That awkward moment when you haven't read anything since the last book you reviewed...
I considered trying to do something clever to get out of writing a review, like declaring today a new literary holiday that required an extra special post or something like that, buuuuut... I'm too tired to be clever, so I figured I'd just continue my little Sherrilyn Kenyon series by reviewing book four in the League series, Born of Shadows. You can read my reviews of the first three books here: "Night", "Fire", "Ice".
Caillen Dagan is a master smuggler struggling to survive and keep his three sisters out of trouble. He's managed quite well so far, but finally Kasen gets him in the deepest water ever, and he is captured and sentenced for execution. But before the axe can drop, his DNA test sends up red flags and before he knows it, he's declared the long lost heir to the Garvon and Exeter systems, and the only son of Emperor Evzen.
As if adjusting to his newfound royalty wasn't bad enough, he runs into Desideria, the daughter of the Quillac queen. The duo fall right into the trap of a mystery criminal and are accused of crimes that not even Caillen's committed. They have no choice but to rely on each other as they try to stop the true criminal before Caillen's father and Desideria's mother are assassinated.
What I like about "Shadows" is that the plot is a bit deeper and the romance a little less important. Don't get me wrong, it's definitely still around, but it's a bit less lustful and sudden than the romance in the previous three books. Caillen and Desideria spend more time getting to know each other than making out.
This book also introduces Fain Hauk, brother of Dancer Hauk who has appeared in several of the other League books. Fain is a bit less empathetic, a bit more sarcastic, and a lot more interesting than his younger brother, especially when you add in the whole space pirate thing. I think Hauk's getting his own book pretty soon, but I'm still holding out for Fain to get the spotlight.
As for the main characters, Caillen's pretty cool. I've always liked him, so getting a book all about him is nice. Desideria's not bad either, though a little... naive, perhaps. But that's kind of a requirement for heroines in Kenyon novels.
The plot is far more complex than the other League books, with lots of space politics. Kenyon doesn't try to put too much science in it either, which is good since I don't think she bothers to check if she's right when she does. It's a nice balance, but the ending kind of stumbles along to a happily ever after (which is also a requirement for Kenyon novels). It's a very forced happily ever after, but I guess perfection is too much to ask from a romance novel.
Sometimes it's hard to classify the League series as science fiction. Sigh.
"Shadows" is definitely better than "Ice", which was a bit of a flop in all areas, but for me at least, it doesn't hold quite as much appeal as the first couple of League books. Perhaps the plot is just getting old. Ah, well, no book infatuation lasts forever. Except for The Boxcar Children. And Harry Potter. And The Prophecy of the Stones. Maybe I should just stop there.
You might like this if you: like romance, but not too much; like science fiction, but not too much; have already read the other League novels and are thirsty for more; need a quick guilty pleasure read; or if you suddenly discover you're a long-lost prince and you don't know what to do with yourself.