Alexandra Keller is Chicago’s most brilliant reconstructive surgeon. Michael Cyprien is New Orleans’ most reclusive millionaire-and in desperate need of Dr. Keller’s skills. In the heart of the Garden District, Alex encounters the extraordinary Cyprien, uncovering a love Alex is willing to embrace, even if she must sacrifice her heart and soul to do so.
I have to admit, I’d not heard of this author before. I have no idea how I missed her. I saw a promotional post on her latest release Nightborn (Lords of the Darkyn) spinoff the Darkyn series, and it sounded so good! But because I am really particular about reading series in order, I picked this first book in the series up immediately. Once I started If Angels Burnand updated goodreads status to Twitter, everyone was like ARE YOU JUST NOW READING THIS? Ack! But I quickly discovered the source of their passionate disbelief… From the very first chapter, I KNEW this would end up being a favorite series for me. I kept thinking to myself, “this is sooo my kinda book!” Yes, it was released in 2005, but it’s new-to-me and I loved it so much that I simply had to review it, in case there are others who have missed this awesomely DARK Fantasy-Kinda PNR series! Dr. Alexandra Keller has built herself a life very much based in facts, and science. She is a brilliant reconstructive surgeon with a private practice all her own. She is an abrasive yet charismatic heroine and I was immediately drawn to her. In contrast, her brother has gone the other direction, completely embracing his faith in the Catholic Church, all the way to seeking priesthood. Abandoned at a young age, John and Alexandra wandered in and out of foster care, before the church arranged their adoption by a foster couple. That very couple died years later in a car crash, leaving them once again homeless. Suffice it to say, life has not been easy for either sibling. The dynamic of their relationship and the very painful pasts for them both, along with the separate but intertwined paths they continue take are fascinating. The dichotomy between the heroine’s path and her brother’s very religious path is fantastic. Here is a conversation between the two of them that gives you an idea of what very different worlds they have found themselves in:
“That’s a nice confession, Johnny, but it’s not my job to listen to it. Remember, I’m the doctor. You’re the priest. If I fuck up, you come in and wave your beads over them before they go see your God.” She shrugged. “That’s as involved as we get from here on out.” Now his hands were fists. “He’s your God, too.” “I stopped believing in God after the first time I treated a toddler with infected cigarette burns. He’s all yours, Father.” The elevator opened and she strode into it.
Hostile, no? The hero in this story is Michael Cyprien, his face is a big ol mess of horrifying mutilation and he keeps sending requests to Alexandra to help him in his home. He offers her $4 Million to come to his home in New Orleans and fix his face, but she is like “no-uh freak, leave me alone”. So he then proceeds to have her kidnapped and brings her to New Orleans to help him anyway. It’s not really love at first sight *snickers* and this isn’t REALLY a Romance story. We discover that Time did a front-page story on her having thee fastest hands in the industry, and he needs someone to be able to work on his face very very quickly, because of his healing rate as a Darkyn. She truly is the only one that can fix his face. From there, the story really launches and Alexandra finds herself in the middle of a Fantasy world she never knew existed… But her brother knew it did. And doesn’t THAT make for an interesting story! This is a verrrry complex story, and a very complex story told well. And, just to be clear, there are not really angels (which you might infer from the title). This is a vampire novel, as the Darkyns are vampires. And if you’re like me and you’ve read a lotttttt of UF and PNR Vampire stories – let me tell you right now, I found the vamp mythology and origin story very unique! It is very well tied-in with religion, but peripherally, and the Knights of the Templar play in to the story, which for me made it extra interesting to follow. I would definitely say that even though this is categorized as Paranormal Romance and is not told in first-person point of view, it definitely leans more towards Urban Fantasy in that there is a romance but it falls secondary to the plot. I totally dug it, but if you’re looking for a warm and fuzzy romance, this ain’t it. These are very damaged and tortured characters with multi-layered stories and copious amounts of cruelty by the hands of the villains. I loved every second of it. There is some sexual tension and erotic pay-off, though, you just have to work for it. I came away adoring Alexandra and Michael and was so relieved to find out that they play key roles in all the future books of the series! While this is a review of the first book in the series, I’m up to Book 4 in the Darkyn series now, because I couldn’t put the books down. I can confirm that the Darkyn novels do get better and better! Even when we were trying to move out of our house, I kept running to hide in another room to get 10 more pages read. 😛 Here is the full series list, I can’t wait to keep reading it!
From author: “For the second time in my career I’ve revived a series that my publisher killed but that the readers wanted me to keep writing. I have three new Darkyn novels under contract, and if these do well, I can certainly write more after this trilogy concludes. Since this has been my bestselling series to date, and readers have been very vocal about wanting more books, I think I have a fairly decent shot.