This book came from the library, and I will never give you less than an honest review, no matter its source. I do provide informational and purchase links to make it more convenient for you to access the book. I also receive a percentage of the sale if you use one of my links to buy it. And that's not enough money to be less than truthful *grin*.
Other books by this author that I've reviewed include Blood Trinity, Man of My Dreams, Invincible, Born of Shadows, Retribution, Big Guns Out of Uniform, Tapestry, Deadly Promises, In Other Worlds, Dream Warrior, "One BAD Night", Dark Side of the Moon, Alterant, The Guardian, Whispered Lies, Infamous, Born of Silence, Aftertaste, The Curse, Inferno, Rise of the Gryphon, Styxx, Dangerous Women, Son of No One, Born of Vengeance.
Genres: Paranormal Romance
Twenty-third in the Dark-Hunter series (ninth in Were-Hunter; seventh in Hellchaser; and, fourth in Lords of Avalon) and revolving around a group of supernaturals and humans brought together through dire circumstances. The couple focus is on Seramia and Max. If you’re interested, there is a chronological listing of the Dark-Hunterverse books on my website.
The prologue begins in 2986 BCE in Arcadia and segues into today in New Orleans.
The story is off and running from the start, as the prologue gives us a partial insight into what happened to Maxis and Illarion to start the warring between Katagaria and Arcadia. It’s rather convoluted and made me work to figure out what was going on. There is more of an explanation towards the end, although it refutes most of what is said at the start. We do finally find out why Max never stepped foot out of Sanctuary!
Part of my confusion in this instance is that I’m not sure if Max and his brothers were able to shift into humans before their imprisonment or not. It doesn’t help that Max’s, well origins is the only word I can come up with besides species, have something like three or four different…somethings: he’s a true-born dragon, a lilitu, possibly a Xarunese, Drakos, drakomoi…
I’m of two minds on this story. If I don’t think about it, try to make sense of it, I loved it. The action was fast and furious. Kenyon dragged fury out of me (ahem, that’s “fury” with a small f, thank you very much) for how Max was treated. And yes, for his prideful stupidity. I’ll always love the good-guy characters in this. They are so supportive and caring of each other, it just warms your heart.
There’s plenty of tease as Kenyon slowly unveils their story as well as Max and his brothers’ stories, and Kenyon does a great job of telling us how lousy Max and Sera’s marriage was. It’s also a story-long series of regrets from Sera, as she admits to herself how wrong she was, how poorly she acted toward her mate. Naturally, there is plenty of heat between the two and Kenyon veers between show and tell throughout the story. I did want to cry for Max.
However, Sera’s memories of her life with Maxis veer from how disgusted she felt by him to how wonderful he was. There’s never any merging of those feelings. It’s hate or love. Sera keeps talking about Max as an animal, with disgust. Then she switches to thinking of how much more compassion and insight he has than her fellow humans. Um, she’s had like 3,000 years to realize how wrong she was, and she’s still thinking he’s an animal? Please do note the present tense in that. Wouldn’t it have been more realistic if she started the story off with regretting how wrong she was to think he was an animal? Of course, Kenyon could simply be taking the easy way out, jerking our emotional chains. God forbid she have to think *head shake* of blending memories, guilt, and love all in the same sentence.
She’s not so great on Max’s reactions to Sera’s news, either. Sure, he wants to rescue the children, but his reactions are minimal. Kenyon tells us that he’s happy about having children, and there’s a touch of anger that he never knew they existed. A touch. Most of his reaction is that of his need to protect.
An important hiccup is the changing story from the prologue to the end about what really happened in that prison. Who actually “died”; I don’t see what the point was of lying. At the start, Kenyon says the king wants to welcome his wolfson and dragonson, but she never goes anywhere with this. And it’s not what the final story reveals. So, why? She also states that Hadyn and Edena don’t tell their mother they are Katagari dragons, but mom is the one who encouraged them to shift. Wouldn’t Sera have smelled it?
