Series: Dark-Hunter #24
Published by St. Martin's Press on September 2nd 2014
Genres: Paranormal/Urban Fantasy
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Absolutely disappointing. For this story Sherrilyn Kenyon chose such an obscure legend to base her story off of that I had a hard time keeping up with all the names and all the bad guys. A boatload of cameo appearances from the series wasn’t enough to make me enjoy this story.
Son of No One is the most recent release by Sherrilyn Kenyon who has given us such wonderful stories in the Dark Hunter/Were Hunter/Dream Hunter series.
We meet Josette Landry who is cousin to the Devereaux clan. She is recently divorced from her cheating husband, who although he is unemployed, managed to walk away with all their money. Her house has been foreclosed and all she has in the world is her beat up 1964 Ford Falcon. She is in New Orleans to live with her cousins until she can find a job and rebuild her life.
Jo and cousin Amanda are the only paranormal skeptics in the clan, but Karma Devereaux has offered her a job as a videographer while they investigate paranormal happenings in some of the local homes. Since they already lost several camera people, the offer is something that the cash strapped Jo can’t refuse.
While setting up in one of the local homes, Jo trips and goes crashing through the large mirror like Alice through the Looking Glass. In this new reality where everything is in black and white, Jo is saved from attack by zombie like creatures by Cadegan
Cadegan Maboddiumun (which translates to “Cadegan Son of No One”) is a demigod/demonkyn since his mother was the goddess Brigid, and his father was the demon Paimon, who is the son of the demon, Noir. (Said like we should know how bad that is.) In fact this story is chock full of listings of relations. “I’m Talon of the Morrigantes. My wife is the granddaughter of the Mórrígan and the Dagda. We’re cousins.” All I could think of was the Spaceballs speech where Dark Helmet tells Lonestar.
At his birth Cadegan is left in a local monastery to be raised in the hopes that he won’t come across evil amongst the brothers. But we know that evil lurks everywhere and even in this tiny monastery, Cadegan was accused of stealing money and was severely punished for it although he wasn’t the thief. One of the Brothers let him take the fall. Cadegan couldn’t hide in the monastery forever and when war came through their town, twelve-year-old Cadegan was conscripted by the King to join his army. Unaware of his demon side, Cadegan was surprised how well he fought even when no one bothered to train him.
At this point, Cadegan’s brother Leucious finds him and convinces him to come fight with him against the demons. Eventually even Leucious turns on him because he believed that Cade’s demonside was winning out and he condemns him to this limbo world of Terre Derrière le Voile where he is trapped in the mirror. We have been introduced to Leucious in the Hellchasers stories and we know him better as Thorn.
Now when Cade and Jo meet, we have only just started on all the crazy names that we need to know for this story. And by God, everyone has at least one accent over their name so much so that now I want to change my name to Ľűćŷ. Cade takes Jo home until daylight when it is safer to go out. In the morning, he tries to return her through the portal and it is closed. So he goes to the dark wizard Brenin Gwyn ap Nudd to make a deal for the wizard to create a dragon key to the world of men so that Jo can leave before the autumnal equinox when she will be stuck here forever. He can’t go to another of the other named wizards or demons because he trusts them even less than Gwyn even though the price he will need to pay to free Jo is pretty steep.
I thought, “Okay the story will be quest for the items”, not so much. Overnight the back stabbing has begun and the dark wizard switches Cade and Jo’s bodies, which leads to having sex in each other’s bodies so they know what it feels like for the other. Ewww. Ewww. Ewww. I was a quite uncomfortable about the whole having sex with yourself aspect and felt a little creepy about the whole thing. The point of body switching first includes Gwyn being able to capture Jo as Cadegan since they will torture her for Cadegan’s memories to get the treasure he is protecting. The second point is that Jo’s family with the help of Thorn and Asheron pull Jo from the mirror realm. Cadegan as Jo goes batshit crazy on Thorn/Leucious until a rescue party is sent back in for Jo.
The remainder of the book includes back and forth trips and rescue parties first to rescue Jo and return her body to her and then to go back to rescue Cadegan who ended up getting left behind, with many, many strange named people popping up who all want to get their hands on Cadegan either to get their hands on the treasure he protects or to turn over Cadegan for the huge bounty that his demon father has placed on his head.
It comes up in the story that Cadegan/Jo’s story mirrors the story of ancient Goddess, Britomartis, cousin of Artemis, who had a magic mirror and saw the Welsh prince and fell in love with him and traveled through the mirror where they lived happily ever after as mortals and that Cadegan and Jo are descendants of the original goddess and Welsh price and are reliving their story. She screwed up her face in distaste. “Please don’t tell me we’re related. Honey, I ain’t that Southern.”
