Sins of the Night, by Devyn Quinn
Sins of the Night is my first read by Ms Quinn, although it’s actually the second title in her Kyth and Kynn series. Aside from introducing the Kyth and Kynn universe, Sins of the Flesh, the first installment, tells the story of two characters who are essential for the events narrated in Sins of the Night. While I was able to gather most of the background information from this novel, I recommend reading Sins of the Flesh first in order to get the full picture. (But then, don’t I always?)
The usual warning: this series is erotic romance, and includes both graphic language and sexual content that is unsuitable for minors. If you are bothered by this, do yourself a favor and stop reading here. Thank you.
And with that out of the way… Here’s the blurb from the author’s site:
Once, Adrien Roth was a Shadow Stalker–a hunter of vampires called the Kynn. Captured, he was forced to pay a devastating price, to become the very thing he despised. Over a century has passed since that time and Adrien’s revenge against the creatures who tainted him is almost complete.
Little does he know that his thirst for justice will turn on him.
Foiling an attempted rape, Adrien is stunned by his attraction to the would-be victim. Cassie Wilson is a vibrant woman, obsessed with living for every moment. Though he knows better, Adrien begins to fall in love with her. But Cassie hides a terrible secret: her cancer is incurable.
When he and Cassie are captured by his enemies, Adrien is given a choice. Should he choose death for himself, or life for Cassie by making her one of the clan he’s shunned for too long?
Sins of the Night proved to be a quick, easy read, but I have to confess that I wasn’t thrilled by it. One of the first problems I encountered was that I have a couple of issues with some of the language used. I find certain words, particularly c**t, offensive. It’s a visceral reaction, and its repeated use through the book kept yanking me out of the narrative. Other readers may never notice, obviously, but for me it’s a hot button. The dialogue and some of the internal character musings felt forced and/or awkward to me as well.
My second—and bigger issue—is with the world building. I’m a tad anal retentive. I want my world building to be both consistent and straight forward. To my sadness, very few paranormal romances meet my (admittedly stringent) requirements. It doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy a novel, but it means I’ll grouch about things and will give the book a lower grade.
In the case of the Kyth and Kynn universe—or what I got out of Sins of the Night, at any rate—the world building feels as if it had been constructed to fit a need (i.e., the novel is an erotic romance, lets find reasons to bring sex up every chapter), instead of the plot being constructed to fit the world. (Due apologies to Ms Quinn, because I am interpreting her intentions here, which I really shouldn’t, ‘cause really, how can I know for sure, right?)
Still, that’s my take: In this world, vampires drink blood, but that is not their main source of sustenance. In fact, to survive, they have to drain the “sexual energies” of their human, non-Kynn partners during sex, along with a sip or two of their blood. This action does not kill the victims—usually—but if done too frequently could prove fatal. Ergo, lots of sexual partners, no emotional connection.
Yet this is an erotic romance, and the main protagonists end up together by the last page. Which sort of boggles my (probably a tad too prudish) mind, because after finding their true love and solving whichever issues threaten their future together… they will still have to have sex with lots of humans. They can’t use each other’s “sexual energies” because, from what I understood, said energies have to come from humans. Picture me going, “Huh.”
Further, the actual mechanics of the Kynn—what they can and can’t do, why, how different things affect them, what have you—are fuzzy. I don’t expect and definitely don’t want three chapters of exposition explaining all possible contingencies, but I want to have a clearer idea of why this or that works or not. At this point, I’m willing to assume (with all the potential for snafu) that some of my questions are answered in Sins of the Flesh, which I haven’t read. Still…
While I liked Adrien and Cassie—more him than her, truth be told, but I liked them both—I had some trouble with the speed with which they reached their HEA. I mean, the obstacles they are facing should require a tad more than three days to be overcome, wouldn’t you say? Adrien is fighting his own prejudice along with some heavy duty PTSD from the first three decades after his … conversion? change? whatever it is, because his sire (the female kynn who brought him over) was pretty much a crazy sadist who abused him in every possible way short of killing him, up to and including emotional and mental abuse. For her part, Cassie is fighting hopelessness and a loneliness that goes all the way to the center of her soul.
Some of the minor twists and points in the plot were interesting, including the presence of Morgan, yet another secondary character who—I presume—was introduced in Sins of the Flesh. The questions these twists leave open for a larger story arc are honestly very intriguing.
Sins of the Night gets a 5 out of 10 from me, with willingness to read the next novel in the series in hopes of finding out what happens with…well, you’ll have to read this one to figure that one out.