In his human life, Valerius Magnus was a great Roman general, but his family was guilty of unspeakable acts. In his life as an immortal Dark-Hunter, all of his fellow Dark-Hunters despise him for who he is and what they think he did two thousand years ago. Valerius leads a lonely life, but has learned that being alone is better than being reviled. Since every person he has ever tried to help has ended up being hurt or even worse, dead, he is also reluctant to care for anyone, so he battles the Daimons who terrorize New Orleans in relative solitude and anonymity.
Tabitha Devereaux is one of the few humans who knows of the existence of the Dark-Hunters and their nemeses. After being attacked by a Daimon when she was young, Tabitha learned to fight for herself and is every bit the warrior that the Dark-Hunters are, but she marches to the beat of her own drum and has never truly fit in anywhere. One night, while battling a group of Daimons, Tabitha accidentally stabs a man she has never seen before thinking he is one of them. It doesn't take long for her to realize that the gorgeous hunk is none other than the infamous Valerius Magnus who is passionately hated by her brother-in-law and ex-Dark-Hunter, Kyrian. Not knowing what else to do with him, she takes Valerius home with her until he can recover from his wounds. When he awakens, Tabitha finds that he isn't quite the monster her family has portrayed. As she comes to know him better, Tabby finds a sensitive man beneath the hard, reserved exterior and can't help falling for him. She'll have to move heaven and earth to make peace with her family if she is ever to have a real relationship with Valerius, but first they both must battle a sinister evil which is stalking Tabitha and her family and won't stop until every one of them is dead.
Seize the Night was another very good installment in the Dark-Hunter series, but it started off a little slow for me. Sherrilyn Kenyon seems to have a habit of throwing her heroes and heroines together - in bed - a little too soon for my taste. Every once in a while it works for me depending on how it is written. However, most of the time I find myself wanting a little more relationship development, and Seize the Night was not an exception. I just had a hard time buying the sudden attraction between Valerius and Tabitha in the early parts of the book which is why it dragged just a bit for me. I can't say that I was truly sucked in until a pivotal scene involving Acheron occurred about halfway into the book. After that I was pretty well hooked, not only because the action ramped up, but also because that event brought Valerius and Tabitha closer together and they started getting to know one another better. As I've mentioned in other reviews, the ending of a book can make or break it, and in this case, a sweet ending preceded by an emotional, nail-biting climax that included some intense events that I totally did not see coming and that brought some tears to my eyes, made me bump this one up to keeper status. With unexpected deaths (no, not everyone makes it out of this one alive), the life of at least one character dramatically and irrevocably changed (although other characters were deeply affected too), and Acheron finally revealing his true nature, Seize the Night was definitely a not-to-be-missed book that included some critical alterations of the Dark-Hunter world.
I really enjoyed Valerius as the hero, and at this point in the series, I'd say he is my fourth favorite Dark-Hunter hero. Valerius is so proper and uptight that it's actually kind of cute, almost like he's from another planet in the beginning, but underneath that reserved exterior, beats a very sensitive and passionate heart that was just waiting for someone like Tabitha to unleash it. I love how he releases all that passion just for her and is able to feel so free in her presence. It was so sad to read about how Valerius's family had treated him during his human life. He may not have been perfect, but he never did anything to deserve their wrath in the past or the loathing of his fellow Dark-Hunters, the Squires and even their human friends in the present. I kind of felt like that part of the story was a little overblown, because even in the previous books, I never disliked him except for when I thought he was the same Valerius who had tortured Kyrian in Night Pleasure. If memory serves though, it was revealed in the very next book that it was his grandfather who happened to have the same name, and not Valerius himself, who had done the torturing. That fact was common knowledge to all the characters, so I couldn't help being rather disappointed in Zarek and Kyrain (as well as the others) for holding a major grudge against Valerius for two millennium for things that his family did or that they merely thought he did. I guess they made up for it in the end, but at the time, their hatred seemed rather irrational and unbelievable.
