Forsaken beyond redemption and forced into servitude for his sins, only death can be his salvation.
As payment for his crimes, Saden was disowned by his Vampyre race and made a Drakon—a slave trained to become a soulless killer and forced by his master to apprehend other demon criminals. He was an assassin with no future except the promise of death at the end of his sentence to relieve his suffering. His life was forfeit, and had been since the day he was betrayed by the one man he’d trusted with his life—his uncle, Gabriel.
The only respite in the madness of his world lay in the heart of a warrior he’d sworn to protect. A woman who wasn’t even aware of his existence.
Daneya had learned early in life that the only one she could depend on was herself. Circumstance had made her hard and unyielding, with only the love of her daughter to keep her going. But she was running from a past that chased her relentlessly, and a man who wouldn’t let her go.
Even after joining an organization dedicated to destroying demons who preyed on humans, she still couldn’t escape the Vampyre who haunted her nightmares. Gabriel would find her. It was only a matter of time.
Her only chance was to trust in a criminal whose sins made him the very thing she hated. Yet Saden wasn’t what she’d expected at all. Could she learn to trust him with her life and heart before Gabriel took everything in his lust for power?
I’d like to start off this review by saying that I really love Nikki McCoy as an author. I have reread her Keepers of the Gods series at least three times. She is not only an excellent writer, but she has an incredible imagination, so I know I’m going to get a read that isn’t the same ol’, same ol’. So even though I tend toward MM more often than not these days, I picked up this book because it was Nikki who wrote it.
However, this one fell short for me, and it had nothing to do with the MF aspect. Yes, Nikki’s imagination and creativity were present here, but it was waaaay too much and bogged down what could’ve been a really exciting and interesting story.
The story begins with Saden, a Vampyre who’s been condemned to be a Drakon (demon killer) because he did something awful and has to pay by being tormented by his Drakonen. There was also a Dresidien (another type of being) involved, and therein lay one of the problems. I kept forgetting which ‘D’ was which and that would pull me from the story. Back to poor condemned Saden. We don’t find out what that awful thing it is he did until about the sixth chapter, and at the point, I was so confused by the other twenty plot points and beings, I’d forgotten all about it. Saden is protecting Daneya (unbeknownst to her) a human warrior part of the DCM, which goes after and kills errant, human killing demons, or creatures, or…
I got overwhelmed with this book. It’s long, over 300 pages, and there was so much crammed into the story. I was never able to connect with the MCs (Saden and Daneya) the way I needed to in order to care about what happened to them. There were several moments in the book where everything came to a complete halt in order to fill the reader in on whatever new being or subplot was being introduced. So there would be several paragraphs, sometimes more than one page of pure info dump. There was never an opportunity to sweep the reader into another world and let them be lost in it. As soon as I’d get there, I’d be forced once again to get an instructional manual-esque lesson on what the new subplot/character was, and I’d be pulled from the story. The pacing was very clunky due to this.
And speaking of subplots and characters. Yikes. There were at least seven or eight (maybe more, I lost count) POV’s in this book. Some were only on a couple pages, others stuck their heads in repeatedly. This was part of the reason I never fully connected with Saden and Daneya. Also, in a paranormal/urban fantasy, it’s not unusual to have a vampire coming up against a shifter, or perhaps a demon and vampire, perhaps even a third element. But here we have vampires, demons, dragons, shapeshifters, djinn and warrior humans. Holy hell, they weren’t even the typical ones. Which again while very creative, I had to get a lesson on each one of those things and their special abilities, powers, origins, history, relationship to all the other beings…I thought my head would explode.
Since this is the beginning of a series, I’m assuming that all these characters, their creature designations and the various subplots will form into storylines for future installments. Sadly though, that tactic did this book a great disservice. Had this story focused primarily on Saden and Daneya, had more showing and less telling, it would have been a much faster paced and enjoyable read. Even though I really liked some of the other characters, they got in the way of my enjoyment of this book.
However, if you’re a fan of the paranormal, urban fantasy and love complicated and unique world-building, then this might be the book for you.