Goodreads summary: “Awakened from a drugged sleep in a cold cell, the Princess Kiara finds herself a prisoner of the merciless marauders who threaten her father’s planetary kingdom. Miraculously, a rescuer appears, but behind his fearsome mask is the handsome face of a dark avenger whose outlaw touch sets her very soul aflame.”
The last time I reviewed Kenyon, I somewhat flinchingly (really though — I did NOT like them, but lots of other women do and I am not generally contrary just to prove a point) bashed the first few books of her Dark-Hunter series. Perhaps a bit of healthy distance did us well, because I was able to more-or-less enjoy this book despite it being, seemingly, the original template she used to create her other popular series. She even likes to reuse names a bit. Here, our hero is Nykyrian; the second Dark-Hunter hero is Kyrian of Thrace.
The tortured and broken hero is not a uniquely Kenyon device, but she has a particular brand that was unmistakably born here: self-loathing, forsaken by his parents and would-be peers, but with one or two loyal and fiercely protective friends, this hero has no love to give any woman because he can’t even love himself. But lo! He then encounters THE ONE WOMAN who re-ignites his soul and his erection, and the province of Sadland slowly transforms into Gladland after much turmoil and upheaval.
Other than healthy distance, I think the thing that allowed me to enjoy this one a bit more was a fairly interesting sci-fi universe. It’s built on classic tropes of the genre, but I liked Kenyon’s version of shadowy assassins and who-watches-the-watchmen?-isms. Kiara was a fairly standard heroine: she’s stubborn and snarky (read as: “different” from other princesses who probably just want to stay home and knit space petticoats and drink intergalactic tea, or something), but more importantly, she somehow has the capacity to fix our broken hero, and that’s really all we need from our romance heroines anyway (HINT I’M CHOKING ON MY SARCASM. How’s that for a sarcasm font?)
Anyway, I’m talking more smack than not, again, but really this one wasn’t so bad. It was fun, even! If you’ve read Kenyon, it’s probably an interesting experiment to read this one if you haven’t already, just so you can keep tracking her tendencies backward.