Monday, July 11, 2011

Born of Shadows

Published by Hachette Book Group

The League Universe is now my favorite world of Kenyon's. I have read several of her Dark-Hunter series which I enjoy but at the same time find to be too pagan. The League Universe is science fiction rather than vampire/Greek gods and is a wonderful change of pace.

Kenyon has created a character who is rich in flaws yet has higher moral convictions than the rulers of his world. Caillen Dagan is also trying to act like a loner yet has a tremendous amount of friends. The reader knows he will fall for Desideria and she for him. The ways they will disagree are obvious but they seem to fit together fairly well for a couple of fiction characters.

I can't say too much about the plot because there is a major twist towards the beginning and lots of surprises in how Caillen gets out of trouble. I can say that Caillen is basically a pirate/thief of sorts who steps in to save his own sister. As a science fiction novel, much of the time is spent on space ships and alien worlds. Food, clothes, and characters all are other-worldly.

I realize that I am sounding very vague at this point and feel that the summary on the book's jacket sounds better than my review so far. However, I do have to point out the things I enjoyed about Born of Shadows. The first big thing is that Desideria is a much stronger character than many of Kenyon' previous books. Usually her women are pretty weak and have to depend on the men or at least they usually are saved by the super-human men by the end of the book. Desideria is herself a known killer and shows a surprising amount of courage without pages of arguing with Caillen about it.

I also enjoyed the dialogue between the main characters. I felt they were actually getting to know one another beyond just in a biblical sense. There was also lots of funny dialogue and interesting plotting which was good for some sincere laughs.

The whole concept of these worlds, they way each are governed differently, and the manner in which each culture is presented was very creative. To see them all try to get along on one spaceship was actually kind of humorous as well as reflective of real life. I enjoyed reading about some different worlds as well.

There are two drawbacks from this novel. The first is that there is a planet of vampires. Could Kenyon have not left them back on earth? The second drawback is that Caillen and Desideria keep getting into impossible situations, getting out of them, then getting into another impossible situation all while planet hoping. How are they really able to get to each of these planets virtually undetected? Would one big impossible situation not been enough? It made me unsure if this was a poor editing decision or something Kenyon did to make the book longer. Do writers get paid per page these days?

What did Born of Shadows have to do with my faith? I think the whole idea that you cannot do anything to make yourself loved or approved by God. Desideria desires her mother's love and approval. She goes against her own loving nature by trying to defeat her sister and aunt in combat. She tries to act like her mother's side of the family even while holding her father's memory and encouragement close to her heart. Meanwhile Caillen has structured his entire life after his own pledge to his dying father. In many ways, he is still trying to receive his father's love and approval. When their attempts crumble, Desideria and Caillen fall for one another and accept each other as they are. They don't seem to be trying for approval. They seem instead to accept one another.

We cannot do anything to earn God's love for us. God has already proved God's love for us through the birth, ministry and death of Jesus. Our only task is to accept that love and stop trying to get either God's or other people's approval. Love God. Love our neighbor as our self. That is all.

I recommend Born of Shadows. Happy reading!


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