Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Evermore and Night Lost by Lynn Viehl

Evermore by Lynn Viehl

(Acquired: Valentine's Present)

By Jove, I think I have a favorite. I've been reading the Darkyn novels since the very first one and I love them. They're all the kind of book that makes you want to be late to appointments or stay up a smidge too long. But Evermore is just a bit better than the ones that have come before. It has all the elements we've come to expect from the Darkyn series with history creating trouble and bringing bad blood between people who surely should have resolved their differences centuries ago but for very plausible reasons did not. Things are tangled and twisted and what you think is right may or may not actually be so. And of course, Alex gets to wield her scalpel and prove once again that the knife is mightier than the sword :).

None of that is any different than the others, which is not to say the tales are anymore than superficially similar. What makes Evermore unique to me is its emphasis on love, true love as opposed to the obsession and blood bonds that bind the characters together in the other Darkyn novels. It's not so much that there is no love in the others but that the characters don't have to fight for their love as much as succumb to it? I'm not explaining well, and can't without spoilers, which I refuse to do. What I will say is that from the start I questioned whether this series belonged in the paranormal romance section. I read them because I enjoy Lynn Viehl's writing and because I don't care if they're romance or not if they're good books with compelling characters and an interesting tale. My husband certainly doesn't read the series for the bonding of hearts with nothing but love to hold them together ;).

Evermore, however, cuts through that distinction. This novel, more than any of the earlier ones in the series, is about real love, the kind of love you can walk away from and regret your whole life or you can decide to stick it out and do whatever it takes. A kind of love unassisted by blood bonds, by scents that twist the ability to decide. That to me is true love because ultimately it can fail. Ultimately the people can make a choice that will drive a copper-plated knife through the heart and leave only green-tinged scarring behind. Evermore brings us back to a love that anyone can share, a love that doesn't rest on the easy laurels of physiological and psychological bindings but which the characters have to fight for to make it work, to make it last.

Anyway, enough blathering on. I loved this book. I really like the rest, but I love this one :D.

It may be unfair to follow the Evermore comments with Night Lost just simply because Evermore was so much more than the others, but there it is. I wanted to post my new comments and couldn't fairly skip the previous book just because I hadn't posted it yet. Still, I don't think you'll find much amiss in these thoughts either :).

Night Lost by Lynn Viehl

(Acquired: gift)

I mentioned a long time ago (I think) how I felt that the first book of the Darkyn series seemed more like a world setup than a tight, strong story as much as I enjoyed the characters. Night Lost helps bring some of that together in such a wonderful way that it resolves issues I didn't even realize I'd been waiting for, but at the same time makes me feel more comfortable with the overall. As usual, there's a primary romance as well as further experiences for Alex and Michael. The story is strong, well-rounded, and has that ever important push and pull of a romance novel that makes the reader question how Nick and Gabriel will manage to pull this off despite the "happily ever after" requirement. My only quibble is a minor pattern of exceptions in the series (and no, I'm not saying more than that), but with my quibbles from If Angels Burn being resolved some time later, I'm willing to allow this discontinuity on the expectation that Alex will come up with a good explanation for what is going on. The worst part of finishing this book is the time before the next one comes out. If you haven't tried Darkyn (or you let the first one turn you off), I'd recommend giving it another try. Yes, these are vampire novels, but they're a different type of vampire, and Lynn Viehl always manages to come up with a new way of bringing two people together.


jodi said...

I didn't much like the first one in the series. (I still have it...somewhere?) But I'll check out the second book. Have you tried the Ilona Andrews books? Book two comes out next week.

Margaret said...

Hi Jodi.

The first one of the series was very much setting up the world and the ongoing series themes. It did well on that grounds, but yes, I had some issues with the story within it. The good news is that every one since that has had a solid story to tell. If you're curious (and I try very hard to avoid spoilers) search for Lynn Veihl on my blog. I think I've posted all my mini reviews for them. If I haven't, I really shouldn't have posted Evermore, but...

On Ilona, I actually was introduced to her (and her husband as they write as a team) on OWW (a critique organization) and couldn't wait to see what she had out in print. Unless I miss my guess, her second should arrive on my doorstep any day now :). But to anyone else reading this, I second the recommendation.

Oh, and Jodi, try C.E. Murphy for someone else along those lines, though completely different in worlds.

jodi said...

I have--she writes for Luna, doesn't she? I also love the Michelle Sagara's in that publishing line.

Margaret said...

Yes, that's the right C.E. Murphy. I'll check out Michelle Sagara too :).