Lynn Viehl rarely disappoints. A crisp, deceptively simple writing style and steady progression of a storyline to a screaming climax is a recipe for a good read, but what is even better is the absorbing cast of characters. For me, great characters rather than plot is the winner, and since Viehl is good at both, she’s one of the few authors left on my autobuy list. Lynn was kind enough to send us an ARC of her latest book, and I have to say—get this one, it’s a goodie.
The hero of this Lords of the Darkyn reboot is Jamys, son of Thierry, European Darkyns transplanted to the USA. The Darkyn are Viehl’s version of vampires, the basic legend with some important, telling differences. They’re still blood-drinkers, though, and they can’t bear the sunshine for long. Apart from the blood, I’d make a good vampire. And black suits me, too.
Jamys was turned when he was seventeen, so although he’s hundreds of years old, he will be forever seventeen in appearance. At the start of the story, he’s fighting his father’s soldiers, trying to build up his strength and reputation so he can get his own jardin, the area over which Darkyn lords have jurisdiction. He has also heard about three emeralds that will convert mortals to Darkyn. Conversion is still problematic and mysterious in this world, but the wife of the most powerful lord in the States, Alexandra, is researching the issue. So although there isn’t actual magic, there is supra-science.
Unfortunately, the emeralds are in the hands of an enemy to the regulated order, the way vampires try to keep themselves in check and hidden from humans.
The heroine is Christian, or Chris, who is a long-time human attendant to vampires. Relatively young, but with a life that has matured her beyond her years, and a fabulous match for Jamys. She’s no fool, no slouch, and the action she initiates on her own isn’t stupid and pushes the plot forward. I’m definitely a fan of Chris.
While I usually object to the idea of humans being subservient to vampires, it works in this series, partly because the vampires are so powerful and because there is no subservience going on in practice. The humans are paid well, and they provide services the vampires can’t provide for themselves. They also have a council with aims that the Kyn might not share, and in this case, they want the emeralds destroyed, because they don’t want to give an already hugely powerful race even more power. Chris is training to be a tresora, so she can be worthy of Jamys. Jamys wants his own jardin so he can offer Chris a life. Although the reader knows this at the start of the story, Jamys and Chris don’t, and part of the tension is wondering when, if ever, they’ll realize this for themselves.
Of course, it makes them more admirable and powerful characters. Chris is working for Lucas, who was the hero of one of the books in the earlier series. Every Kyn has a special gift, and Lucas’s is total destruction by thought, something that he hates as well as appreciates.
I do enjoy reading about the heroes of previous books in the latest ones, and Lucas and his sygkenis, Samantha, are no exception. However, they don’t drift through the story like sequel-bait, they have important roles in the plot and its unraveling. Lucas is an important part of the unraveling plot, and so is his wife, who is a cop with the Boston force.
The world, while gothically huge and dramatic, merges well with ours, and humans aren’t denigrated or considered lesser, which adds to my enjoyment of the story. Being human myself, I’m not keen on my race being excluded and denigrated!
The villains are a little less well delineated, and I’m not too keen on skanky sex and mass orgies being associated solely with them. While it’s believable, as most of the Kyn were made in the Middle Ages but seem to have Victorian sensibilities, I don’t see why the wicked ones should have all the fun!
There are some incredibly hot scenes later on, but I won’t spoil you for them. But believe me, Veihl doesn’t act all coy when it gets to that point! She should write more of that kind of scene, IMO.
So all in all, a fast-paced, absorbing read. This is one of the few books I’ve read this year where I couldn’t stop until I finished, and I sat up late into the night trying to find a lull in the action, so I could put the book down and get some sleep!
Oh yes, and I almost forgot. There be pirates! Honestly, vampire pirates are such fun, especially when nasty and powerful. I so want to read more of them! Argh!
Jamys Durand has survived being made an immortal Darkyn, horrific torture, and years of grueling warrior training. But he has no future to offer Chris, the mortal woman he loves, without his own territory. When he learns of a lost Templar treasure, Jamys vows to possess it and win his lady’s heart.
No one knows Chris Lang wants to be a tresora so she can live with Jamys, her secret love. Her superiors offer to make her dream come true, but only if she finds the lost treasure before Jamys can. Working together, Chris and Jamys track the jewels through a shadowy maze of priceless artifacts, decadent secrets, and one ruthless opponent who can possess an immortal’s mind…and will stop at nothing to have Chris.
No excerpt available.
Other books in this series:
Nightbound -May 2013