In this futuristic world, life is extremely harsh and many times cruel. The book setting recalled images of great 80's sci-fi movies: Dune, Mad Max, and Blade Runner. Our heroes are the anti-establishment, hardened outlaws that have a heart of gold underneath the rough exterior.
Our hero, Nykyrian Quiakides has lived a life that was so cruel and so outrageous that we are told he trusts no one and expects that eventually even his best friend will turn him in for profit. Then there is Kiara, our priviledged, royal dancer that has a naive view of the world. Although she senses the good in Nykyrian, she is horrified by the choices he has made in his life. She cannot comprehend how someone would choose to kill and live as an outlaw assassin. He is determined not to get close to Kiara, and she is equally determined to show him that he can be loved.
The story of protection, war and assassins is good. Even though is had a lot of cliche moments, I was still glued to the book and wanted to know what would happen next. Scenes where Nykyrian is shot to death in front Kiara, yet he still lives seems box-office block buster material: predictable action and adventure. But there were enough deviations from the normal to make the book hold my attention.
The writing is not as full and mature as Ms. Kenyon's fabulous Dark Hunter series. These books were some of her first written (and were recently re-issued). The point-of-view changes frequently and without warning. While reading the first part of the book I would get confused at times, until I was used to the quick change in POV.
Another issue I had with the story was the constant self-degrading attitude and comments of Nykyrian. Yes, we know his life was harsh and he thinks little of himself, but we really don't need for him to constantly remind himself that he is "no good" for Kiara. The inner monologue of both main characters gets very repetitive and annoying.
Luckily for the readers, they get over their emotional baggage and get together. Of course it's amazing and true love. The ride after is bumpy and full of more baggage. They each make assumptions on what is best for the other and end up wrong at times.
In the end it all works out - amazingly so. The fairytale ending is almost at odds with the brutal beginning of the story. But even with the cliches and issues I had while reading this book, I still couldn't put it down. I teared up in a few places and felt my heart quicken for Nykyrian and Kiara. The bottom line is: the story works. Think of it as your summer block-buster movie ready for viewing. Pop come corn and pull up a comfy chair.
Rating: 3.5 stars.