Did you see our recent giveaway of the four-book Black Sun’s Daughter series? One lucky commenter won all four books, including the newly released (as in yesterday, November 29) fourth installment in the series, Killing Rites. All of the mass market paperbacks are written by M.L.N. Hanover, and I was lucky enough to receive a copy of each of them from the publisher. That way, I’d be all caught up when I settled in to read Killing Rites! Warning – there are a few mild spoilers below, so if you haven’t read the first three you might want to skip the next couple of paragraphs.
The series presents a unique mythology for vampires, werewolves, and magic. Ordinary humans are possessed, or taken over, by “riders” of several different varieties (lupine, vampiric, etc) ; they may be forced out of the body all together, or they may be relegated to the background, forced to watch and participate in whatever acts the demonic presence commits. Becoming skilled in the art of magic helps to fight them off, but not totally. Jayné (it’s pronounced zah-NAY, which really bugs me) Heller is using her seemingly unlimited inheritance from her uncle, along with the close friends she made just after his death, to track and combat riders.
The first three books are pretty action-packed, with some romance thrown in. Killing Rites takes a different direction, with a slower pace and less forthright action. The struggles in this book are more internal. Now that Jayné is certain she has a rider inside her, does she want to get it out? Are all riders truly bad? How will she keep her friends safe? And what about Ex….can he deal with his past issues and help her overcome this? Will something finally come of the undercurrent of romance between Ex and Jayné? I’m not going to divulge the specifics, but I will say that it doesn’t all get wrapped up neatly in this book. The author left the readers hanging quite nicely! Some ends were tied up, others weren’t, which of course leaves me speculating about the next book.
I enjoyed the slower pace of this installment of the series, and I definitely want to read the next one. This one is by far my favorite of the four.
I don’t think I would’ve enjoyed it as much had I not invested some time reading the first three. This is not a series that you can pick up wherever and just get started – you need the background info and history in each one. They are all quick reads, though. I finished books three and four in one day. I would definitely recommend these to anyone interested in the paranormal/sci-fi fantasy genre.