Berkley, $7.99, ISBN 978-0-425-22546-2
Night Huntress is the fifth book in Yasmine Galenorn’s Sisters of the Moon series, so needless to say you really shouldn’t be reading this book if you are new to the series. The problem with this series is that after she had introduced the sisters in the first three books, Ms Galenorn was offered the inevitable dollar bills to extend the series. While I have nothing against working for the Washington, I feel that Ms Galenorn is ill-equipped to handle a long-term ongoing series, and as a result, the series is suffering.
While this one is thankfully less cluttered with secondary characters compared to the painful previous book Dragon Wytch, this one still has enough secondary characters to distract everyone but the most overzealous fan. The problem here is that these secondary characters are all indistinguishable from each other. Even the men who love our heroines lose their personalities once they get a taste of the Magic Coochie of our Amazing Heroines – Camille’s two (used to be three, but one is MIA) husbands are now nothing more than flat Those Guys following our heroine like meek little pets.
Oh yes, the story. Karvanak the Räksasa is back. Who? I’m too weary to slough my way through the older books to remind myself who this guy is. Meanwhile, Delilah D’Artigo, our heroine, discovers that her boyfriend Chase is cheating on her with his ex, and not only that, he cheated on his ex the same way before he met Delilah. What does a self-respecting shape-shifting cat heroine who has since Changeling gained super-duper powers do in this case? Kick the guy out, of course. I don’t know why Delilah is surprised. Chase was already a scumbag when he first showed up in Witchling.
Fortunately, Zach, the werepuma leader who is unable to break free once he’s had a taste of an Amazing D’Artigo Coochie, is around to ease her pain. Then Chase gets kidnapped after interminable sessions of soap opera moments from Delilah and friends, and that useless tosser has to be rescued. Delilah is given a cheesy “love can save us all” plot device and she picks Chase the pathetic serial adulterer over Zach who has until then selflessly done everything to please her, because it’s true love between Delilah and Chase, you see.
One good thing about this story is that Delilah has finally grown into her own instead of being an annoying girly twit. Unfortunately, her impressive show of self-discovery is crippled by some pointless “true love is the key” plot devices she’s stuck with. Then there is her and Chase, ugh. Ms Galenorn can’t even flesh out her secondary characters and give them actual roles in this story, and she certainly can’t make Chase sympathetic. Chase comes off a pathetic scumbag in and out, with Delilah actually catching him in the act of boinking his ex, mind you, so it’s not like this is a big misunderstanding or something. As a result, the resolution to the love triangle of those three characters makes my blood boil.
Let’s go back to the good things of this book. Another good thing is that the story is more focused on the urban fantasy plot than the soap opera love lives of Delilah (unlike the previous book), no doubt because Delilah only has two guys to deal with here while Camille had what seems like three hundred guys panting after her, and even better, one of the two guys gets kidnapped eventually. As a result, there is less “Who gets to shag the Magic Coochie?” nonsense here and a little bit more action. Unfortunately, the action leads back to Chase and… sigh. Also, the characters’ problems are often solved by convenient solutions that just happen to crop up shortly after a problem is introduced. I get this feeling that Ms Galenorn has long stopped caring about the plot and is now more interested in seeing who gets to shag the Magic Coochies of the Magical Wonderful Perfect D’Artigo Sisters.
I’m giving this series one more try, if only because so far Menolly has yet to participate in her sisters’ Magic Coochie Roulette game and her book is next. Still, if you ask me, this series has lost its way after Darkling and it remains to be seen whether it can rebound from all that messy Coochie Roulette soap opera, illegal use of secondary characters as cardboard fillers, and deus ex machina plotting.