Genre: sci-fi romance
Cover: I am glad my book has the smaller cover, I really don’t like the new one.
In a world where the League and its assassins rule, where betrayal and treachery are everywhere . . . the only survivors are those ones who are . . .
BORN OF SHADOWS
For Caillen Dagan, a defiant soldier of fortune, survival isn't a right, it's a brutal daily battle. Moving through the Ichidaian universe like a wraith, his brushes with the law and death are legendary. But when an act of rare heroism reveals his hidden birthright, he's forced into a world much more dangerous and cold-hearted than the bloody streets where he was raised-one of obscene wealth and lethal politics.
Ferocious and determined, Desideria serves as an official bodyguard for her queen. Born of questionable genetics, she will do anything to prove herself worthy of the weapons she carries and the position she's won by combat. But when she uncovers a ruthless plot to assassinate the queen and overthrow her country's government, Desideria is caught in the crosshairs.
With assassination contracts out on both of them, Caillen and Desideria must learn to fight together or die alone. And if they fail, their governments will fall into the hands of an unimaginable evil.
It has been over 3 years since I discovered this series, read the first three books, and fell in love with this series. I have recently bought books 4 and 5, and I was really anticipating diving back into this fascinating galaxy.
I’ve met Caillen in the previous book, Born of Ice, and I was looking forward to reading his story. While saving one of his sisters, who is smuggling dangerous contraband and on the verge of being arrested and executed for it, Caillen is arrested in her stead. But just a few moments before the execution, he is saved by his father. Caillen does not remember anything about it, but as a young boy he was abducted from his rightful home, and rescued by the man he thought of as his father. He was raised like a son, along with his three sisters. And when his father was killed when Caillen was eight years old and witnessing the murder, he has been taking care of his sisters to the best of his ability.
Now one of them is happily married to one of the most dangerous men in the galaxy, and he still needs to take care of his other two sisters.
Caillen is an amazing pilot, every airship ever made he can fly, he is fluent in many alien languages and dialects, and he has some very good friends in low places, as well as many enemies. He is not rich, but makes a decent living for himself and his sisters, who are smugglers as well, and think they don’t need him, unless they run into trouble, and then he is the first one they call. I admit, I am not too fond of Kasen, the one that gets Caillen into trouble most often.
But Caillen is rescued by his father, who happens to be the Emperor of the Garvon and Exeter systems. And Caillen is a prince, and his fathers’ heir to the throne. And now he has to learn how to be a prince, court manners and table manners and everything. Caillen really loathes these lessons, and his heavy court robes. He just wants to have fun with his friends Mallen and Darling, and find a hot woman for his bed. But someone is not happy that Caillen has been found after all those years, and he or she will take measures to remove him again. Like by killing his father and framing Caillen.
Caillen is not the only royal heir in trouble. Desideria from Qillaq comes from a race where the women are the fighters, and men are soldiers or kept pets meant for breeding only. She is one of the daughters of the Queen, and like her sisters, she has to prove her worth in battle before she is considered an adult. Two of her sisters have already died in practice, and it seems like her sister Narcissa is intent on making her the third one. But Desideria does not give up the fight; she does not only beat her sister, but her aunt and weapons master as well. As a reward, Desideria is now considered an adult at 26, and is appointed a position in the Queen’s guard. If she can keep this position for a full year, she is allowed to take a male for the first time. So far, Desideria has not been interested in one of the soft kept males at the palace, unlike her sisters. And now, for the first time of her life, Desideria will go off planet, to a summit of all the rulers of the planets in the League controlled galaxy.
Intrigue runs heavy on Qillaq, and Desideria overhears a complot to kill her mother, the Queen, and to implicate her as the suspect. Her mother does not believe her when she tells of this, she believes her Guard absolutely loyal. As Desideria’s father was an offworlder, she is considered impure, a half-breed, and looked upon with hatred and disgust. Her blood is considered weak, as she shows feelings a real Qillaq is not supposed to have. Someone is not happy that Desideria spoiled the plot, and her fellow Guards try to kill her. Caillen comes to her rescue, and is then set up for trying to kill the Princess! As the women turn on Caillen and call for help, Desideria barely manages to save his life in turn, but the both of them tumble into an escape pod that launches itself. And so, weaponless and without any real engine power, they are helpless to choose their own destination. But when a fighter tries its best to kill them, Caillen shows his unique skills with everything that flies when he makes some adjustments to the computer and its preset designation.
Still, landing on a planet populated by a race that loves to eat humans, they certainly are not home free. They will have to make their way to the nearest city and communicate for help, while staying undiscovered. Both Caillen and Desideria are warriors, used to hardship and pain, and together they are an amazing team. Of course, surviving is not all they want, they both want to save their parent from the assassins after them. And if that is not possible, they will discover who is behind it all, because somehow, this has to be related.
And with the help of Caillen’s friends, they will survive… But as the future rulers of their own planets, they know there is no possible future for them as a couple, no matter how much they have fallen in love.
I really loved this book. Sherrilyn Kenyon has written an amazing galaxy with many races and planets, and I loved the little bits of culture and everything I learned here. Of course, the almost instant travel from planet to planet and through convenient wormholes needs to be taken for granted, but it was fun to read and filled with action and suspense.
The plot was much deeper than the obvious culprits and I did enjoy the surprise very much.
I liked Caillen, how he is always there for his sisters, and now has to learn a whole new life. He is certainly honorable, even though he is a smuggler and pirate by trade. He is smart and self though, and I admire him. And now he is falling for a woman he knows he can never has, how he came to respect her and love her was fascinating to read.
Desideria thinks she is a good warrior, but she knows nothing about the outside world. Her race does not mingle but keep to themselves. She is very lucky to be with Caillen, and she knows it and appreciates it. Even though she should leave him behind when he gets severely wounded, she stays and takes care of him to the best of her abilities. I liked that in her, that she went against her life and did what she felt was best. (Of course she never would have survived on her own on a hostile planet, without Caillen to keep her safe, but still).
A great couple, amazing galaxy and great friendships, lots of action and some tender love scenes, what more can I want in a book. I might have fallen out of love with her Dream Hunters, but certainly not with this series. I will read book 5 soon, and it is a very thick one which makes me happy.
© 2014 Reviews by Aurian