Only the most recent posts pop up on the HOME page. For searchable lists of titles/series reviewed on this Blog, click on one of the Page Tabs above. On each Page, click on the series name to go directly to my review.

AUTHOR SEARCH lists all authors reviewed on this Blog. CREATURE SEARCH groups all of the titles/series by their creature types. The RATINGS page explains the violence, sensuality, and humor (V-S-H) ratings codes found at the beginning of each Blog review and groups all titles/series by their Ratings. The PLOT TYPES page explains the SMR-UF-CH-HIS codes found at the beginning of each Blog review and groups all titles/series by their plot types. On this Blog, when you see a title, an author's name, or a word or phrase in pink type, this is a link. Just click on the pink to go to more information about that topic.

Monday, September 13, 2010


Author:  Yasmine Galenorn
Plot Type:  Urban Fantasy (UF)
Ratings:  Violence5, Sensuality4, Humor1
Publisher and Titles:  Jove
     Night Myst (6/2010)
      Night Veil (7/2011)
      Night Seeker (7/2012) 
      Night Vision (7/2013)
      Night's End (7/2014) (FINAL NOVEL) 
      "Night Shivers" (12/2015, e-novella) 

This ongoing post was revised and updated on 11/21/15 to include the publisher's blurb for "Night Shivers," a novella that revisits the INDIGO COURT worldThat blurb appears first, followed by an overview of the world-building and summaries or reviews of all of the novels in the series. 

                       NOVELLA:  "Night Shivers"                       
     Revisit the world of the Indigo Court. Cicely, Queen of Snow and Ice, is slowly getting used to her new role in life as Queen of Winter. The Vampiric Fae have been conquered and Myst is gone, but now something new is unsettling her kingdom. A ship sails across the Crashing Sea from the Golden Isle with new members for her kingdom, but all of the Sidhe aboard are missing. And the Wilding Fae are appealing to the Fae Queen. Several of their members have vanished, and a large shadowy wolf has been seen on the outskirts of their village. 

     It seems Fenrick, a wolf-shifter and priest of Hel, the frozen goddess of the underworld, is on the loose, trying to usurp control of the Realm of Snow and Ice. Now, Cicely and her friends must face down the monster before he can marshal the ice giants, and destroy the new Queen and her rule. 

     Includes a sample chapter of Night Mystthe first book in the INDIGO COURT world, with permission of Berkley Publishing. 

     Click HERE to read an excerpt from "Night Shivers" on the novella's page by clicking on the cover art. In her introductory remarks, Galenorn reveals that she plans to self-publish more novellas for this series, all in e-book format. 

      The Indigo Court is made up of a hybrid race of supernaturals who are half Fae and half vampire, with all of the strengths and a few of the weaknesses of both groups. One of their biggest weaknesses is that they are extremely sun sensitive. Sunlight throws them into a day-rage, resulting in uncontrollable violence. Here is a brief history of the origin of the Indigo Court: "Eons ago, Geoffrey, the Regent of the Northwest Vampire Nation and one of the Elder Vein Lords, had attempted to turn the Unseelie Fae. it was then that Myst had been born, turned from his lover into a creature neither vampire nor Fae. A terrifying half-breed. And she was able to bear children. She had become the mother of her race and Queen of the Indigo Court." (Night Seeker, p. 16) After her changeover, Myst turned against Geoffrey because she wanted all the power for herself. As a long-term goal, Myst has plans for world domination, with all humans and supernaturals bowing down to her.

     The series heroine is Cicely Waters, a wind-controlling witch who returns to her hometownNew Forest, Washingtonwhen she learns that her aunt and cousin are in danger. Cicely soon discovers that a dark force, the Indigo Court, has taken over the woodlands and is kidnapping both magical and human citizens of the town.

     Cicely’s love interest is Grieve, a Fae prince who was her childhood sweetheart but whom she abandoned years ago when he wanted a romantic commitment. Now, Grieve has been enslaved by Myst, the psychotic, power-mad Indigo queen, and Cicely’s Aunt Heather has become one of Myst’s captives.

                       BOOK 1:  Night Myst                       
    In the series opener, Cicely makes an uncomfortable deal with the local vampires in order to gain their assistance. This is the beginning of her uncomfortable relationship with Lannan Aldos, a local vampire leader who is perpetually aroused by Cicely's rejection of his sexual talents. 

     Cicely also discovers stunning new information about her family history and her magical powers. The book ends in a cliffhanger, with Cicely readying herself to save both Grieve and the town. Click HERE to read the first chapter of Night Myst. 

