Sunday, November 09, 2008

"One Silent Night"

Last night I devoured the new Sherrilyn Kenyon, “One Silent Night.” I’m a great fan of her Dark-Hunter universe, in particular her Weres, but we haven’t seen those in a while. Still, this new book has a few of my other favorites in it: Nick. I love Nick Gautier. In the past, he needed a good slap upside the head, and he really, really needed to stop whining, but he’s still one of my all-time favorites. He has such potential and, boy, this new complication in his life (I’m talking about p.305) has all the makings of an awesome story. Urian. Don’t I love the tortured ones the most? Ash. But I have to admit I enjoyed him better when he was single. Just goes to show, I prefer the tortured ones.

I enjoyed this book. I’m a great fan … but … I would rather wait longer for a new book to come out than read one that feels rushed or underdeveloped. The rushed feeling wasn’t as prevalent in this one as in the last few (Acheron not included), but it was there, in the missing fluff and details. The build-up of conflict and tension is still there, but the steep angle at which it traditionally rises towards the dramatic conclusion feels far reduced. As if Sherrilyn only allowed herself one paragraph to deal with each emotion, hurdle, new clue, character, complication or whatever. What’s missing is depth.

I don’t think it helps that there are so many characters. Yes, this is a book about war, which necessitates a large cast, but I don’t think I’m meant to consult my notes to see who’s who, how they’re related and where they came from. The problem is that all these characters vie for my attention and steal time from the protagonists.

As a writer I can appreciate the need for and the benefit of a large cast, but as a reader I feel like secondary supporting characters are dangerously close to becoming “deus ex machina” devices whose only purpose in the book is to quickly unravel a complication the protagonist doesn’t have the time to deal with. I know Sherrilyn can do better than to have a character show up in the last chapter, stay two pages and save the day all under the guise of “surprise, we had this up our sleeve all along.”

That, of course, is the great benefit of having a large cast: there’s always someone useful up your sleeve.

All in all, I’m still a fan :-) and I enjoyed this book. I was thrilled to come across Nick again. I hope he’s done whining and back on his way to being the smart ass who never took no crap from Ash.

Now, when do we hear from Aimee and her wolf?


Anonymous said...

I think I have to agree on a few feeling rushed. Makes me wonder if have such a huge on going series like that is a good idea or if there is a place you should just stop. Kinda like the Feehan series also.

I have not read the Acheron book yet. Did you enjoy it?

NL Gassert said...

Yes, I've read Acheron. Oh, boy. Don't read it when you are feeling blue or lonely or unloved :-) Ash has had a rough past and Sherrilyn isn't glossing anything over. I don't actually remember much of the second part, only that there are a lot of characters to keep track of. It's a THICK book.

Any series runs the risk of becoming stale after a while. The problem with the Dark-Hunters, I believe, is simply the number of characters. There are too many of them in one book. There is just too much going on.

I really like Christine Feehan's Drake Sisters and her Ghost Walkers. It's been a while, though, since I read a Ghost Walker book. I read Turbulent Sea over the summer and liked it a lot.