Posts Tagged sarah a hoyt
Noah’s Boy, the third book of Sarah A. Hoyt’s Shifter series, starts off without pulling any punches. The Great Sky Dragon wants another dragon, Bea Ryu, to marry the dragon shifter Tom and create many dragon babies in order to keep the dragon line alive. Bea is not thrilled with this idea, and voices her dissent. One doesn’t tell the Great Sky Dragon “no”, however, without some consequences coming down upon them.
Meanwhile, lion shifter and Goldport detective Rafiel Thrall has been called to what is being classified as a “mountain lion attack”. However, Rafiel smells the distinct scent of shifter in the area and begins to suspect that the individual who survived the attack (not the poor man who was found mauled to death) may know more than he was letting on. In fact, Rafiel discovers that the man is a bear shifter. Rafiel realizes that he has another shifter murderer on the loose and, if not caught quickly, could bring down the entire shifter community – which includes Tom and Kyrie, his two best friends.
Tom, meanwhile, is suddenly hit with the memories and images of the Great Sky Dragon, which, according to the other shifters, means that the Great Sky Dragon was dead and Tom had just been unceremoniously promoted. Tom is not happy with this – he has a cafe to run and he doesn’t have time to play Lord of the Shifters – and shirks his duties as the Great Sky Dragon as long as he can before a challenge is issued by an older pair of brother dragons. Tom defeats them with ease, cementing his leadership as the Great Sky Dragon (at least, until the Great Sky Dragon returns. Tom isn’t convinced he’s dead, merely incapacitated).
However, in the midst of this all is a troubling… incident is the only way I can say it, an incident which caused my heckles to rise. Rafiel is taken control of by a rouge shifter female and is forced to mate with her, which in anybody’s book is called rape. It’s a bit uncomfortable to read but illustrates just how far gone this rogue shifted is, and just how dangerous the older shifters are to the newer ones. Of course this makes Rafiel feel extremely violated (as it should) but he really doesn’t talk about it to anyone (which is bad).
Noah’s Boy is a fun, fairly well-paced continuation of the entire Shifter series. Of particular note is that my longtime favorite in the series, Rafiel, is finally front and center as he and Bea begin to be drawn closer together, in spite of the Great Sky Dragons command that she bear the children of Tom (who is not happy about the insinuations at all and prefers his live-in girlfriend, Kyrie). The development of Rafiel from potential love-interest/conflict to loyal confidant is something to behold, as the richness of his personality practically dominates the book (I must admit, this feels like it should have been Rafiel’s book and not a “joint” book with Tom and Kyrie).
The only thing I can complain about is the ending being too “pat”. Everything concludes nicely, with a potential new love interest for Rafiel. However, with new shifters appearing from everywhere and Tom’s diner (The George) still attracting shifters due to the pheremones sprayed by the previous owner (see Draw One in the Dark for more about that little bit of back story), there are many more tales to be had in Goldport.
A definite addition to my library, and for any fan of quality urban fantasy.
—Reviewed by Jason
Editor’s warning: This book review contains spoilers for the first book in the series, Darkship Thieves. If you do not wish for the ending to be spoiled, stop here. Unless you really want to know, in which case, read on.
For any protagonist, one’s spouse being shot in the head less than a year after being married is definitely something that makes the reader sit up. When the protagonist is Athena Hera Sinistra, it makes the reader wonder which world will burn first.
Sarah Hoyt’s latest Darkship novel, Darkship Renegades, picks up immediately after the end of the first book of the series, Darkship Thieves (reviewed here). Athena and Kit, her husband, have just escaped from captivity on Earth after killing her father-clone, the Good Man Sinistra, and triggered an (accidental) beginning of a revolution by releasing prisoners from the undersea fortress of Never Never. Flying their ship back to Eden, they are subsequently detained for being potential spies and collaborators of Earth (something they fought to distinguish against in the first book) once more. The heavy-handed Energy Board committee is beginning to flex their power over the daily life on Eden. Led by a devious man named Casteneda, the Energy Board is tightening the screws of their enemies, which includes Kit and his very extended family. In order to counteract this (and also to prove their loyalty), Athena, Kit, Doc Bartholomeu and the mysterious cat named Zen all volunteer to go to Earth and recover the power tree notes from the brilliant Mule, Jarl Ingemar, Kit’s clone-father, in hopes of recreating the power trees so that Eden would no longer be forced to steal from Earth and risk detection.
It’s right about here when Kit is shot in the head and Doc Bartholomeu, in a desperate attempt to save Kit’s life, performs a strange procedure on Kit’s brain to save him. Unfortunately, this also “uploads” the partial consciousness of Kit’s clone-father, Jarl, who is immediately at odds with Kit and Athena over who gets to control Kit’s body and mind. They journey to Earth and struggle to piece together what is Kit’s brain and what is Jarl’s, while Athena is torn between the man she loves and a man who she hates residing in one body.
This book is heavier in politics than its predecessor, and also (I think) better written. The pacing isn’t as fast as Darkship Thieves, but the characters are deeper, more complex, and their story is far more fascinating this time around. While in the first book Kit was more playful and almost condescending in his attitude towards Athena, in this one he knows of her strengths and respects them far more. Of course, he (wisely) refrains from a condescending attitude this time, because one does not mock one’s wife without paying a hefty price.
Another intriguing facet of the book is Zen. An enigma early on, the reader discovers very quickly why her and Kit are connected and the bond they share. It helps build the potential of a future for Kit and Athena, beyond just their own, but of their potential descendants after them. It also shows a side of Athena (a jealous one) that the reader has yet to really see before. It adds to Athena’s character, I feel.
This book is very, very good. Not quite as good as Darkship Thieves, but better written. It’s hard to explain. Some parts of this book meandered whenever Athena’s mind wandered, which is right on target with what could happen when in a first-person narrative. But it also distracts at times, though not negatively, but building upon things that are evident later in the book. It can drive you crazy if you are not patient, but when all the pieces click together at the end, you find yourself smiling, nodding and wondering why you didn’t see that before.
A must-have book for the spring reading season, and a dark look at what could happen to even the most noble of causes.
—Reviewed by Jason