                       BOOK 2:  Night Veil                       
    As book 2 begins, Myst has brought down a cold and snowy winter on New Forest, and her minions are murdering humans (who are called yummanii). Cicely and her friends are trying to come up with a plan to rescue Grieve and put a stop to Myst's devious plans. At the beginning of this book, Cicely's allies include the following:

   Rhiannon ("Rhia"): Cicely's cousin
   Leo: Rhia's fiance, a day-runner for the vampires
   Peyton: half werepuma and half witch
   Anadey: a witch who is Rhia's mentor and Peyton's mother
   Kaylin: a dreamwalker possessed by a demon
   Chatter: a Fae who was Grieve's best friend and who has a crush on Rhia
   Lainule: Grieve's aunt, who is the Fae Queen of Rivers and Rushes

     Unfortunately, some of these friends become enemies by the end of the book. On the other hand, some of Cicely's enemies change sides and become her allies. As the story proceeds, Cicely has to contend with the carnal desires of Lannan, the sex-obsessed Elder vampire to whom Cicely must give a blood tithe each month. She also must deal with the devious plans of Geoffrey, Regent of the Vampire Nation, who is a warlord always in search of more power. Cicely is still discovering the extent of her inherent magical skills, which now include the ability to shape-shift into an owl and to use a magical fan to stir up and control high winds. As Cicely works to free Grieve from Myst's clutches, she learns some shocking facts about her parentage and about the true agendas of some of her supposed friends. The book ends with Cicely and her remaining allies planning for future battles with Myst and with their new enemies among the vampires and the Fae.

     Although the mythology of the series is fresh and inventive, Galenorn weakens her plots by cramming in details that aren't necessary and which actually detract from the action. For example, we get way too many detailed descriptions of the foods that Cicely and her friends eat and the clothes that Cicely wears. We also get scenes that have little or nothing to do with the plot. For example, there is a scene in Night Veil in which Cicely worries at length about one of her clients who is being abused by her husbanda woman who never reappears in the story and has nothing to do with the plot. At several points, Cicely muses about the evils of abusive malesa laudable emotion, but entirely unnecessary to the plot line and somewhat distracting. Although there are a few holes in the plot (e.g., characters make great leaps of logic or seem to know facts that we haven't seen them learn), the story arc is engaging and compelling. We really want Cicely to get back together with Grieve, and we want him to be cured of his day rage. I would rate this as a middle-of-the-road series, not great but not horrible, either. Even though I'm calling it an urban fantasy for its strong, dark story line, the Cicely-Grieve relationship is definitely that of soul mates. Click HERE to read the first chapter of Night Veil.       

                       BOOK 3:  Night Seeker                       
     As the series story arc continues to play out, Cicely and her friends fight battle after battle against Myst's forces as Cicely attempts to complete several difficult tasks. She must journey deep into Myst's territory to retrieve the heartstone of the Queen of Summer, fend off Lannan's never-ending attempts to get her into his bed (or against a wall, or whatever), and help Grieve break away from the vampiric effects that he has suffered ever since Myst turned him into a Shadow Hunter. No pressure! In the meantime, both Cicely and Rhia learn more about their family connections and their surprising (to them) future. Cicely's magical abilities are continuing to develop, and she now has much more control over the wind, but she must also be careful not to succumb to bloodlust when she uses an obsidian knife against her enemies.

     Cicely and Grieve have resumed their romantic relationship without a hitch, except for his understandably jealous feelings about Cecily's ties to Lannan. The dialogues between Cicely and Grieve overflow with melodrama. When Cicely says things like, "Love me. Take me, my Prince." (p. 103), it's like you're reading a 1980s bodice ripper. Remember, Cecily grew up on the streets, being dragged from one city slum to the next by her drug-addicted mother, so it's hard to imagine that she would talk like that in real life.

     The story line follows Cicely as she fights, then showers, fights, then bathes, fights, then showers, and again...and again. In one day alone, she fights four battles and takes four showers/baths, with complete descriptions of the fragrances of her various bath gels. This is one of the primary problems that I have with the series: too many frivolous details that neither enhance the characterization nor advance the plot. Again in this book, the food details are also piled on. Every time Cicely eats, we get a complete description of what's on her plate. On p. 190, for example, her lunch is "sliced ham, aged cheddar, a handful of cherry tomatoes, some fruit salad,...a chocolate cookie." Cicely doesn't eat plain old mashed potatoes; her potatoes are "fluffy" and "fork-whipped." (p. 237) Why should we care what she eats? These extraneous details are, for me, annoying and distracting. I'm never quite sure whether to skip over them and get back to the story or pay close attention in case a pertinent fact is hidden somewhere. The latter is the case with the peppercorn sauce served with the roast beef in that same scenealthough why the entire incident is even included makes no sense to me because it has nothing whatever to do with the story line. I'm guessing that the author couldn't think of any other way to illustrate Lannan's true feelings for Cicely, but that couldand shouldhave been done in any number of plot-related ways.

