Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Review: Upon The Midnight Clear & Dream Chaser

In the past week, like everyone else, I'm sure, I've been assaulted with promotional e-mails for the release of Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon. The leader of the Dark Hunters is finally getting his own book on August 4. Although I lost interest in the series, I still feel like reading Ash's story... and so I thought it'd be nice to catch up a little...

Upon the Midnight Clear by Sherrilyn Kenyon
published by St. Martin's Press in October 2007

Ever think Scrooge had it right before the ghosts ruined his life? Meet Aidan O’Conner.

At one time he was a world-renowned celebrity who gave freely of himself and his money without wanting anything in return...until those around him took without asking. Now Aidan wants nothing of the world—or anyone who’s a part of it.

When a stranger appears at his doorstep, Aidan knows he’s seen her before…in his dreams.

Born on Olympus as a goddess, Leta knows nothing of the human world. But a ruthless enemy has driven her from the world of dreams and into the home of the only man who can help her: Aidan. Her immortal powers are derived from human emotions—and his anger is just the fuel she needs to defend herself…

One cold winter’s night will change their lives forever…

Trapped together in a brutal winter storm, Aidan and Leta must turn to the only power capable of saving them—or destroying them both: trust.

Genre: paranormal romance
Series: Dream Hunter, book #2

The Story: Aidan O'Conner was once the Brad Pitt of our world, but after being betrayed by all his friends, family and lover, he became a reclusive Scrooge who hides from everyone. Unfortunately for him, his brother Donnie who is in prison for trying to murder Aidan, somehow got access to an artifact and was able to summon Dolor, god of Pain.

Leta is a Oneroi, a dream hunter. Centuries ago, she fought Dolor and was able to send him away. She put herself in stasis, to be awakened only when Dolor is released. Knowing that Aidan is his prey, Leta gets close to Aidan in order to use him to fight Dolor.

My Opinion: Okay, I'll be blunt... I think this book should never had been published. There's so many things that are wrong with this book... I'll start with the most obvious: the format of the book. The first thing that hits you when you open Upon The Midnight Clear is the size of the font. Double what it is usually! Most time, I don't really care about stuff like this, but seriously, when it's so big? It was bothersome. Also, the length of the story... Was this a joke or what?!? I've just read on Ms Kenyon's website, minutes ago, that this book was 'longer than a novella but not quite as long as a book.' Well no kidding! It also says on her website that this story was very dear to Ms Kenyon and that she's been wanting to tell it for a while... which makes me feels bad, but at the same time, that's not written anywhere besides her website! I think that Ms Kenyon should have work on it a bit more, flesh it out to turn it into a decent, regular novel. If not, she should have published a book of anthologies or something... Simply put, as it is, Upon the Midnight Clear feels like a rip-off to me...

Okay, onto the actual story and characters. Not much to say, except that the story and characters were not very well developed. The story was too short, not many twists as we're accustomed with Ms Kenyon's novels. It was quite straightforward, not very original and I think that her ending concerning the heroine has been overused. In most novellas, because of the shortness of the story, you often don't connect with the characters. That's what happened here. I couldn't connect with either Aidan and Leta. Yes, poor Aidan... betrayed by everyone... what I didn't really understand is why? I needed more than 'I hate you!! I've always hated you' from Donnie... but even if I was ready to accept that reason, what about Aidan's best friend? Leta was meh... Her lines just came out corny and phony to me.

Another problem is the number of secondary characters Ms Kenyon added. There were just so many... Also, Robert, Richard, Ronald?!? Granted, those weren't very important characters, but couldn't their names be a bit more different? It was just confusing! Not to forget a couple more Gods were introduced. I just felt overwhelmed by everything... the characters, the story and even the ending.

My Grade: D. One word to sum it all up, bad.

Dream Chaser by Sherrilyn Kenyon
published by St. Martin's Press in February 2008

Hades doesn’t often give second chances...

Xypher has one month on Earth to redeem himself through one good deed or be condemned to eternal torture in Tarturus. But redemption means little to a demigod who only wants vengeance on the one who caused his downfall.

Until one day in a cemetery...

