Dead After Dark
Sherrilyn Kenyon, J.R. Ward, Susan Squires, Dianna Love
Published 2008 373 pages
Summary (from the book jacket)
Shadow of the Moon by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Angelia has fought her entire life to make herself strong. Now, with her patria under fire, she has to protect her people from Fury and his werewolf clan. Vowing to bring him to justice, Angelia sets out alone…until the hunter becomes the hunted, and the only way for her to survive is to trust the very wolf she’s sworn to kill.
The Story of Son by J.R. Ward
Claire Stroughton is a beautiful lawyer who would rather spend the night with a legal brief than the man of her dreams. Then a routine client meeting turns dangerous—and deeply sensual—when she is held captive by a gorgeous man with an unworldly hunger…
Seize the Night by Susan Squires
When Drew Carlowe returns home to win back a lost love, he is quick to dismiss rumours that his estate is haunted by a stunning young ghost...until one passionate encounter leaves him mystified—and aching for more.
Midnight Kiss Goodbye by Dianna Love
Trey McCree possesses an insatiable desire for Sasha Armand—and supernatural powers that could endanger her life as a human. But when they team up to stop an evil warlord, Trey discovers that Sasha can do way more than drive men wild…
Hmmm… anthologies containing novellas based around a theme by various authors. I don’t know why I do it. The purchase of such an item is invariably a triumph of hope over experience every time - and Dead After Dark is (sadly) not an exception to this rule.
I had high hopes for this collection of stories. Both Sherrilyn Kenyon and J.R. Ward, the big name authors in this anthology, are favourite writers of mine and I really enjoy the whole paranormal romance genre – I couldn’t see where I could go wrong with this one (but that was probably just my wildly optimistic self talking my more pecuniary-prudent self into purchasing this book…)
J.R Ward’s The Story of Son is easily by far the best story in this anthology. It is one of the two novellas in this collection that actually features vampires and is the story of a career-orientated lawyer who gets kidnapped by her elderly client in order that she should become breakfast, lunch and dinner for the client’s vampire son. Even though he is a vampire with no name and has been locked in the basement for over fifty years “Son” is the stuff that romantic fantasies are made of.
The Story of Son is from a different world to the Black Dagger Brotherhood but there are enough similarities to J.R. Ward’s BDB alpha male heroes that, when combined with her talent for creating romance that pulls on the heart strings, it shouldn’t fail to please most of her existing fans. Rated at 4.5 stars out of 5, the main criticism for this novella is that it left so many questions unanswered that it really could have done with being a full length novel rather than a shorter story.
Beyond The Night by Susan Squires is the next best story from this collection and is also the only other story to feature a vampire. Set in the same world as the author’s Companion series, this is actually historical paranormal romance. Of all the stories in this collection this one works best with the novella length, setting the scene, telling the story and wrapping it up satisfactorily within the 90 or so pages. Drew Carlowe is a man with a past driven by revenge to return to his home town. Freya is a vampire with a 900-year past haunting her deserted home – when Drew moves into the old mansion fear isn’t his first reaction to her presence. It’s a good enough story – rated at 3 stars out of 5.
Midnight Kiss Goodbye by Dianna Love features the telepathic VIPER agent Trey who is trying to protect Sasha, the woman who loves but hasn’t spoken to in ten years, from an evil magician who wants to use her witch powers to break a whole load of evil beings out of their own special hell. This may have worked better as a full length story but as a novella there is just too much going on and any romantic development of the characters is just lost in all the noise. Rated at 2 stars.
Possibly the biggest disappointment in this anthology was Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Shadow of the Moon. This is definitely a story for die-hard fans only. It features were-hunters and goes something along the lines of Angelia, an animal-hating Arcadian, is involved in evil plot to take away the magic from were-animals and turn them into well… just animals. She is captured by Fury (a werewolf) who used to be her best friend before she tried to murder him when she found out he was a wolf.
Angelia is a truly unlikeable character who shows little remorse for her actions but manages to do a complete 360 on her 400-year hatred of were-animals within about two pages. Maybe his would have worked if it was a full length novel and the writer had more time to expand the character but as it stands its nonsensical and poor. Real poor. Rated 1 star.
Overall Dead After Dark has a combined rating of just about 3 stars out of 5. It is definitely worth reading for J.R. Ward’s The Story of Son but I could easily leave out the rest.
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