     Throughout the story, multiple, not-too-subtle hints are dropped about what the future holds for Cicely, Grieve, Rhia, and Chatter. I figured it out very early in the book. In fact, by the end, Cicely and Rhia seem to be the only ones without a clue as to their own fates. The book ends, once again, with a cliff hanger. Myst is still out there; the traitorous vampires are still on the loose; and Lannan will, no doubt, do everything in his power to keep Cicely from marrying Grieve.

     All in all, this is stacking up to be a so-so series, despite its obvious weaknesses. The main characters are likable, if not fully developed, and the action is compelling, though bloody. Click HERE to read the first chapter of Night Seeker.  

                       BOOK 4:  Night Vision                       
     On the first page, Cecily is reminiscing about the huge changes in her life: "So much had changed over the past few weeks since I'd rolled into town," and that's the first time I realized that this entire series covers less than a month's time. It's tough to keep track of the time frame when the books are published a year apart. To review, during the past few weeks Cecily has learned that she is half Cambyra Fae, discovered that she can shape-shift into an owl, developed a powerful ability to control wind, reunited with her lost love, survived countless battles with vampires and enemy Fae, watched former friends become enemies, welcomed former enemies as allies, survived a blood-letting relationship with a hedonistic vampire, andlast but not leastaccepted the fact that she is the new Queen of Snow and Ice. That final accomplishment is the focus of the plot of the fourth book. Beginning on page 24, the author provides an 8-page series summary that introduces Cecily and delineates the main events up to this point, thus bringing the reader up to date on Cecily's life. That section makes it possible for this book to be a stand-alone read. A character-connections list is included at the end of the book. 

     The plot of this book is very simple: In the next 48 hours, Cecily and Rhiannon are due to be installed as queens of their respective empires, followed by a double wedding in which each marries her soul mate. Cecily will marry Grieve; Rhiannon (the new Queen of Rivers and Rushes) will marry Chatter. That is the basic story line, but things are never quite that simple in Cecily's life, so you can be sure that her enemies lay a series of obstacles in her path. The plot action consists of one mini-battle after another as Cecily and her friends are attacked seemingly every time they venture out from their secure Barrow. At one point there is a kidnapping, and that leads to the climactic battle that ends the book. 

     At this point in the series, Cecily has two major enemies: the evil Myst and her Shadow Hunters and Geoffrey and Leo, the vicious revenge-seeking vampires who have released the monstrous Crawl (aka the Blood Oracle) from his prison cell. Crawl is an ancient, primitive vampire who has taken a particular liking to Cecily's blood. Geoffrey wants to torture and kill Cecily in revenge for her past actions against him, and Leo wants to take Rhiannon away from Chatter and make her his blood slave. Myst, of course, wants her kingdom back, and she's not going to sit still and watch Cecily become its queen. That's basically the whole story. The level of violence is definitely a "5" because of a horrific rape scene and one near-rape episode. 

     This is one of the weakest books in the series, primarily because it is so repetitive and so predictable. Every time Cecily and her friends leave the Barrow we know that someone will ambush themalthough Cecily never anticipates the attacks. Galenorn has (thankfully) dialed down on the food and clothing descriptions that overpowered previous books, but she still piles on too many details about the color and style of everyone's clothing. Galenorn seems to delight in inserting uncomfortably private details into the story. The yuckiest one in this book has to do with splinters getting caught in Cecily's pubic hair as she climbs a tree while stark naked. Ewww! TMI! The author's obsession with keeping Cecily clean is still a problem as she gives us way too many details about Cecily's obsessive schedule of baths and showers, including the scents of her various bath oils and descriptions of her bath-time snacks. At one point Cecily explains that she requires at least two showers a day, and she takes them, no matter what type of mayhem is going on in her life. In one scene, Cecily and her friends need to make an emergency night-time rescue so she sends her guard back to the Barrow for some dark clothing, emphasizing that she wants a clean pair of panties. Again...ewww! I can't understand the author's obsession with these kind of useless and off-putting details. They just serve to make Cecily a little bit creepy. Click HERE to read the first chapter of Night Vision

                      NOVEL 5:  Night's End                       
     A month has passed since Cecily and her cousin, Rhiannon, married their consorts and became queens of their respective realms: Cecily as Queen of Snow and Ice (the Winter Queen) and Rhiannon as Queen of Rivers and Rushes (the Summer Queen). Now they face one last hurdle: the defeat of Myst, the power-crazed Vampiric Fae Queen of the Indigo Court. Galenorn provides enough background material to give even a new reader enough information to read the book as a stand-alone, although I recommend that you read the series from the beginning to absorb all of the nuances in the relationships and watch the gradually developing enhancements in Cecily's magical powers.

