|I'm not sure it's worth reviewing Dark Side of the Moon. Sherrilyn Kenyon's loyal fans -- and from what I hear, she has a lot of them - will buy her book anyway. Who am I to urge her less-than-loyal ones to return to the fold? I've only read one other book in her “Dark
Hunter” series and can't remember much. Hardly puts me in the best
place to make convincing comparisons. As for newbies, given my
frustrations with this book, they are probably better off reading the
series in the correct order. But here goes anyway.
When Susan Michaels's best friends suggest something strange is going
on in Seattle, the disgraced investigative reporter agrees to meet
them at an animal shelter. To protect her sources, she fakes interest
in felines, ignores her allergies and takes a cat home. Back in her
apartment, the cat changes into a man.
Need I spell it out? The leopard-like cat is actually Ravyn Kontis,
an Arcadian Were-Hunter (humans who can shape shift into animals) and
a Dark Hunter to boot. That is, he is one of a legion of gorgeous,
valiant but emotionally tortured men who have bargained their souls
with Artemis to avenge their wrongful death. Once their personal
quest is accomplished, they are automatically enlisted into fighting
vampires. The goddess recruited Ravyn after his chosen mate betrayed
him three hundred years ago, causing the death of many of his
clansmen, including his mother and sister-in-law. His own brother
killed him, and his remaining family has severed all contact with
him, leaving him to grieve and survive on his own.
Faced with the odd scene in her apartment, skeptical Susan thinks her
friends are playing a practical joke. But before she can call them on
it, she finds herself on the run with Ravyn and accused of killing
the two people she loves most. Once she gets a handle on the strange
sequence of events, she convinces Ravyn and his friends to look into
her friends' death, which can only be connected to the attacks
against Seattle Dark Hunters. What follows next is pretty much non-
stop action, although Ravyn and Susan do occasionally pause to get to
know each other biblically and otherwise.
With so many dealings and double-dealings and a fair number of
twists, it wasn't always easy to follow the story. It was probably
even harder for a greenhorn like me because many of the plots and
counterplots involved the world and the characters set in place in
previous books. More than once, I had to reread and/or stop to think
before I could make out who was who and what was going on.
Which doesn't mean Kenyon fails at keeping readers up to date. She
avoids info-dumping, doling out details at just the right moment.
Still, the excessive attention given to a couple of characters had me
baffled, and I couldn't figure out what was going on with one in
particular, Nick Gautier. I suspect this is deliberate. Too many
questions remain unanswered, and there is more than one hint of bad
things to come. Kenyon is obviously setting up the groundwork for new
stories. Unfortunately, as a result, this book suffers.
The strength of this novel lies with its main characters. Susan is
snarky and funny. She is also a good friend who knows when and how to
defend her own. Ravyn does do a bit of that annoying I've-been-really-
bad-there-can't-be-any-love-for-me thing, but he does have his
moments. For one, he's not a Neanderthal and gives Susan all the
space and credit she deserves.
Kenyon's snappy writing matches the quick pacing of this book and
contributed to my overall positive assessment. Frankly, this isn't
enough to have me hunt down her backlist or join the count down to
the next publication I'm just not interested in the fate of these
hunky heroes. Nevertheless, I enjoyed Dark Side of the Moon and would recommend it to anyone looking for that one-off experience were it not for the $19.95 price. Wait for the paperback -- that excessive
amount is only for diehards.