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"I learned long ago that being Lewis Carrol was infinitely more exciting than being Alice."--Joyce Carol Oates

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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Review: Midnight Sun by Rene Lyons

"Fascinated by the way they moved and the passion for the fight gleaming in their eyes, it was easy to see why the Knights Templar were considered the elite in their day. They fought with the belief that if they fell in battle, they would ascend straight to God. That belief gave them an advantage over their enemies. After all, how do you win against men who fought with nothing to lose and all to gain?"


I first heard about Midnight Sun over at Sanctuary's Finest. One of the girls was gushing about how excited she was over this new and upcoming author. My interest was piqued and I headed over to Rene Lyon's site to see what all the fuss was about. As many of my readers know, I'm a historical girl. I read all things historical. With my current reading stint of Holy Blood Holy Grail I was very interested with a book that told the story of damned Templar Knights cursed to walk the earth as vampires by way of punishment from God.

Review below the cut...

"The renegades, who dared to take from them, were going to learn exactly why the Templars were the most feared creatures this side of Hell."

This is book 1 of a 5 part series. In Midnight Sun, we are introduced to the five Knights Templar who were damned together by the archangel Michael to walk the earth as vampires looking for redemption. Tristan, The Guardian; Sebastian, The Sage; Constantine, the Dragon; Lucian, The Knight; and Rafael, The Rogue. All of the knights are gathered in Damascus, Pennsylvania (year 2005) to look for the Daystar, an ancient relic that holds the key to allowing vampires to walk during the day. While in Damascus, Constantine and Rafael stumble across local ghost hunter Allison Parker while she is being attacked by a band of renegade vampires. Saving her from certain death, Allie is taken into the circle of the Templars, supplying them with eyes during the day while they sleep.

Sebastian is drawn to Allie and hates it. For the last three hundred years he has sworn off allowing himself to become attached to any female, but he can't seem to fight the attraction that he feels for Allie Parker. With the help of two match-making Templars, Allie and Sebastian decide to stop fighting their attraction for each other and allow fate to take the lead.

While the story is about Sebastian and Allie's love, much of the book builds all of the characters, which I highly enjoyed. There was not a lot of conflict between the hero and heroine, but within the story itself, which kept this a very fast paced read. Mrs. Lyons uses multiple points of view in the story and I appreciated that she gave her reader enough credit to know they could keep up. I enjoyed the jumping POVs, feeling that it gave me a greater insight into all of the characters and kept the book moving without stalling out. As the ending might not be what many expect, I felt it was perfect. It gave just enough to make me happy but held back enough to keep me drooling for the second installment.

What left me guessing:

Why was Allie a ghost hunter? I didn't feel it added to the story. The way she was introduced to the Templars was a great set-up so the ghost hunter aspect felt forced. Especially since nothing came of it. I'm not really sure how she made enough money to survive.

Why Damascus? Why were they there? Why was the Daystar there and why was it a vampiric hotspot?

What is the relic? And why did it need to be in Damascus?

Of course, this is book one of a series so I suspect that a lot of my questions will be answered as I continue to read the rest, which I will be doing.

The things that bothered me:

Grammar. I struggled with this one but in all fairness, I have to put it out there. I was annoyed with the amount of mistakes that riddled the story. Nothing major, just sentences that didn't flow like, "As she quickly as the possibility came was as fast as it went." and, "He was stuffed with too much false bravado and overblown arrogance to make what he now was a good fit on him." However, the good part is that the story was strong enough for me to ignore it each time and keep reading.

Clichés. There were a few too many in the first 100 pages of the book for me. After that, I really didn't run into any.

The things she got right:

Tristan. Sebastian. Constantine. Lucian. Rafael.
These raw, guttural, alpha male heroes were dead on.


"From the time he took his first breath, he was being trained to become a warrior. To become a man who shed blood without care or conscience. Each blow delivered from the fists of his sire made him stronger. Harder. Henry Draegon battered him until he made certain he beat the humanity right out of his son. Until all that remained was an angry, bitter boy who grew into a savage man with a gift for killing."

Memorable characteristics without being over the top:

""Where's the fun in that, love?" His English accent lent him an air of sophistication."

""Oh good. A fight," Constantine remarked blandly as he strolled through the parking lot as if he hadn't a care in the world.
"Holy shit." Pete's eyes widened in horror. "That's the Dragon."
Constantine inclined his head. "Always nice to meet a fan.""

Allie and Sebastian. There love was believable.

"Over the ages he bled and killed for God. He killed to protect the lives of his brothers-in-arms. He fought for so many reasons, but never for love. That was the one thing he never believed in enough to shed blood for. Until Allie. For her he was willing to bleed himself dry. For her he was willing to walk through the fires of hell."

The religion. She made it count without beating you over the head with it.

"Yes. Lucian had brought so much pain to Stephan. More than he could ever imagine. He did to him, the one thing that would break a man as religious as Stephan had been. He removed him from God's grace."

Scenes. One thing Mrs. Lyons can create are scenes. Her book is scene after scene after delicious scene. It's hard for me to put this into words but with most books there will be one or two scenes that really stand out for me but in Midnight Sun there are countless. Lyons is a master at creating visuals for my eyes to devour.

Gasping, Allie spun around to see Sebastian standing directly behind her. As usual, he looked gorgeous all in black. She shot Constantine an accusatory frown. "You didn't tell me he was here." Constantine shrugged and looked out into the crowd. "You didn't ask."

Grade: A

Great job on your first book Mrs. Lyons and I can't wait to read Constantine's story, The Daystar, released from Samhain Publishing on October 31st.

