Review: Vengeance Born by Kylie Griffin

Posted February 16, 2012 by Carmel in / 4 Comments

Review: Vengeance Born by Kylie Griffin cover

Title: Vengeance Born
Series: The Light Blade #1
Author: Kylie Griffin
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group
Format: Paperback, 336 pages.
Published: February 7, 2012
My Copy: review copy from Penguin Canada
Rating:Paw RatingPaw RatingPaw RatingPaw Rating

There is no mercy in the demon realm. No escape. In this place of desperation and conflict, anyone who is not pure bred is virtually powerless. Until an unlikely champion is born…

Annika, half-blood daughter of the Na’Reish King, longs for more than her tormented life among her father’s people. Conceived in hatred and bred as a tool of retribution, she’s gifted with a special talent that can heal as well as destroy…

With the Na’Reish vastly outnumbering them, Kalan, a Light Blade warrior, knows the future of humankind depends on him alone. Incursions into human territory and raids for blood-slaves by the Na’Reish Horde have increased. As Chosen-leader, he faces the task of stopping the demons-and convincing the Council of aging Light Blade warriors that change is necessary for survival.

When Annika learns Kalan is a prisoner in her father’s dungeon, her dream of escape seems within reach. She agrees to free him in exchange for his protection once they reach human territory. Now, marked for death for helping him, Annika must learn to trust Kalan as they face not only the perilous journey to the border but enemies within the Council-and discover a shocking truth that could throw the human race into civil war…

Vengeance Born is a moving tale about trust, overcoming prejudices and how the actions of a single person can change the world. Annika’s story made me teary eyed on more than one occasion. Her strength knows no limits and will leave you in awe but she’s also incredibly vulnerable because of her upbringing. The sharp contrasts between these two aspects of her personality made this half-blood out to be a remarkably complex character that I immensely enjoyed getting to know. The same can be said for Kalan, although theirs pasts and circumstances are very different, his strong leadership skills and kind heart make him bigger than life and ultimately worthy of Annika’s love. It’s hard not to fall into tired romantic clichés when writing a book about “boy meets girl” but Kylie Griffin managed to keep this story fresh and interesting.

I liked the pacing of the plot line. A good part of this book is about Kalan and Annika running for their lives so, needless to say, the action is plentiful. Even though the daughter of the Na’Reish King is first and foremost a healer she still packs one hell of a punch when push comes to shove. Like all travelers, Annika and Kalan need to periodically stop for rest during their flight which allows them and us readers to learn more about their backgrounds. They start off as enemies and trust doesn’t come easily but when they’re forced to rely on each other to survive the relationship can’t help but change. I am happy that Griffin took pretty much the entire book to build the connection between Annika and Kalan. Had they been able to overcome their prejudices and fall in love by the midway point I would have questioned the credibility of the story.

I was a little disappointed by how little Kylie explores the Na’Reish, Na’Chi and Light Blades’ heritage and politics. There are obvious differences between the various races but she doesn’t really go into too much detail. I sort of pieced together the main characteristics of the half-bloods through Annika but the rest pretty much remain a mystery. Too bad, because I enjoyed what snippets were included and would have loved to have learned more about the Light Blade universe. Maybe Alliance Forged will succeed a bit better in this area.

Kalan surprised me on numerous occasions in Vengeance Born; he’s not your typical leader. Instead of ruling with an iron fist he actually takes the time to listen to others’ suggestions and, believe it or not, learns from his mistakes. Things between him and Annika would have never worked otherwise. As I mentioned earlier, Annika’s story is a sad one but instead of throwing in the towel she continues to fight and to hope. Put in her shoes, I’d want many things with revenge probably being at the top of that list. She doesn’t lash out in anger though; instead she just wants to be accepted and lead as close to a normal life as possible. This doesn’t seem like a lot but in a world where the Na’Reish exist it’s next to impossible.

Vengeance Born has a nice balance of action and romance but it is at its core a love story. Depending on what your genre of choice is, this book may or may not be for you. I for one enjoyed it and the big reveal made at the ending helped to further stoke the flame. Alliance Forged is due out in July and I’ll be among one of the first in line to read it.

Carmel Signature

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I review Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance books with a focus all things werewolf. Based out of Ottawa, Canada

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Owner, designer and main blogger behind Rabid Reads. Avid book reader, snowboard bunny, video gamer and Supernatural fan. I love all things paranormal, werewolves especially. Oh, and I’m Canadian, eh!

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