Considering how awful the Amazons are, I’m surprised Max lasted as long as he did. If these women truly believe Max is a disgusting animal, why would they all want to lie with him? These women are like the worst of the men in our world who believe women have their place: in the kitchen or the bedroom. He must have really loved her, because she was a major pain. And weak!!
The best part of this is finally finding out why the Arcadians and Katagari have been at war with each other for so long. Oh. Brother.
That sudden about-face from Eumon ticked me off. I know, it shouldn’t since he’s being the good guy. And that’s the problem. There hasn’t been any indication that he is, and he suddenly, just is? Then Helena. She starts off so whiny, and she does a sudden turnaround as well. This whole set of scenes was so juvenile. I was wondering if I’d wandered into someone else’s writing.
Can anyone figure out which brother was merged with which dragon? It seems that Eumon was crossed with Max, but then later Kenyon says it’s Illarion.
Why is it we don’t hear about Edilyn until almost the end?
If you’re a Kenyon fan or just love a lot of Greek god-action-snark…sigh…don’t think about it, just read it.
It’s betrayal of the worst sort. Her children stolen from her and given over to an enemy who will not hesitate to destroy them.
And the only way to save them is to betray their father. Again.
Maxis Drago is the Dragonbane, a rare, true-born dragon, the dragon who founded the Arcadian dragons, a lilitu. He is tasked with guarding world-changing artifacts, including the Smaragdine Tablet, a.k.a., the Emerald Tablet that could end the world. It’s why his brother, Hadyn, died, to protect it. Max is also the Koru-Nin; I think it means he’s the guardian of the bowl.
Illarion is his brother, and a Xarunese dragon (although that might be Max — that boy is more kinds of dragon all at one time), although both were full Drakos. Edilyn was Illarion’s partner, mate, and he grieves for her. Illarion is also Apollo’s nephew? Blaise is one of the brothers and a mandrake who is blind when he shifts into his human form. Falcyn is an older brother furious with Maxis.
Seraphina Drago is the mate Max left, one of the Arcadian Drakainas. She’s also the queen’s champion rider, one of the most vicious dragonslayers of her tribe, and she wears the hide of Katagarian dragons she has slain. Haydn and Edena are their twin children (both can shift into Katagari dragons), whom Max never knew about. To be fair, Sera did tell her children about Max. The Sword of Peleus was a wedding gift to her from Max. Achilles’ sword.
Sanctuary, New Orleans, is…
…a limani??, a place of safety where all are welcome, and all must observe the peace, the eirini, a.k.a., the peace laws. It’s also a bar owned by the Peltiers, a werebear family. The kind and compassionate Aimee Peltier, a bearswan, the lone girl amongst all the brothers, is mated to Fang Kattalakis (Bad Moon Rising, 16) — and pregnant! Rémi, Cherif, Quinn and Dev Peltier are quadruplet bears. Dev is mated to Samia “Sam“, a former Dark-Hunter and Basilinna of the Thurian Riders, granddaughter of Hippolyte and great-granddaughter to Ares. Etienne, Serre, and Cody Peltier are more brothers. Alain is the oldest, and he’s mated to Tanya, the Ursulan Regis. Quinn is mated to Becca with two sons: Jake and Aubert.
Bride is mated to Vane Kattalakis, the leader of the Arcadians (Night Play, 5), Fang and Fury’s brother. They have two children: Trace and Trinity. Angelia is mated to Fury Kattalakis, another brother who is the leader of the Katagaria (Dead After Dark: “Shadow of the Moon”, Were-Hunter 3.5); they have two boys: Asher and Ryan.