Simone Dubois is a medical examiner with a real knack for the job. Those who are wrongfully killed appear to her and help her find the evidence the police need to convict their killers. But when a man appears and tells her that she’s more than just a psychic, she’s convinced he’s insane.

Now the fate of the world hangs in her hands...

It was bad enough when just the dead relied on her. Now’s there’s the seductive Dream-Hunter Xypher who needs Simone’s help in opening a portal to the Atlantean hell realm to fight insatiable demons. The future of mankind is at stake—and so is her life. The only question now is: Who is the bigger threat: the demons out to kill her, or the man who has left her forever changed?

Genre: paranormal romance
Series: Dream Hunter, book #3

The Story: Xypher is half demon, half dream hunter (read god) who's gone stoki and tortured by Hades the past couple of centuries. After helping out Katra and Sin in Devil May Cry, he bought himself a month on Earth where he has a chance to redeem himself through good deeds. Instead, all Xypher has on his mind is revenge on Satara, Stryker's sister, who addicted him to feelings and turned him stoki.

Satara knows that Xypher is after her and is finding ways to eliminate him. She comes up with these Atlantenean cuffs... if one of the two persons handcuff dies, the other does as well. In addition, they cannot leave be more than 20 feet apart or they'll both die as well. Simone Dubois is the unlucky recipient... lucky for Xyper however is that she is used to 'paranormal.'

My Opinion: I picked Dream Chaser right after Upon the Midnight Clear. My thinking was if I don't pick up it right away, I might never... It was definitively better than Upon the Midnight Clear, but that wasn't hard to do. You definitively feel Ms Kenyon's writing in this one and it follows like most of the Dark Hunter books in the series.

Xypher follows the mold of all the previous heroes in past book and Simone, of all the heroines... but it has been a winning recipe and it still works. Some of the banter between the two were entertaining... One of my problem though is some of the feelings that Xypher felt, such as longing and loneliness, came off as phony to me. It's just hard to describe, but in simple words... I just didn't feel or believe it. I think Ms Kenyon is trying tos hard to make her characters flawed with tragic past... After 10+ books, it is just too redundant... but then, at this point, you don't really read the books for the characters; more for the story.

Speaking of story, it was okay, nothing ground-breaking. You have the handcuffs part that reminds me of Night Pleasures (Kyrian and Amanda) and actually, Xypher and Simone are very similar to Valerius and Tabitha. Overall, the story was entertaining with lots of guest appearances from previous books: Ash, Simi, Julian, Katra, Carson and so on.

I have to admit, I'm getting tired of this series... the freshness is gone. Another problem is how Ms Kenyon keeps introducing elements to make this series complex. At this point, I feel like she should be resolving some of the storylines, not introducing more. We continue from Devil May Cry with the introduction of the gallu and dimme demons... and this time, you add in half-demons, Charontes in liberty, cross-breeding between the races and Jaden, the mysterious lord of demons... it's just too much.

My favorite parts? Jesse, Simone's ghost companion. He was cute and fun to read, especially his interactions with Simone and some of the stuff he would say to Xypher :)

My Grade: C... I think that's it for me. I'm going to read Acheron and voilà. By the way, next book is One Silent Night and it's Stryker story!!! Who wants to read about Stryker?!? (with the introduction of another villain). Thanks but no thanks.


  1. Okay I've been debating whether or not I should read these before Ash's story comes out- just in case there's something in it that I would need to know for his story. (The one Dream Hunter book I read didn't really hook me enough to get into that part of the series.)

    I'm thinking not. What do you think?

    (And I've heard it from more than one reviewer about Upon a Midnight Clear feeling like a gyp because of the font size!)

  2. I've the first DreamHunter book still sitting in my TBR pile - you're not encouraging me to read it!

    And hey, I thought Stryker was the bad guy!!! Has she redeemed him?

  3. Zeek - You're definitively not missing anything. Even if you were, it wouldn't be worth to read these to make it up.

    Li - Sorry! Can't help it though... it's just bleh...

    I don't know what's her plans for Stryker... but it would suck if she suddenly turns him good and introduced an even more evil villain...