Lynn Viehl’s “Shadowlight” starts a new series involving a group of people called “Kyndred”. The Kyndred appear to be humans with a special power (for example, one who can sense a person’s future with a simple touch, one who can physically transform herself into someone’s true love, one who can control the weather etc…). The majority (at least from what we gather in this book) live and work amongst the regular human population, but hide their abilities. A few have found each other on the Internet, and while they do not ever meet (for fear of being tracked down), they chat regularly in an attempt to support each other and possibly discover how they have become this way.
Early on the Takyn had established a private code and found random public access sites where they could use it to leave messages for each other; it was one of the many security measures they’d put in place to protect the group.
I will admit I found it slightly difficult to follow at first, and therefore I did find my attention waning somewhat. We are introduced to slew of independent characters, and just as I was becoming interested in one character’s story, the narration would suddenly switch to a new character (that *seemingly* has no connection to the one I just read about). We are also presented stories and characters from ancient historical events, intermixed with the present, again, that seemingly have no relation to one another. Eventually, the story comes together nicely, (and I was thrilled when I started recognizing characters and understanding their situations).
The main character (Jessa Bellamy) is kidnapped by a stranger named Gaven Matthias (a Kyndred that has been following her for some time, and has an extreme affection for her).
Of all the women who had come to him over the course of time, she would know what it was to be an exile.
It was as if she had been fashioned for him, shaped and tempered to fit him, the lock only he could open, the armor only he could wear.
In another time and place he could have simply taken her for himself. Despite all her precautions, she had few true defenses. She would struggle like the wild thing she was, but in time he would gentle her. She would come to know him, and he would show her the truth of what they could be to each other.
He insists it is to protect her from an organization called “GenHance” (that work on cures for genetic defects) that want to capture her (and all Kyndred) for experimentation. Jessa suspects, however, that he might be the crazy one. While Jessa does have special abilities, she has always kept them hidden, and remains in denial over his irrational claims. Jessa battles with her attraction to Matthias, and while she feels emotionally connected to him, she fears he may be part of a greater plot that differs from all he has warned her about.
“If I could give you back your life,” he said softly, “I would. Even if there were no place for me in it.”
She closed her eyes, enduring the rush of emotion his voice tugged from her heart. He sounded so lonely she almost turned around and ran to him.
“You can’t,” she said, her voice breaking on the last word as she left him. I can’t.
Two characters that I did love, (making a cameo in this book), are Lucan and Samantha, who are investigating a series of gruesome murders that appear to be caused by something paranormal. I realized that they are from the author’s “Darkyn” series, and while I have not read that series as of yet, I quickly connected to this couple. A tiny part of their love story, as portrayed in this book, captured me, and one scene in particular had me wishing I knew their history. While they had just had a couple’s quarrel, Samantha was on the phone confiding in her friend Alexandra. She realized she was drawn right back to Lucan, and, while talking to Alexandra, she stood, facing him;
““Kyn males usually go insane when they’re separated from their life companions.” Sam saw her lover’s eyes turn from misty gray to glittering chrome.
“Yeah, well, I don’t think Mike would have waited around for the strait jacket,” Alex said. “Sam, you know this works both ways. If you two split up, whatever happens to him probably will happen to you, too.”
She reached up and skimmed her fingertips across the grim lines of his mouth. “I can’t ever leave him, can I?”
“Do you want to?”
“The truth?” She could face it as well as him. “I wake up and I want him. I go to work and I think about him. I come home and I can’t wait to touch him.” She dropped her hand to his shoulder and took the last step so that she stood only an inch from him.
“I don’t think I can live without him anymore, Alex. Even if there was a way to get over this thing between us, I don’t want to.”
“Then there’s only one more question I have for you,” Alex said.
She closed her eyes as Lucan curled his hand around the back of her neck.
“Why are you still on the phone with me?”
Sam laughed helplessly as Lucan took the phone from her and spoke into it.
“Good evening, Alexandra. My sygkenis bids you good night and farewell.” He listened for a moment.
“Yes, I will tell her.” He switched off the phone and tossed it over his shoulder before he scooped Sam up in his arms.
“How much trouble am I in?” Sam asked as he carried her inside, mainly so she wouldn’t break down and cry all over him.
“None, unless you were lying to Alexandra.”
Lucan carried her into the elevator and from it to their suite. Only when they were inside and he had kicked the door shut did he set her down on her feet.
“I thought you weren’t pissed off at me,” she said carefully.
“Oh, I am that.” He tilted her face up to his. “You should know that if you ever try to leave me, I will hunt you down and drag you back to my stronghold.”
She shook her head. “You won’t have to.”
“So you say now. But understand what that means, my sygkenis.” His fingers tightened on her jaw. “Alex’s blood may run in your veins, but you belong to me, and I am not Michael Cyprien. I will not play the noble lover and sacrifice my love for you. You cannot bring someone like me out of the darkness and then change your mind about it. I am yours, Samantha. You have all of me. The beautiful mask and the monster beneath it. And make no mistake, I am a monster. One who will happily, joyfully tear apart anything that comes between us. As you yourself have already witnessed.”
Scary…but beautiful. I want more of them (and I will be procuring the entire Darkyn series soon – how did I miss it?)
Villains abound, and while I wish I could say more about the actual story itself, the author has presented it in a way to keep you guessing almost to the very end. To say much more could possibly divulge a spoiler. I will say it appears to be somewhat of a “superhero” series. A novel about abnormally gifted humans, some that have banded together for their cause, some that are clueless to the existence of others like them, that are thrown into a world they never knew existed.
So that’s it. It did get interesting, gory, scary, and I think it would make for a great movie! A little romance, and lots of danger (oh! and a great little twist in the end that made me smile!)