people in New Orleans.

Being a fairly typical Kenyon male character, Xypher's sworn never to care - actually, he's back to assassinate a woman with whom he had a very deep relationship several hundred years ago - about anyone again and so on and so forth. Of course, he has to start for the romance plot to go anywhere; and shortly after the two of them give in to the sexual attraction being tied to someone will bring (especially if one of those someones is hotter than Hades and hasn't gotten laid in a number of centuries), Xypher is forced to admit that he does care for Simone. Even worse, he's forced to abandon his plot to kill Satara for the time being to aid Simone, instead of running from her as planned: it turns out that Simone, too, is half-demon, and her powers are just emerging.

Things get a little twisty after that, when Xypher and Simone locate their "killer" demon only to discover a missing nest of demons and a backstory that doesn't come anywhere near what they were expecting.

The action sequences in Dream Chaser seem forced, as does Simone's relationship - such as it is - with Xypher. Now, the relationships with her friends are as genuine as Kenyon's usual ability, and it seems that it's Xypher's character that is throwing a cog into the works; he just never fully emerges as someone the reader can care a whole lot about. Simone's a step up from many Kenyon heroines: she doesn't let anyone drag her down, she's pretty well aware of the supernatural scene, and she is anything but desperate.

One constant is Acheron and his entourage of not-so-merry-creatures. He makes several appearances, as do a few others from previous novels. Sherrilyn Kenyon always makes an update from other characters fun, and Dream Chaser is no exception to that, though there aren't as many cameos as are included in some of the other novels.

So, to repeat what is becoming a recurring theme for me this year, fans of Kenyons or the Dark-Hunter and -Dreamers will want to read Dream Chaser, if for no other reason than you can expect to see Simone and/or Xypher somewhere down the line in a later book. Dream Chaser certainly isn't unpalatable, it just isn't as on as others from the series.

--Sarrah Knight


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