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Bad Moon Rising

by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Published by St. Martins Press, New York

Print edition available 2009

Reviewed by Jonette Butler
Review posted 11/11/09

How can I describe Sherrilyn Kenyon’s novels of Dark Hunters, Were Hunters and Dream Hunters? Novels of the supernatural world certainly, fantasy, often steamy romantic adventure certainly, a smooth blend of ancient Greek and fabricated Atlantean mythology brought kicking and lusting into the modern world. There are a LOT of books in this series, and they seem to interweave and criss-cross characters and plots. You often encounter characters and references to events that took place in another book in the series, which is a lot of fun if you plow through the series in recommended reading order. That said, I don’t think you have to start at book one and follow through to the current release to enjoy any book in the Dark Hunter or Dream Hunter series. They stand alone quite well.

Sex in these books is steamy but not too graphic, aside from romance-fare type references to buff bodies and penis size and descriptions of the heroine “riding” the hero. (Oh for a line in a romance novel that says “She grasped his average-sized member in her hand and smiled. Not too big, not too small, this one was just right…”)

In Bad Moon Rising the main characters are Fang and Vane Kattalakis, whose animal form is wolf and Aimee Peltier, whose animal form is bear. Aimee is the sole daughter in a very large family of were-bears who run a Sanctuary licensed by the Omegrion – the ruling body of all were-hunters. Until the Fates assign a were-hunter a life-mate, they can mate and produce offspring with anyone they choose, but once their life-mate is assigned they must either accept them or the male becomes impotent and the female barren. Fang and Vane father hates them because their mother would not accept him as her life mate, leaving him. Mating between species of were, even in human form, is considered a perversion, but the Fates still assign mates across species (perhaps in an effort to hurry the extinction of weres). So when Fang and Aimee find themselves irresistibly attracted to one another, they are confused and though both resist the attraction, they can’t quite seem to avoid seeking each other out.

Along the way, their father’s treachery nearly kills Fang and Vane and Fang ends up in the Nether Realm. Aimee and Vane both dream of him there, but Aimee recognizes the dreams as true communication and sets out to rescue Fang, a process that takes some weeks as she must locate and kill the Daimons that drained most of his soul so that it will return to him. To complicate things a bit more, Fang becomes a demon Slayer, tied to Phrixis (who we might be tempted to deduce is the rebellious son of Satan or at least some seriously evil entity).

This book has no pretensions to “great literature”. It is an engaging story that sucks you in and keeps you there to the last page. I rarely read romance novels. Quite frankly, I’ve given up attempting to make it all the way through a standard fare romance novel — they are just not my cup of tea.. As a child I was fascinated with Roman and Greek mythology, so maybe it’s Kenyon’s novels tie-ins to mythology that grabs me, but in any case I find it hard to resist staying up all night to read Kenyon’s books from beginning to end. I like the Atlantean pantheon Kenyon has created. They are every bit as fractious and complex in their interrelationships with each other and humanity as the Greek pantheon is. Kenyon’s hand at the loom of fiction weaves together a wide range of characters, story lines and circumstances in such a way that reading the Dark Hunter and Dream Hunter series from beginning to end opens more and more windows into their world. She is always giving us more information about a breed of entities, or introducing a whole new wrinkle (such as Phrixis and his Demon Slayers in Bad Moon Rising).

The perspective sometimes changes pretty radically from one book to another, which is an interesting effect. One character, Atlanteon god, harbinger of destruction, Chthonian Acheron Parthenopaeus, appears in pretty much every book and the novel detailing his personal story is written very differently from the rest of the books, more like a historical novel. I found that to be an interesting diversion from Kenyon’s norm for the series.

The Official Sanctuary website is the place to go to find the correct reading order for the novels. The Dark-Hunter website offers information about these and other series. Both websites offer bio info, a calendar of appearances, and give links to Kenyon’s blog and twitter.

Kenyon books appear frequently on the New York Times bestseller list. She’s doing good stuff. Check it out.

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