Aliens, assassins, and war are (of course!) a winning combination in creating any epic love story. Though, maybe Born of Fury by Sherrilyn Kenyon (Book 7 in The League series) could have been a little less epic in length. It’s helpful to read each book of this series in order. Extensive backstory and the histories for multiple races are easily missed when reading out of order. Also, there are some weird timing issues as book 3 fast forwards and focuses on the second generation of The Sentella (Syn’s son, Devyn), but the remaining books are set in the same general time period as the first two books. If smoking hot, badass assassin aliens are your thing, then give this series a try.
The war is on…
Counted among the fiercest Andarion warriors ever born, Hauk is one of the five founding members of the Sentella- an organization that has declared war on the League that rules the Ichidian universe with an iron fist and terrifies it with an army of well-trained assassins. Hauk’s enemies are legion, but he fears nothing and no one. He will do whatever it takes to survive and protect his Sentella brethren.
Sumi Antaxas is one of the best assassins the League has ever trained. In her world, failure is not an option and she has never met a target she couldn’t execute. So when she’s assigned Hauk, she believes it’ll be a quick and easy mission.
But nothing is ever as simple as it seems, and Hauk is far better trained and skilled than his dossier shows. More than that, as she pursues him, she stumbles upon the key that will bring down not only Hauk, but the entire Sentella organization.
In the race to report her information, she is overtaken by enemies out to end her as effectively as she intends to end Hauk. Now her only key to survival is the one man she’s been sent to kill. And Hauk doesn’t trust her at all.
The only question is, will he help her to live… or send her to her grave.
First things first, I adore Dancer Hauk. He’s a fantastic tortured hero. Hauk endured countless challenges from being and abused and mistreated by his parents to being turned out of his family over the circumstances surrounding his brother’s death. Through it all, Hauk doesn’t let anger and bitterness control his life. He’s a kind and thoughtful giant who deserves more recognition than he gets. It’s easy to like Hauk, especially if you’ve read previous books.
On the other hand, the heroine needed a great big slap upside the head. Sumi is a Sentella assassin tasked with getting information about Hauk, a founding member of the League. Badass assassin with tragic past falling for her mark – sounds like the perfect plot. It would have been a match made in heaven if Sumi weren’t so whiny. She sobbed and whined far too much to be believable as an assassin (I know, discussing believability of an alien’s actions on another planet is quite a debate). The scenes showcasing Sumi’s strength of will and body made me cheer. However, there were as many (if not more) scenes relegating her to a simpering little woman (Grrrr!). Surely there are better methods of projecting a character’s vulnerability without playing into the over-used over-emotional woman stereotype. Ovaries shouldn’t turn an assassin into a hysterical basket-case. Sumi received the same assassin training as her male Sentella counterparts. I felt it was a cheap trick.
The ever-present war between The League and The Sentella is an underlying theme, and Hauk and Sumi’s burgeoning romance with all of the associated entanglements is another plot arc. I found Hauk’s journey to self-acceptance to be the real story. Treated like an outcast by his family, he’s desperate to bring honor to his family and gain the acceptance of his parents.
I love me some League, that’s for sure, but I have mixed feelings on Born of Fury. As I already noted, there is a lot of information to digest – especially with regard to customs and alien history. Sometimes, it felt like reading a history book (snooze!). I did skim a section early on, then had to go back and re-read when I realized I missed crucial information. While action scenes were the best parts – blasters, blades, and plenty of blood, the romance was lacking…something (probably due to the fact that Sumi felt a bit two-dimensional). Melodramatic behavior by Sumi was used in place of a carefully constructed vulnerability. Though when in assassin mode, Sumi was suitably kickass. Overall, I liked the book (go Hauk!) and have already added the next book to my TBR. Hauk’s brother, Fain, will hopefully get the happily ever after that he deserves. Also, I saw that Bastien, who we meet in Born of Fury, gets his own book eventually (yay!).