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Review of If Angels Burn by Lynn Viehl

I found the first two books in this series at the library, and dearly hope they will buy the remaining six in the series. I feel I need to read these books because I think that while Viehl has done a good job of making the spin-off Kyndred books that I have been reading independent of the Darkyn books, I feel I need to know more about the world and background they take place in.

Book covers

Year published:2005
Series and no.: Darkyn, #1
Genre: Urban fantasy, paranormal romance
Setting & time: Chicago and New Orleans, USA, with scenes in Rome, Italy; 2000’s

Chicago reconstructive surgeon Dr. Alexandra Keller repeatedly refuses to see an out-of town patient despite his increasingly urgent and generous offers of reimbursement, because she doesn’t want to leave the patients under her care for the time it would take to examine him and do the surgery in New Orleans, which he is not willing to leave. But Michael Cyprien is not used to people saying ‘no’ to him and has her kidnapped and brought to him. Their encounter ends up with Alexandra becoming infected with the pathogen(s) that turned him into a Darkyn (basically a vampire) and begins to turn into a Darkyn herself. Alexandra wants none of this – she just wants her life back and will do almost anything to achieve this. The problem is that Cyprien is a mightily attractive man...

At the same time, Alexandra’s brother John, who is a Catholic priest, is being inducted into a secret order that is dedicated to destroying the Darkyn, an old enemy of Cyprien’s has arrived in America, and the king of the Darkyn is beginning to take an interest in Alexandra. (I expect these three plot elements will carry over into the following books).

Like the Kyndred novels I have already reviewed (Shadowlight and Dreamveil), this is a very readable book, tightly plotted and full of thrills. The only thing I really have to complain about is that the romance between Alexandra and Cyprien doesn’t come across as very plausible, and not because it’s a “falling in love with your enemy” plot, but because I feel that Viehl doesn’t manage to show well enough the transition from initial lust into eventual love. We are told they love one another but I came away from the book with the feeling that both characters were deeply in lust with each other but not in love. Therefore I am only giving it 3 stars, because it is still a pretty good paranormal thriller/urban fantasy.

I am now reading the second book, and it promises to deliver a nice little package of conflicts a little further along in the story.


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