For those of you who have read the book, I would love for you to talk about your favorite scene in the comments.

Mine:

The bar. Allie has gone to The Gate with Constantine and Sebastian to see if they can weed out some renegade vampires. To play the role of victim Allie dresses up in a goth outfit that is not at all 'her' but apparently very hot. After bantering back and forth about her boots, Allie heads to the other side of the bar to be picked up while Con and Seb watch from their table.

"Moments later another guy approached her. Disappointingly, he too was of the living. Again, Allie made quick work to get rid of him, keeping herself available to any dead who happened to decide to show.

She cocked a brow at Sebastain and shrugged, wiggling her foot.

"She said to tell you it must be the boots the boys like."

Knowing Allie put the sarcastic comment into Constantine's mind, Sebastian arched a brow regally, "Did she?"

That's mine. What's yours?

...Fiona...

10 touched me

Blogger Mailyn pondered...

great review! when I started writing mine I wanted to include my favorite scenes but damn it, there were too many of them so I skipped it. ones I loved are the Goth club scene, the scene with Lex and Constantine at church, the meeting when Seb kept trying to ignore Allie, when Lex meets the guys, when Allie gets abducted and her smarty pants comments, the bad guy messing up that poor woman, Luc and Stephan.

yeah, I have issues picking just one. lol.

7/20/2006 12:28:00 PM  
Blogger Dylan pondered...

Great review sweetie, I enjoyed it very much, very honest and still good! Great job Fi!

Alright, my favorite scene, oh gosh like you guys there's too many! Umm let me think.

One that stands out is the fight scene where Allie is supposed to take Sebastian home and they get set upon by that group of renegades and then Sebastian gets all pissed off because he has to fight them all while trying to keep an eye on Allie and how he was trying to summon Con to come out and help him, I don't know why but I loved that scene! Seb is such a hottie sexy hot guy who can fight! I loved it!

7/20/2006 01:31:00 PM  
Blogger Fickle Fiona pondered...

LOL Mailyn...you're right! There were a lot of great scenes, you named most of my favorite. Is it awful that I thought the one where the girls loses her mind is good? It really showed the ruthlessness of the renegades.

Dylan! There was a lot to like about that scene. Especially the hot make out scene against the truck! Raaaar! And then Sebastian tells the vamps to back off because, "I said the woman is mine." *sigh* I love me an alpha.

Fiona

7/20/2006 01:43:00 PM  
Blogger Holly pondered...

I'll have to tell you mine later, cuz my lunch hour is almost up (hating my boss today! UGH!) but I loved your review!

7/20/2006 04:08:00 PM  
Blogger Mailyn pondered...

OMG fiona, I loved that scene! I love it when we see that a guy is evil because, if not, he's just like pretend evil or something. lol.

7/20/2006 07:44:00 PM  
Blogger Fickle Fiona pondered...

That's chapter 7 Mailyn, and it was a good one. You're right, there was no pretend bad guys, we saw exactly what they were made of.

7/20/2006 07:55:00 PM  
Blogger Rene Lyons pondered...

Typos? Dear God, I hang my head in shame. Seriously. I swear they won't be in the print version. We do one more round of edits before it goes to print and they WILL be removed.

7/20/2006 08:42:00 PM  
Blogger Grace pondered...

Great review Fi!

I have so many favourite scenes from MS, including the ones you have all mentioned, but I think my #1 favourite is when Raphael and Constantine get back to the Manor after sending Allie there.

And then as soon as they get their COnstantine is pretty concerned about Allie's welfare:

Constantine clearly sensed the tension as well. “I’ll kill him if he ate her.”
Raphael laughed as he parked his silver Jaguar. “I doubt Sebastian ate Allie, he’s too damn civilized for that.”

and then later..

“Where is she?”
Constantine’s demand held a note of accusation Sebastian didn’t care for in the least. If Allie weren’t still here he’d beat the Dragon senseless for the implication in his tone.
Biting back his indignation, he motioned to the bathroom door. “In there.”
“In one piece?”
“Bloody hell!” Sebastian stood and strode over to the fireplace. He slapped his palms again the black granite mantle in a rare burst of emotion. “Of course in one piece, you bloody bastard.”

And then after the Templars saw Allie's bleeding lip:

“It’s nothing. We were making with the nice-nice and Sebastian’s fang accidentally caught my lip.”

To which Raphael replies:

“I’ve known you for five months and not once did you ‘make with the nice-nice’ with me. You’re around Sebastian for five minutes and you’re making out with him.”

And then lastly:

Allie rolled her eyes over his argument. “Don’t go getting your panties in a bunch about it. Just because I never swooned at your feet when you tried those ridiculous lines on me doesn’t mean I was immune to you. Jeez, Raphael, look at yourself! You’re gorgeous. How could I not be attracted to you? But you’re my friend. And I don’t know,” she shrugged, “I don’t see you in a sexual way.”

Constantine raised a brow at her. “So what am I? Dog shit?”

LOL. As you can probably tell, I basically loved the whole of chapter 3.

Gosh, I love it!

7/20/2006 10:54:00 PM  
Blogger Fickle Fiona pondered...

I loved it when Sebastian said "bloody"...and the whole making nice-nice. I used that on Linc today and he cracked up!

Rene, I hate to think that you are concentrating on the negative and not all of the positive! I loved the book!

Fi

7/20/2006 11:12:00 PM  
Blogger Fickle Fiona pondered...

Somehow I missed that this was going to print. I've never been moved to buy a print version of an e-book but this one I just might. I see myself wanting to revisit these characters.

7/21/2006 12:08:00 AM  

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