Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Born of Silence
Reviewed by OFW editor:
Published: August 14, 2012
From the Cover
Death Stalks Them All...
Kere is the second most infamous member of the shadow organization known as Sentella. An explosive engineer who strikes terror into the hearts of the League, the bounty on his head is truly staggering. No one knows his true identity.
The daughter of a traitor, Zarya Starska grew up hard on the back streets of hell- her family hunted to the brink of extinction. But Zarya dreams of a different life and a different world. A world where the harsh hand of the Caronese emperor doesn’t destroy his subjects. As a Resistance leader, her goal is to topple the government that needlessly ruined the lives of her family and comrades-in-arms. In this deadly quest, the only person she can trust is a mysterious man known only as Kere.
By The Light Of Day...
Kere has a dark secret and a brutal past. As he aids the Resistance, he’s actually working to bring down his own family- the Cruels- so named for the viciousness in their blood that runs so deep, no other name would do. Born and bred from one of the oldest and noblest families in the United Systems, Kere’s real name is Darling Cruel. And the one thing he wants most is to see his uncle, who stole the crown by murdering his father, pay for his crimes.
If You Tell A Lie Long Enough, It Becomes The Truth...
In order to protect his mother from execution, Darling’s entire life has been built on a lie that he dare not breathe a contrary word about. His hands tied by his uncle’s cruelty. No one has ever seen the real him. No one except Zarya. She’s the only person he’s ever fully trusted with the truth. But when she betrays him by allowing a weapon he designed solely for her to be used against him, all bets are off.
The Hero Is Now The Monster...
Betrayed to the deepest level, Darling becomes an enemy even worse than his uncle. His goal is not only to reign, but to kill every Resistance member he can find. He won’t rest until all of them are dead and that includes Zarya.
The Twisted Hand Of Fate...
Zarya is the only hope to reach the heart of the man her people once considered their ally. A man who hates her with a fury so great that she knows it’s just a matter of time before he kills her. But if she can find the part of him that once trusted her, the part of him that once loved her, she might be able to save not only her own life, but those of her people.
It’s an impossible mission.
Too bad she doesn’t play the odds.
Sounds like a kickass book, doesn’t it? It is, and it isn’t. Longwinded is the exact term I’d use to describe much of this novel. I should preface this review by saying I've long been a huge fan of Kenyon's work. The Dark Hunter series rank at the top of my "read" pile and I admire her ability to keep each book and each character fresh and new despite writing dozens of them. But this one, just did not make the cut.
I’ve read a couple of previous books in Kenyon’s League Series, so the backstories for every single character was extremely unnecessary for me. For a reader not familiar with the series, perhaps some backstory on key characters is needed, but seriously, the author gives the life story of every character in the novel, even if they don’t factor into the story at all.
And that, I think is a major problem with “Born of Silence.” There are way too many secondaries running willy-nilly all over the place. In fact, I’d say a good two thirds of the characters in the book are completely unnecessary. They added nothing and changed nothing. They were fluff, the occasional comedic relief, and beyond that, she could have left them out and the story would remain unchanged.
However, the main characters were well written for the most part. Kenyon is a master at characterization and her dialogue (most of the time) is flawless in this book. Sometimes the exchanges bordered on nauseating, but each character had their own flavor. Even without tags, the reader could have picked out who was speaking simply by the word choices and flow of the dialogue.
The protagonist, Darling Cruel is a tortured character in many ways. If there’s one thing I applaud Kenyon on in all of her books, it’s that she isn’t shy about making them all suffer. But cheese and crackers, woman, what the hell? What began as a journey through the horrific past and suffering that made Darling Cruel the man he is, a journey that should have helped the reader understand and bond with him, turned into a nosedive into implausibility. Nobody could have lived through what Darling suffered in this book. A pole in his ass? Really? Do we all know what a pole rammed in one’s ass does to a person? Yes? Good. Now, Kenyon adds a hasty and improbable explanation toward the end of the book for his amazing healing powers, but it was too little and way too late. What he endures at the hands of his Sentella torturers had me wondering how he survived the five months it took for his rescuers to find him. And how does Zarya, as leader of the Sentella, not know what is happening to said prisoner, and judge their character so poorly? The excuses she offers just doesn’t fly. Kenyon would have readers believe that Zarya was so worried about finding Darling, who she knew as Kere, who she’s never actually seen, but has slept with and agreed to marry, and as a result of that worry she was blinded to the fact that she had him as a prisoner the entire time. What kind of leader doesn’t check on her minions from time to time, especially when they have a prisoner?
But one can let that go in the interest of a great story, right? Sure. The main reason this didn’t work in any way for me is that the heavy narrative and backstory got so bad that I’d just skim over any new revelation of Darling’s past horrors. Almost every chapter has a minimum of one page of revelations.
Kenyon fans will be willing to read the entire story, simply because the voice and style remain true to what we love about this author. However, a first-timer would do better checking out her Dark Hunter series first. These books are way better in quality than this particular novel.
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