Xed is a Charonte demon mated to Kerryna, a gallu. Thorn is a demon, but he’s on our side. He’s also Fang’s boss. Kish. Sin is mated to Katra, Ash and Artemis’ daughter (Devil May Cry, 10) and runs a casino in Vegas; they have a daughter, Mia. Carson Whitethunder is a shapeshifting hawk, a Gerakian, and the resident vet and doctor at Sanctuary. Zakar. Acheron is a god mated to Troy (Acheron, 13); Styxx is his twin brother, but a Chthonian, mated to Bethany. Styxx was also the commander of the Stygian Omada (Styxx, 21). Cadegan is mated to Jo (Son of No One, Hellchaser 6). Nick Gautier is a Malachai demon. Wren Tigarion, a Katagari snow leopard and tiger, is one of the council members (Unleash the Night, 8); he’s mated to Maggie. Angel is the lead singer for the Howlers; seems Tanya has a thing for him.
Sebastian Kattalakis is a prince of Arcadia, a direct descendant of Lycaon through one of Helena’s sons. His mate is Channon (“Dragonswan“, 1.5). The Dream-Hunters who step up to help include Arik and Delphine, Lydia, Solin, and Xypher. Jericho. Demon and Phobos stay to help defend Olympus.
The Drakaina Arcadia are…
…dragon shifters who refuse to shift, Scythian Amazons. They refuse to acknowledge that they are the animals they despise. Nala is their bitch of a Basilinna. Ragna. Aunt Keria always told Sera that giving in to their animal side was weak; it should be feared. Tisiphone wants to go home.
The Omegrion is…
…a ruling council for the Arcadian and Katagarian branches of each breed of Were-Hunters and ruled by Savitar, a surf-lovin’ Chthonian sworn to protect mortal life from the gods. Damon Kattalakis is one of the Arcadian Drakos. Darion Kattalakis cedes his seat on the council to Illarion. Dante Pontis is the Katagaria panther Regis. Analise Romano, a doctor, is the Arcadian Regis for snow leopards.
Dare Kattalakis is Arcadian and brother to Vane and Fury. Ermon Kattalakis is an Arcadian dragon.
…the people cursed by Apollo to die when they reach twenty-seven. Stryker is their leader; Zephyra is his mate (One Silent Night, 14). Urian is their son. Medea is their daughter. Davyn is her second-in-command.
The Daimons worship Apollymi, the goddess of destruction, the Atlantean Destroyer, and the mother of Ash, Stryker, Styxx, and Apostolos. Sabine is a Charonte demon who serves Apollymi.
Merlin is based at Terre Derrière le Voile, a.k.a., Avalon. Morgen le Fey is a dark Sidhe queen related to the Tuatha Dé Danann. Zeus is the leader of the Greek gods. Apollo is the Greek god of the sun, and he has a lot to answer for.
…a type of vicious, poisonous demon. Kessar is the leader of the gallu, who wants that Emerald Tablet. Namtar is his second-in-command.
King Lycaon‘s sons, Eumon (crossed with a dragon, Max), Pherus (crossed with Illarius; seems Eumon was crossed with him, too), and Linus (crossed with a wolf), are subject to Apollo’s curse to die at age twenty-seven. His plans and Dagon’s magic founded the Arcadian shifters. Mysene is Lycaon’s deceased wife. Dagon is an Akkardian god and Lycaon’s brother-in-law. Helena was Eumon’s wife and had twins: Pharell and Portheus, the Katagari son.
A -swan is female while a -swain is male. A metriazo collar restricts one’s ability to use magic. Drakos are drakomoi, bred to be sentinels and protectors of sacred objects for the gods and fey. Lilitu are born from a lilit mother and an arel father, then raised to be a tool of the ancient gods. Naşāru are beings of the purest light, protectors of order, defenders of the primal gods, resolute warriors of the highest honor and noblest hearts. The Sa’l Sangue Realle is a bowl that can grant or take immortality. Mandrakes are the children of dragons seduced by Adoni. Basilinna seems to be a title for queen. Myddangeard is Midden-guard, a.k.a., Oecumene. The Spartoi are a nasty, invincible branch of Ares’ army.
The Cover and Title
The cover’s background is of a brown so deep that it appears black with flashes of fire surrounding the fiery orange and yellow hologram dragon silhouetted in the center. The author’s name and title are in an embossed grayed red.
The title is the focus of the story and various hunts for vengeance, the Dragonbane.