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Review: Nightborn

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Nightborn
Author: Lynn Viehl  
Release Date: March 6, 2012
Publisher: Signet Select
Lords of the Darkyn #1
(Spinoff series) 
ISBN: 978-0451413215
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Format(s): Paperback (336 pages), e-book
Book Source: Publisher
About the book:
As the high lord’s most trusted warrior, Korvel is resigned to eternal loneliness, because he has sacrificed everything, even love for his duty.  When he is ambushed while retrieving and ancient Templar scroll, he is saved by Simone Derien, and innocent who captivates him.
Only Simone knows the scroll’s terrible power, and her duty is to prevent its curse from being unleashed.  Somehow she must recover it while resisting the dangerous passion she feels for the handsome warrior.
As Korvel helps her track the scroll and elude a crazed assassin on their trail, Simone hides another terrifying secret:  She has been ordered to kill Korvel as soon as they secure the treasure…
What VampBards talking about:
I’d like to go on record as saying this:  I’ve been trying to get to reading some of Ms. Viehl’s work prior to this point in my romance-reading frenzy.  I was excited and jumped at the chance to review Nightborn, as it is the first title in Viehl’s new Lords of the Darkyn series (a trilogy?).  This series is a spin-off of her Kyndred series.  I am NOT disappointed!  Besides her spectacular writing, I was also impressed about several other things regarding Ms. Viehl:  1)  She has 45 novels published in 8 genres.  2)  Her blog refers to the title of a Beatles song.  3)  She doesn’t seem to do a lot of shameless self-promotion.  **meekly raises hand** Can I please be Ms. Viehl when I grow up?!?!
Nightborn had me hooked prior to the first page.  Between the dedication and the first page of the novel, Ms. Viehl inserted an excerpt from William Blake’s poem Auguries of Innocence.  She let out some of the line and snagged me again, in the first eight pages.  This backstory projected images of seven dark horsemen, relics of inconceivable measure, and the Templars.  In. Eight. Pages.  My imagination had kicked into overdrive.  Who were the horsemen?  Templars!?!?!  Relics???  Theories clouded my brain, and I started the story with several hypotheses.  
Flash forward:  Present day.  We meet Korvel immediately, and begin to learn about his stature, allure, and physical prowess as we meet Simone.  While I felt as though Korvel had a bit of the Florence Nightingale Syndrome, that thought was quickly eradicated as Korvel presented his feelings in a manner that was soul-reaching and more than just a passing fancy.  Interestingly enough, Simone’s reaction to Korvel was equally as powerful.  Karma, those two crossing paths.  
Helada.  If I never hear that name again, it will be too soon.  While a spectral apparition, or merely a vivid memory, Helada served as  part of the evil duo in Nightborn.  Helada was pretty much clouded in mystery and intrigue.  While we did learn that he was Simone’s father, we didn’t truly learn the full truth of the secret he was protecting.  Simone, however, was bound by her biology to protect the same secret as her father.  Unfortunately, because Helada did such a bang-up job of training his only biological offspring, and because he introduced her to several male youth during her childhood and training.  EXCELLENT twist to the plot that I didn’t expect!  Pajero.  Not. Impressed.  Pajero thought he was going to steal the artifact and snatch a bit of immortality for himself.  Sorry.  Not really.
We are also introduced to Gabriel and Nicola.  I LIKE them!  Nicola’s snarky commentary truly brought a bit of comedic relief to a very tense portion of the plot.  Alexandra, a human-turned-Kyn, a doctor, is called in to assist with an emergency toward the end of the book.  Korvel and Alexandra had a sort-of ‘thing’ previously.  We also get a cursory glance at Richard.  Pompous arse.  

One of my favorite quotes from the ‘supporting characters’ is from Nicola:

“She’s a nun who’s having sex with him (Korvel), and she lured him into an ambush, and she’s the sister of the guy who grabbed them.”  Nicola shook her head.  “You’re right.  I’m being too quick to judge.  When we’re done with the mission we should invite her over one night to play Pictionary.”

Simone appears to be a quiet, sentient being.  However, she is quite powerful and skilled in combat.  She thinks quickly and appears to react even faster.  A lover that is also her protector is not necessary.  Simone also is duty-bound to her family, protectors of a rare and dangerous artifact.  She is riddled with inner turmoil and conflict, and struggles to resolve her learned duty and the whispers of her heart.  Simone discovers, through her interactions with Korvel, that she is capable of being loved.  She also learns that it’s highly enjoyable to have an attentive partner.  Through the skillful conflict driven by a moving plot, Ms. Viehl shows us how Simone came to be who she is today.  Toward the end of the story, Simone is rewarded in a heart-warming reunion with many people she thought she’d lost during her childhood.  
Korval, our hot, copper-allergic hero began the story a solitary soldier, sent on what appeared to be a trivial seek-and-find task.  Because he is Kyn, a.k.a. Vampire, he has special gifts and talents.  I was quite intrigued with the pheromone description for Korval – larkspur – and definitely will be seeking out this scent, just to get a first-hand experience with it’s allure.  While much of the getting-to-know-you was happening with Simone, I thought that Korval kept his distance, even though he knew he loved Simone.  Part of that distance, I believe, was to ‘convince’ himself that Alexandra was really no longer a true pull for him.  He wanted to believe that Simone was his true mate.  The most beautiful scene, for me, was mid-story, when Korval and Simone were sharing a dream, in the ‘nightlands’:

“I never wanted this,” Simone whispered.  “Any of this.”

“Then let it go.”  Korvel removed her head veil and threaded his fingers through the bright tresses, drawing them over her shoulders.  “Forget your father and this place.  Be with me.”

“I’m not fit to serve you.” …

…Korvel held on to her.  “I don’t need a servant,” he shouted over the screaming wind.  “I need you.  I want you, Simone.”

After all the fighting was over, there was an emotion-packed scene.  I nearly cried.  No spoilers here, but grab a few tissues.  I was pleased with the ending, and as Mr. VampBard can attest, I did say, ‘la la la…I’m not believing this… it’s a romance story, and there’s always a happily-ever-after…’ (as I sniffled and unobtrusively dabbed my teary eyes).  
While the end of the story was action-packed, I was left with a lot of questions.  I’m guessing that most of them will be answered in future installments of the Lords of the Darkyn series.  I definitely cannot wait to see what the next title, Nightbred, holds in store for the Lords!
VampBards Rating:
Loved it – enthusiastically recommend (A)


Purchase Info:
Nightborn: Lords of the Darkyn 1

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