30 August 2009

Musings on Shadowlight - A Novel of the Kyndred

As promised, I’ve got a book review. I know, I know — this is supposed to be a place about my writing. Well, many authors will tell other writers to read, and read lots, to help in your writing. Part of writing is reading. So, from time to time I’ll also include musings about what I’m reading.

Lynn Viehl announced on her blog she was trying an experiment: giving away eARC’s for a new book release. In order to get my hands on this eARC, I had to promise not to share it (easy enough) and to give my thoughts about it after I finished reading it. So here goes ...

The book is Shadowlight - A Novel of the Kryndred, which is part of a series that she categorizes as Dark Fantasy. Most characters are either vampires (the Darkyn), those bent on destroying them (the Brethren), or the Kyndred (created by the Brethren). And of course, there are humans too.

Shadowlight is mostly about Jessa, someone that guards her special talent from everyone except for a select few Kyndred that only know each other through an internet group, keeping their daily lives and real identities secret even from each other in order to protect themselves. However GenHance, a genetic enhancement corporation, has learned of her unique skill and wants to exploit said talent. A secret group of Kyndred, led by Matthias, has been working to save those in the target sights of GenHance and has learned of their latest plan: to harvest Jessa’s talent at the expense of her life. This sets them in motion to save her, and ultimately themselves, from the very determined folks from GenHance.

I received the eARC last Sunday. I read it, then read it again, finishing last night. Why twice? I wasn’t paying enough attention the first time and got a little confused about the story lines. The second time around I caught little hints and connections, like Easter Eggs, that I hadn’t noticed the first time. Does it require two reads to enjoy it? No, but it’s so much more enjoyable the second time. Even knowing the ending, which I won’t spoil, I got caught up and had to slow myself down on the reread.

Suspense, intrigue, romance, sex and danger can be found throughout the book. I can't really think of anything that I didn't like, things that didn't work for me. She maintained a good level of tension and mystery to keep me turning the pages.

Not all of the questions regarding the world were answered in the book. I wanted to learn more about some of the supporting characters. So I looked on Amazon for other books in the series, where I learned most of the supporting characters will have or have had their own stories. Also, what the head of GenHance plans to do with all the harvested talents is only hinted at. What kind of evil is he going to unleash? Will have to follow the series to find out.

What I liked most — how the characters are real and relatable. Even though these beings have super-human talents and problems, they also have the same hang-ups and issues that regular people have. Because of Jessa's talent, she is able see which people to trust but at a cost. So, she keeps to herself, not allowing anyone in, leaving her lonely and unable to trust. Those that she does let in, her internet Kyndred, are only available via internet or phone calls. But she must maintain a healthy distance from these friends, if not for her safety, but theirs.

And Lynn has built a world that I wouldn’t mind living in - of course as one of the Kyndred or the Darkyn. Really, who wouldn’t want to have near-immortality and special skills, like summoning rain storms?

I’ve read only one other story from this series, the novella Master of Shadows - A Novel of the Darkyn. After reading Shadowlight last night, I looked for other novels in the series to put on the ol’ Kindle.

I’ll definitely be adding more of this series to my library.

Edited on 31 August - to correct title spelling, augment opinion

1 comment:

Alfonso said...

Interesting. I guess I need to add this to my list of books to read. The character description for Jessa seems to be pretty poignant if you are stuck as a lonely immortal.
Nice pun on the GenHance.