Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Dark Side of the Moon by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Susan Michaels was once an award-winning reporter, until she ran into a scandal that stripped away any professional credibility she'd ever had. Thanks to her friend from college, Leo, she'd found a job working at a paper based out of Seattle that covered the same kind of territory as the Weekly World News, but it hurts that she is never going to be able to write the kind of groundbreaking news stories she once did.

Leo asks her to look for a Catman that supposedly is running around in the Pike's market district, based on the blog of a goth college student, and then Susan gets a call from her friend Pete, who asks her to come see him at the animal shelter where he works as a Veterinarian. He claims that one of the vets that works with him is a Vampire, and Susan can tell he isn't joking.

She goes to the shelter and meets Pete's wife Angie, who is also her friend. Angie begs her to adopt a specific black cat, even though Sue is allergic. Sue does so and brings the cat home, where it appears to be choking. She removes the silver collar it is wearing and the cat turns into a man, passed out, stark naked face down on the carpet. Sue cannot believe her eyes and thinks she has gone insane. But when the police come by looking for her, saying that her friends are dead and she is suspected in their deaths, she is shattered.

The cat-man is Ravyn Kontis, an Arcadian Were-Hunter. Arcadians are humans who can change into animal form. There is another type of Were-Hunter called a Katagaria, who have animal hearts and prefer to remain animals. The Arcadians and the Katagaria are at war, but Ravyn's former mate led to his mother and sister dying, so many of his family blamed him for the deaths, and he was killed by his brother, Phoenix. However, Artemis brought him back as a Dark-Hunter.

Ravyn was checking out the recent upsurge in Daimon activity when he was ambushed in cat form and taken to the animal shelter. There, the Daimon vet threatened to neuter him before he died, as he would eventually die when the sunlight fell on him. But when Susan takes him home, he assumes she is a squire and is there to protect him, but that only lasts as long as it takes him to realize she has no idea what he is talking about.

Susan risks her life, and his own, to help him flee the police, and eventually takes him to the headquarters of the squires in the city. There, she meets her boss, Leo, who is a member of an old squire family and is convinced to join the squires, since the other choice is death. Ravyn stays with him when the Squires HQ is attacked, and helps him beat off a Daimon attack. Ravyn is amazed with her sword skills, which she learned in the SCA, and when he is injured, she takes him to the local Sanctuary, which just happens to be run by his family. She tells them off when they would refuse him shelter, and they allow him to stay... in the basement, in a holding cell for "problem guests".

Here, Susan finally has the time to react to the death of her friends, who were as close to her as family. She apologizes for being a wuss, but Ravyn says she is a pillar of strength. He finds himself attracted to her, and she to him, despite being allergic to his hair (and to him, when he is in cat form). Despite Ravyn's known dislike for humans, he finds her restful to be around, and doesn't find her to be a pain in the ass at all. He also finds her easy to talk to, and finds himself telling her more than he ever wanted to about his family and his nightmares about the night he died.

Susan remembers that her friend Pete kept a journal in which he wrote obsessively. If anyone would know who was behind the Daimon attacks, he would have figured it out. As time grows tighter, and the attacks grow ever more fierce, Ravyn and Susan must work to discover the real threat. But is there any chance for them when romances between Dark-Hunters and Squires are forbidden?

I truly enjoyed "Dark Side of the Moon". The two characters seemed so much at odds at first, but Susan's calm, level head and ability to fight with the big boys (the Dark Hunters) made her almost their equal. I liked to see a heroine with a level head who didn't do stupid things, and didn't act like an idiot for story reasons. There are no "Too Stupid to Live" moments here, and that was a good thing!

I also found Ravyn very sexy. He wasn't a bastard, although his character did have a spicy, peppery attitude. Seeing how he and Susan got along together made much of the story more satisfying. This is a story I would definitely read again.

In addition to the main characters, the side characters, and characters from other books, are what will keep you returning to the Dark-Hunters series. Sherrilyn Kenyon has peopled her books with so many interesting characters and ideas, and different types of supernatural creatures that it's quite easy to never get tired of what she writes. If you're tired of Dark Hunters this month, you could move on to the WereHunters or the Oneroi... As I have said, I will definitely be looking forward to more books in this series!

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