Pocket, $6.99, ISBN 978-1-4165-4228-5
Fantasy Romance, 2008
Kiss of a Dark Moon is the second book in Sharie Kohler’s The Moon Chasers series, but it can stand alone very well because the story has very few recurring characters for a new reader to keep track of.
Still, let’s talk a little about the setting first. In this one, lycans are usually the big bad monsters that actually prey on humans for sport and kill. We therefore have a bunch of Americans who band together to play hunters in an organization called the National Organization against Ancient and Evolving Lycanthropes or NODEAL. I don’t know where that “D” in the acronym came from, but given that this is a “men only please, no women allowed” group, I can only imagine that the guys came up with the name while being hopelessly drunk and in between complaining about nagging wives or girlfriends who didn’t understand them. We have the European counterpart of NODEAL, the European Federation of Lycan Agents with its more dignified acronym EFLA.
When the story opens, EFLA has pulled a hostile takeover on NODEAL, let’s just say, a step that culminates with the killing of NODEAL’s leader. This means that there is no one to protect our heroine Kit March anymore. Kit is a woman and she is also a hunter, secretly trained by Cooper the now-dead NODEAL leader, which makes her a rogue hunter under EFLA’s rules. And EFLA has only one way to deal with rogues: total elimination. First, they release Kit’s identity to the lycans so that every hirsute monster in the area will drop by and say hi to Kit. Then they send in their most efficient assassin, Rafe Santiago, to finish her off if those lycans can’t complete the deal.
You may be wondering why a human organization focused on wiping out lycans will expand so much energy on disposing someone who is doing a good job aiding their cause, but don’t worry, all will be revealed in good time. What is revealed early on, and therefore this is something that I can share with you, is the fact that Kit, like every other heroine in a story that features furry creatures on the loose, has super amazing ovaries that, with the right sperm, will create an even more super amazing baby.
Oh, and of course Kit and Rafe will hook up. Come on, it’s obvious.
This story reminds me of the first Underworld movie and not only because both feature lycanthropes called, well, lycans. Kiss of a Dark Moon also has a campy and surprisingly enjoyable story line, although this one is definitely tighter and more reasonable than the story in Underworld. Also, this one doesn’t have the hero turning into what seems like the love child of Lou Ferrigno’s The Incredible Hulk and Fabio, and that is a good thing.
And like Selene, Kit here is… well, she talks the talk but she only walks the walk halfway. Like Selene, Kit sure looks good running around waving her guns and all, and perhaps she can take down a lycan here and then, but if you exert a little more pressure on her, she crumples like the first little pig’s house of straw upon meeting the big bad wolf. Fortunately, Rafe is around to make sure that her magic ovaries don’t get violated by unworthy sperm. Still, Kit isn’t stupid – she’s just weak, like Selene, and she doesn’t always back up her big talk with appropriate action, and therefore she’s more of a disappointing character than an annoying one. Rafe is a nice guy, like that bloke in Underworld. What is his name again? The problem with Rafe is that I probably won’t remember his name shortly after I’m done with this story. He is a nice guy, but he is also on the bland and forgettable side.
The best thing about Kiss of a Dark Moon is how enjoyable I find this story to be. The final villain is obvious, there are some “What on earth?” moments in the story, and the romance is pretty bland, but Ms Kohler puts everything in her story together in such a way that I find myself hooked by the narrative. The pacing is fast, the momentum doesn’t flag, and, simply put, this is a very enjoyable and compelling read despite me having correctly guessed the “twist” about the identity of the final villain very early in the story. It’s all in the author’s technique – she sets out to tell a gripping and very compelling story, and I’m hooked from start to finish.
I can’t say I find the story particularly exceptional in any way, except in how this one doesn’t bring up the mate-mate-mate thing, but I have to say, I have a very good time reading it.