I can tell you that after 150 pages I was ready to toss this book and move on but decided to tough it out. The dozen unpronounceable and similar names was making me crazy and the story itself wasn’t all that exciting and it included several sidetrip flashbacks to Cadegan’s youth in the middle of scenes.
I would recommend that even fans of Sherrilyn Kenyon pass this one by and save yourself several hours of disappointment.
“How big is this dragon, anyway?”
He paused to consider it. “I’ve only seen him from a distance. When he’s flying in the sky, hunting for prey. But from nip to tail, I’d say about twenty-five to thirty feet.”
“That’s a big-ass dragon. Does he breathe fire?”
“I know naught, but would assume it.”
Great. A giant, fire-breathing dragon. Just what she’d put on her Christmas list.
Suddenly, Jo realized they weren’t entirely alone in the woods. Trying not to panic or be an alarmist, she reached out quietly and put her hand on Cadegan’s arm. “What would his range be on that fire?”
“No idea, lass, why?”
She held him by her side. “Because I’m looking at him and he doesn’t appear happy that he has guests.
Cadegan froze as her words hit him. The blood drained from his face as he turned to see the dragon crouched low, watching them.
“Nice, draggy, draggy,” Josette breathed in a singsongy tone. “You don’t want to eat the nice people. Do you?” She shook her head. “No, you don’t. We’re not even snack size.”
His jaw dropped. Was she out of her gourd? “What are you doing, lass?”
“Shh,” she snapped. “I’m being a dragon whisperer.”
He was even more aghast at her words. “A what?”
“Dragon whisperer.” She slid her gaze to Cadegan. “I’m assuming that if you fight him, it’s going to be a bloody mess. Right?”
“Could result in both our guts and entrails flying?”
She patted his arm kindly. “Then let’s try my way first. Shall we?”
He snorted at her offer. “I’m not sure I like your way, Josette. It seems even more dangerous than mine.”
She winked at him. “Not sure I like my way, either. Just promise me that if he starts to eat me, you’ll flash us out of here.”
“I shall do me best.”
“Cool, now shush and let me do something galactically stupid.”
Amused and horrified, Cadegan held his breath as he watched her bravely and slowly make her way toward the dragon. He wanted to stop her, but she was right. Battle wouldn’t get them anywhere except wounded for him and probably dead for her.
Jo stopped before she reached the nose of the creature. Swallowing her fear, she knew she had to do this, even though what she really wanted to do was run screaming in the other direction.
“Hi, Mr. Dragon. How are you today? Feeling in a good mood, aren’t you? Yes. Yes, you are. You don’t want to eat people, do you? No. No, people taste icky. They’re sinew and gross. No eat people.” She shook her head to emphasize her words. “You’re gonna be a sweetie, aren’t you?” This time she nodded.
Maybe it was wishful thinking on her part, but the dragon seemed to be scowling at her as if he understood her words yet was baffled by her context. It was an expression she saw often on Cadegan’s face.
She took a step forward.
The dragon actually inched back. he made a strange, rumbling sound. Not quite a growl.
“Shh, it’s okay, Mr. Dragon. We’re not going to hurt you. No. We like dragons. I used to draw you all the time when I was a kid. I did. I had a whole collection of toy dragons. ‘Cause you’re a cutie, you are.”
It cocked its head.
Jo drew up short as she realized one of its wings was on the ground at a weird angle. “You got a boo-boo, Mr. Dragon?”
Cadegan drew closer to her. “Its wing’s broken.” He started to unsheathe his sword.
The dragon turned on him with a hiss.
“No!” she said to both of them. “Cade, keep your sword down.”
“Why? Now’s the time to strike.”
She shook her head. “I think he understands me.”
The dragon turned its head back toward her.
“You do, don’t you?”
He appeared to nod.
She inched closer and closer, until she was able to reach out and touch the gray scales around his nose. Treating him like a dog, she allowed him to smell her skin. “See, I mean you no harm, little big dragon.”
He didn’t move as he eyed her warily. As if he was as suspicious of her as she was of him.
She moved her hand slowly to pet his head, near his ear. “It’s okay.” She cradled its massive head against her chest and stroked his dry, leathery skin. Then she looked over at Cadegan. “See? He’s harmless.”
“I wouldn’t go that far. But I can understand his motivation. I’d be quiet too for a chance to rest me head on your breasts.”
The dragon growled at him.
“Now, boys,” she teased. “Play nice.”