Reviewed by Helyce
Jamys Durand wants nothing more than to be respected as a warrior, have his own home and land with the woman he loves at his side. Unfortunately, though he’s been around for over 700 years, being made Kyn at the age of 17 has him continuing to look like a very young man. Add to that, being kidnapped and tortured at the hands of the Brethren three years ago—his father Lord Thierry Durand is somewhat over protective when it comes to his only son. But when Jamys learns that Richard Tremayne has offered territory in Ireland along with the title of Suzerain to the one who finds the precious three emeralds missing from the Scroll of Falkonera, he is determined to find them and in turn win the woman of his heart.
Christian Lang wants nothing more than to be a tresora. In her mind, she feels that this is the only way to be with Jamys as she is not Kyn. She’s trained night and day for three years and when the council hands down their final test – find the three missing emeralds she find herself at a crossroads. She knows that Jamys wants to find the emeralds too and become a suzerain with lands of his own. She’s caught in the middle and torn between her love for Jamys and completing the task for herself. No matter her decision, she could lose Jamys.
But Jamys and Christian are not the only ones looking for the emeralds. There is another; a Kyn who wants the emeralds just as much though he plans to use them to ruin everyone and take over Lord Alenfar’s jardin. His Kyn talent allows him to overtake the minds and bodies of anyone including some of the strongest Kyn Lords. For hundreds of years he’s roamed the seas, but he’s closer than he’s ever been from what he wants and he’ll stop at nothing to get it.
Nightbred started off a bit slow for me. There is an inferred previous relationship between Jamys and Christian and as I didn’t remember them from the previous series I felt a little lost. Individually, I really liked our hero and heroine. Jamys’ opening scene where he challenges the warriors of his father’s jardin and prevails in all challenges sets up his story as he proves once and for all that he is and deserves to be a warrior. His father, Thierry, has been quite over protective since being kidnapped and tortured by their enemy, the Brethren, and he does not want to lose his only son. And while Jamys will never look older than the 17 years he was at the time of his change, he’s lived many lifetimes and he’s ready to move forward. He is willing to do whatever necessary to get what he wants.
Christian Lang had a tough childhood until she was taken in by Lucan and Samantha. Pulled into the word of the Darkyn, she embraced them as the family she’d never had. She’s trained for three years to be a tresora, a human personal assistant of sorts; a necessity where the Darkyn are concerned, and a very important position in a Darkyn household. Christian’s done all of this with the hope that one day she can be Jamys’ tresora.
This is where the romance between Christian and Jamys fell flat for me in this book. While we are “told” that they are in love and there are romantic elements and moments within the story, they both hide their feelings and walk on eggshells around each other. Christian is trying to be the person she thinks Jamys will need or want, which confuses Jamys a bit, but neither of them just speaks up and admits their feelings. This does not provide any sort of sexual tension or build up to some huge reveal, however, and when they do touch or kiss, it didn’t have that “oh my God, finally” feeling.
The main conflict of this book revolves around the search for the cursed emeralds from the Scroll of Falkonera which was introduced in the previous book, Nightborn. This part of the story was what pulled me through and kept me reading. It provides much mystery and intrigue and covers action and adventure well. It introduces another Kyn with the spectacular power of being able to control the mind and body of another Darkyn through the use of any gold that person might be wearing. He’s also a Kyn who has managed to exist by adopting the lifestyle of a pirate, roaming the seas for hundreds of years, therefore staying off the radar of other Kyn. While I enjoyed this part of the story, for me it slightly overshadowed Jamys and Christian’s story even though all their actions crossed over throughout the story.
I am also very unclear as to what happened during Christian’s transition at the end of the story. It felt like there was some sort of hint that Christian was something more than human and that facilitated her change but we are left hanging. She becomes Kyn, but it’s unexplained and I can only hope the author plans to clear it up in a future book.
Finally, what of the emeralds? We are left hanging here as well. Were they found? Who has them? And if the person I think has them, does—why not admit it? Not a cliffhanger; more a dissatisfaction for the reader.
I like this author’s writing style and her world building is convincing and well done. I love the world of the Darkyn and really enjoyed the book prior to this one. Nightbred, however, fell a bit short for me. I had moments of confusion and for me there wasn’t enough focus on the main couple, Jamys and Christian. I should point out that I have not read all of the books in her prior Darkyn series, of which this is a spinoff, and that could account for some of my confusion. I will continue on as I hope to get the answers to some of these questions. If anyone has read it and has some answers-please let me know!