     As this installment opens, Myst begins her final assault, first on New Forest and then on the rest of the world. She covers the world in a blizzard of ice and snow and sends out her Shadow Hunters to gobble down the human (aka yummanii) population, leaving only gristle and bone behind. It's up to Cecily and Rhiannon to forge a series of alliances with witches, vampires, ghosts, and other supernatural groups in an effort to unify their forces and defeat Myst once and for all.  

     The author includes a series "Character List" at the back of the book. Besides, Cecily, Grieve, and Rhiannon, these are the main characters in this final adventure:    

   > Chatter: Rhiannon's consort, King of Summer
   Ulean: Cecily's Wind Elemental
   Hunter: Cecily's grandfather, a shape-shifting owl (aka Uwilahsidhe, a branch of the Cambyra Sidhe)
   > The Snow Hag: a Wilding Fae who began to help Cecily after Cecily rescued her from one of Myst's snares (in an earlier book)  
   Kaylin: a demon-possessed dreamwalker who has a crush on Luna
   Luna: Cecily's best friend, a human bard with dark magical connections
   Peyton: Cecily's friend, half werepuma and half witch
   Ysandra: a human witch with connections to the Consortium (of witches) 
   Lannan Aldos: a local vampire leader with whom Cecily has a long history of mutually lustful attraction
   > Regina Aldos: Lannan's sister and lover; Emissary of the Crimson Court

     A large  part of the story involves Cecily's changing relationships with her friends. Now that she is the queen, Cecily must think first about the greater good, which means that she has to make some very tough decisions. When Cecily learns that one of Myst's spies is hiding among her friends and subjects, she is forced to use various means of mind-searching to figure out the spy's identity. "Painful and intrusive, the ritual allowed them to delve into someone's mind, to root through their thoughts and feelings and secrets. Essentially it came down to a form of mental torture. But it got the job done." (p. 16) Everyone is suspect, including Grieve, Cecily's closest advisors, and her best friends. The fallout from the mind-searches causes lasting changes  in Cecily's relationships with her friends as each one's life takes a new, sometimes horrendous, path after the experience. 

     Throughout this book, Cecily struggles with her new position as Queen. People keep lecturing Cecily on the inevitability of transitions and changes. Ulean reminds her, "This is what it meanest to be the Queen. And yes, you will find your world narrows, even as it expands. The higher you climb, the less your life is your own." (p. 24) Regina lectures her: " understand the nature of what it means to be a royaland what it means to not know whom you can trust. Cicely, when you take a position of power, it means leaving activities, and people, behind. You can never be as free as you were." (p. 82) Just before Kaylin makes a major transformation of his own, he tells her, "You, too, went through a transmutation, Cicely. You are not the same person you were a month ago. Everything changes. Everyone evolves." (p. 222) Although Cecily isn't happy about all of these changes, she eventually makes peace with the fact that she must place her duties to her people ahead of her private feelings and personal loyalties.

     Much like the previous novel, this plot involves a series of small but deadly battles with various monsters that Myst sends to attack the good guys. Throughout the story, both Cecily and Rhiannon display an increase in their respective powers, and those powers come in handy as they fight the horrific Shadow Hunters and Orb Spiders. Finally, towards the end of the story, the Snow Hag gives Cecily some cogent advice that helps Cecily figure out Myst's fatal weakness. At that point, Cecily and her closest allies fight their way through a dangerous trip deep into the forest for a final confrontationan inevitable showdownwith Myst herself. 

     One question raised in the early part of the story concerns the meaning of "immortality." When Cecily, Rhiannon, and their consorts took their places as kings and queens, they supposedly became. Cecily says, "If we avoided accidents and murder, if no one found our heartstones, we would live into the mists of time…" (p. 12) But then on the next page, Cecily says that she can still die from an anaphylactic reaction to seafood. So…does "immortality" here mean simply that she will not die from old-age-related causes? What kind of "accident" would kill her? Why hasn't her new immortality canceled out her allergy? This immortality issue comes up in other paranormal series, but usually the mythology contains specific details spelling out what will and will not kill immortal characters. This may seem like a nit-pick, but I really wish that Galenorn had clarified the issue.

     Other than the repetitiousness of the ongoing battle scenes and the slightly silly (and ubiquitous) post-battle cookie crunching (sometimes in blood-spattered clothing), this is a satisfying ending to the series. The resolution of the "lust triangle" (Cecily, Grieve, and Lannan) is kind of kinky, but apparently Grieve is more laid back than I thought he was. Although this has been an uneven series, Galenorn is a good story teller and has developed her characters well. The book ends with an "Epilogue" that takes place 25 years later, so  that you can see what happens to everyone. (But please don't peek at the ending before you read the story.) Click HERE to read the first chapter of Night's End.

No comments:

Post a Comment