Dance With the Devil

Naughty or Nice?

Night Embrace

Night Pleasures

Kiss of the Night
by Sherrilyn Kenyon
(St. Martin‘s, $6.99, R) ISBN 0-312-99241-6
Kiss of the Night (a “Dark-Hunter” novel) is like a seven-course dinner. I don’t do seven-course dining because my stomach can’t handle all the food - just like my brain can’t handle all the servings of mythology and fantasy that are served up in this story. If the courses were served at a slow pace I might be able to handle it, but all the courses are served at once - on one plate!

Cassandra Peters is the last remaining Apollite of direct descent from Apollo (there are many Apollites that still exist, but not of direct descent). Unfortunately, the Apollites were long ago cursed to die a painful death on their twenty-seventh birthday, unless they turn Daimon by devouring humans and stealing their souls to continue their existence. Cassandra only has eight more months to live, if she isn’t killed by the Sparthi Daimons who have been hunting her since she became the last of her lineage, and if she doesn’t decide to turn Daimon. If Cassandra’s lineage dies, the terrible curse of darkness which was placed upon the Daimons will be lifted. What they don’t know is that the sun, earth and all the races will die if Cassandra is killed. And Cassandra is determined not to bring a child into the world and face the same curses she has endured her entire life. There are some mysterious forces at work to ensure her lineage continues.

Wulf Tryggvasen is a Dark-Hunter who spends his immortal life hunting and killing Daimons. He also has a curse placed upon him that makes everyone forget he exists within minutes of leaving his presence. Wulf has been chosen to protect Cassandra’s life, and therefore all three mythological races and the entire world. But she is part of the race that he has been hunting and destroying for centuries. Strangely, they are attracted to each other, despite the fact they don’t trust each other. Above that, Wulf finds that Cassandra is able to remember him despite his curse. The steamy romance they experience in the beginning occurs through dreams, where they can be uninhibited by their trust issues. They find that they are having the same dreams, however, and blame each other for playing seduction games, which doesn’t help much in the trust department. All in all, the romance between Wulf and Cassandra is very satisfying and is almost always forefront in the story.

The book opens with a prologue of the mythology on which the entire story is based, but it’s not easy to digest in just one reading. There are explanations scattered throughout the story as things are happening, but it’s still difficult to understand with all the goings-on. I found it was easier to just go along for the ride and enjoy the romance and adventure without feeling compelled to understand everything. Perhaps it would be easier to appreciate the elaborate mythology if the reader was familiar with the other Dark-Hunter novels.

Mythology aside, there are some other problems. The story is riddled with cheesy contemporary colloquialisms that clash terribly with the formality of characters that have lived for hundreds of centuries. The setting is present-day so the author probably intended for the dialogue to be a healthy mix of current slang and formal English, but the slang used by the younger characters felt more like it belonged in the 1980’s. Too tired and overused to be witty.

Another problem was with the rules mentioned earlier. This large set of rules was created by the gods to choreograph how the mythological races could interact. But, by the end of the story there are so many “loopholes” being taken advantage of that it makes the reader wonder why there were rules in the first place.

The author did a good job of creating an engrossing plot and steamy romance that are enjoyable despite the difficulties. However, if the reader has the stomach for consuming large quantities of mythology and fantasy in one heaping serving, they may enjoy Kiss of the Night a bit more than I did.

--Tracy Merritt

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