Tabitha was a very interesting character. She was a kick-butt heroine who was as good as some Dark-Hunters when it came to fighting Daimons. She has a feisty personality to boot, but underneath her tough surface, she is an empath with a softer side which I could relate to. She definitely marched to the beat of her own drummer, and I could understand her feeling like a freakish outcast. Her feeding the homeless and all the thoughtful little things she did for Valerius may have been small acts of kindness, in and of themselves, but I thought they spoke volumes as to her character. However (and I feel kind of bad admitting this since it was something her ex-boyfriend said which hurt her), but Tabitha is the type of person who in real-life would probably exhaust me and occasionally she did in the story too. She had this wild, almost manic, personality that was just a little overwhelming for me. At times, I thought she was a bit too brazen, but at the same time, I could see how she was good for Valerius, bringing out his passionate side and showing him what it meant to laugh and have fun. I had mixed feelings about how often she defended him in the early chapters. On the one hand, I liked that she was willing to take up the defense of a man who had done nothing wrong, but on the other hand, her forwardness sometimes made it seems like he was unwilling or unable to defend himself, although I know wasn't the case. Most of all, I just liked that Tabitha unequivocally believed in Valerius's innate decency and was able to see the truth when no one else could.
As with all the books in this series there are lots of secondary characters, but I have to commend Sherrilyn Kenyon for once again, utilizing a number of characters who were already on the canvas rather than creating a plethora of new ones. As always, Acheron was back, and as I mentioned earlier, he had some really amazing scenes (not that his scenes aren't always amazing, but these were particularly good;-)). Of course, Ash wouldn't be complete without his little demon side-kick, Simi, who along with the mischievous squire, Nick, managed to do something very surprising which raised Ash's ire and propelled some of the later events in the story. One of my minor complaints about Zarek's book, Dance with the Devil, had been that his act of vengeance was never revealed, so I was happy that it was finally explained in Seize the Night. Other major characters from past books who put in appearances: Julian (Fantasy Lover), Kyrian and Amanda (Night Pleasures), Talon (Night Embrace), Astrid (Dance with the Devil), Vane and Bride (Night Play), Stryker (he appeared previously and has his own book, One Silent Night, later in the series), Tabitha and Amanda's sister, Selena and her husband Bill who show up in nearly every book, and of course, the goddess, Artemis who lives to torment Ash. Surprisingly, there were no new characters from future books introduced except for one brief mention of Alexion (Sins of the Night). I originally thought that the intriguing Katra, was a new character, but after re-reading my review of Kiss of the Night, I realized she played a significant role in that book as Cassandra's bodyguard and a handmaiden of Artemis. I remember liking her pretty well, but that things ended rather ambiguously for her. In Seize the Night, I liked her even better, but her appearance was very short-lived. It seems that she is still serving Artemis, and has also been loving Ash from afar for a very long time, although I don't remember anything of that nature in Kiss of the Night. She made such an impression on me in this book though that I initially thought perhaps she might become Ash's heroine, but it seems I might be mistaken. I do look forward to finding out more about what and who she is though.
As with most of the other books in the series there were a few minor annoyances that kept it from being a perfect read. The author slips back and forth between character points of view within the same scene. I'm not sure if this is something she's done in her other books and I just didn't notice, but I did notice it this time and felt that it was a bit confusing and jarring at times. I think that for the most part, I prefer when an author sticks with one character's perspective throughout a scene. Sherrilyn Kenyon is definitely into obscure pop-culture and there was one passage of dialog that I thought used these references a bit too liberally. Only a certain sub-set of the population would probably even get it. She also, in my opinion, way overused the phrases, "What?," "Excuse Me?,"and "I Beg Your Pardon?" and when they came from Valerius, that sort of vernacular seemed particularly odd and out of character. Lastly, there were times when I thought she used too many "be" verbs, doing a bit more telling than showing. In the end though, I was mostly able to set aside these issues and give Ms. Kenyon credit for a very nice piece of story-telling that has me looking forward to continuing the Dark-Hunter series to see what's in store next. Seize the Night is book #6 in the series. There are currently a total of 19 full-length novels in the Dark-Hunter series and quite a number of related novellas and graphic novels as well, with more still to come. A complete list of all the books and their recommended reading order can be found on Sherrilyn Kenyon's website.
Note: Ms. Kenyon changed the ordering and organization of her Dark-Hunter series twice in 2009. We will endeavor to keep up with any future changes as well, but readers are advised to check her website for the most up-to-date information on the series.
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