The latest installment in Sherrilyn Kenyon’s The League series is definitely a mixed bag. Let me start with what I liked about it. Caillen’s story takes us back to the original cast of characters featured in Born of Night and Born of Fire. We had jumped ahead in time for a while to focus on the next generation of the core families for Born of Ice. But this story is set only 2-3 years after the events in Born of Fire. I’m happy about this. I thought there were plenty of great characters in the original group still waiting to be explored, and now Kenyon is giving me just what I was hoping for.
Caillen is a rouge smuggler who is also a charming rake. He bears no loyalty to any woman but his sisters. And he lives life by the seat of his pants. As our story begins, he is arrested and sentenced to death while taking the blame for something his sister did. Just before he is executed, it’s revealed he is actually the long lost son of a foreign king. Caillen isn’t really cut out for life as a prince, but he is giving it his best shot, in honor of his new father. It’s during a sort-of international summit that he meets Desideria, a princess from a race of warrior women. When the two of them get framed for the murders of their own parents, they go on the run, while trying to solve the mystery of who set the terrible plan in motion.
It’s hard not to like Caillen, though he didn’t inspire terribly deep feelings. Obviously, he and Desideria fall for each other as they are drawn together by circumstance. But this book is seriously missing the dark and sexy vibe of my favorite Kenyon books. In fact, if memory serves, I think there is only one love scene in the entire book. (Come on! Play to your strengths, Ms Kenyon!) But honestly, this isn’t even my biggest complaint. My biggest issue with the book is the plot surrounding the assassinations. The closer we got to the end of the book, the more convoluted it became. Every time I thought we finally understood what was going on, a different twist was revealed. Now, I love a good twist as much as the next person, but I think I’ve got whiplash. It got confusing.
It was great to see Syn, Sharhara, Nykyrian, Hauk and Darling again. But this brings me to another point…. The epilogue is set up to clearly pave the way for Darling’s book, when Desideria asks Caillen, “Are you sure Darling is gay?… Because I caught him ogling a female secretary.” Um. No. Way. I am highly disappointed by the idea of revisionist history for Darling, who has always been as gay as the day is long. So gay that he was beaten to a pulp over it, time and time again by his uncle in previous books. And now we’re supposed to believe, what? He was faking it? He is bi? But he never told the friends he has trusted with life and death secrets? Again I say: No Way.
So when all was said and done, this book was ok. I would have liked a bit more sex and a less complicated resolution, but I’m glad we’ve returned to this time period. Now if only I could get that Nero book I’ve been wishing for. 3 1/2 stars
*ARC Provided by NetGalley