Though the details are a bit fuzzy for me, I do remember Rafe (Xander Raphael Malebranche) being tricked by one of Opus Nostrum's agents in the previous installment. He more than felt bad for what he conceived to be a HUGE f*kup on his part. He put A LOT of people in danger including his own parents - Dante and Tess. It's not something he can easily put aside which is why he gladly agreed to become undercover to find more information about Opus Nostrum after being "kicked" from The Order for his actions. Barely no one knows about his undercover work which makes it hard on him, seeing his friends pulling away from him. Yeah he was helping that happen on his end, yet it still hurts. His first group to be embedded in is Cruz's - exactly where he finds "Bricks". She isn't really part of the gang, but she works for Cruz and she is VERY reluctant to accept a Breed as an accomplice. It doesn't take him long to realize why THAT is.. She is actually Breed as well - a daywalker and she has her own reasons for playing human in Cruz's gang.
Devony Winters ("Bricks"), like Rafe, has her own reasons for wanting to take revenge on Opus Nostrum, but unlike Rafe she doesn't have the Order behind her, but she has something ever better - her father's work. Both her parents - Ronald and Camilla, as well as her older brother Harrison have worked for JUSTIS for years before Opus Nostrum's attack in London which cost all of their lives. She is now determined to use her father's data to uncover Opus Nostrum for herself. It won't be easy, but she is now alone in the world and so there is nothing more for her. She always wanted to be a part of JUSTIS but her parents were adamant about her staying in Boston studying music. Seeing her father's work she realizes he might have had different reasons than she assumed considering all the information he left for her to find...
Finding Rafe makes Devony realize just how much she doesn't want to be alone. Not in this and not in life and so she clings to a partnership with him though he seems a bit reluctant at first. What they do agree on is guarding each other's back and she does exactly that when she is excluded from a mission and she realizes something is amiss. In that instance Devony more than just rescues Rafe she forms a connection neither of them can break from. But though Rafe also wants - wishes - for more from Devony he knows once Devony realizes he has been lying to her all this time, taking the data her father collected to The Order, things would forever change.. But he can't stay away from her now. Especially when she is in REAL danger and her realizes taking her to The Order is his only option.
Things get out of hand there when Devony learns the whole truth.. But there is more truth to be found once she takes action herself. She might have been rough and harsh with Rafe but I don't think any other action from her would have felt realistic, she might know he loves her, she might love him as well, but anyone would need time to at least digest everything.
I liked Devony from the start. She is a bad-a$$ for sure and she has the coolest power of siphoning someone else's ability. She took down two MAJOR powerful characters - I was impressed! I think her need for someone else in the world might have brought her too close too fast to Rafe but lucky for her (AND Rafe) it was the right decision in the end. I was a bit annoyed with Rafe at the beginning, he was quite high-handed with her. Always considering bringing her to The Order for protection - taking her out of the game (for her own safety) and while it could be seen as noble, it was also arrogant of him. She is a capable woman, she is strong and smart and though she doesn't have warrior skills she can still take care of herself. Removing her from the mission, especially while taking HER information was more than a betrayal of trust in my eyes. I was seething with anger whenever he thought of doing just that. Lucky for Rafe though he didn't do the right thing by omitting his association to The Order, in the end he realizes how crucial Devony is to the mission, but mostly to him.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! I just finished reading Lara's early work (as Tina St. John) and though I had my issues with her last PNR series (written 20 years ago!) I realize now how much she changes and how much I appreciate her writing. This book was action packed and intriguing right from the start and yet every step of the way our couple was getting closer and closer together finding it impossible to keep their distance especially when they should. Yeah, there's a bit of "insta-love" considering the Vampire element and how these Breed members find their HEA, but considering their current situation, what they went through in life, I could see them becoming a couple just on the basis of that. I couldn't have asked for more, but if I can, I'll ask for the next installment to come sooner rather than later! (I hope it's going to be of Micah - Tegan and Elise's son! I feel like we got our hint on that) and I'm not forgetting the Hunter Legacy series has a new book to be published soon (which was already postponed twice). In two words - Can't Wait!
30-31 Oct 2019
The son of Dante Malebranche and Tess Culver (Book 2: Kiss of Crimson), in the previous installment he was seduced by an agent of Opus Nostrum, leaving him feeling like a failure when her actions almost kills the people he cares most about. Together with Lucan and Sterling they decide to "remove him" from the Order for a covert op of finding more information on Opus Nostrum. On his mission he finds Cruz and his gang which somewhat includes the elusive "Bricks". At first he is fooled (like the gang) thinking she is a human, but it doesn't take him long to realize she is a "daywalker". When he follows her back home he gets the whole story of her own vendetta against Opus Nostrum who has takes all of her family in an explosion. Rafe had enough of people manipulating him, he would "help" Devony, sure, because it help his own cause but he is constantly conflicted if he should just hand her over to The Order or stay by her side and work together as a team. Things naturally get out of hand when they fall for one another, especially after Devony saves his life by giving him her blood.. From there letting her go becomes impossible, and yet things get a bit out of hand when Devony realizes he betrayed her to the Order. Her actions then are what brings her and the Order a big clue into Opus Nostrum.
Hair: Dark honey blonde Eyes: Aquamarine
Unique Ability: Healing like his mother Tess.
Devony is a daywalker, unlike her other members of her family who works for JUSTIS, she studies music in Boston. That's what her parents wanted and yet when her parents - Roland and Camilla as well as her older brother Harrison is killed in an explosion of Opus Nostrum's making she is determined to take down the organization with the information her father left in the safe in their home in Boston. After a few months of working for different group she finds Cruz and his gang. They aren't close enough but they will do. Naturally they know her as a human, an expert in picking locks which works great for their mostly stealing jobs for Cruz's boss (and the one Devony believes is working closely with Opus Nostrum). When Rafe appears she fears he is going to blow her cover and so she is more than suspicious but when she realizes he has his own reasons to be on the same path as hers she offers a partnership and even though Rafe seems reluctant at least they agree to cover each other's back. Devony does exactly that hen she rescues Rafe from a mission sh wasn't even assigned to by Cruz and from there things get VERY complicated as they are both wanted by Opus Nostrum. Rafe does his best to shield her by bringing her to the Order but that's where she realizes he has been lying to her this whole time, taking her father's data to them. Heart broken she leaves to the only home left standing she has - the one Her parents and brother lived in London. She couldn't be more surprised with what she finds there. Bu it's another clue for Opus Nostrum and it's also a promise of a REAL partnership with Rafe. She takes it.
Hair: Brown Eyes: bourbon
Breedmate Mark: right shoulder blade
Unique Ability: Siphon someone else ability for a few minutes (left weakened)
The Order mainly protect the general population (vampire AND humans) from rouge vampires. Vampires whose crave for blood have reached a point of no return meaning they can no longer control themselves and since there is nothing to be done about this situation these rouges vampires have to be put down. Besides obvious risk to the human population, rouges / rabid vampires also are a treat in the sense that vampires live in secret groups (called Darkhavens) there they can live their separate lives without probing human eyes. Naturally they are a part of the general population but the way they live, in a sort of community, helps them maintain their traditions and way of living.
In the recent years, the Order became infamous. There is no respect for the members of the Order and moreover they are treated like "barbarians", the vampire population doesn't believe that they are even needed but boy oh boy they are wrong.. dark days are ahead..
In the beginning, years and years ago, a group of highly strong vampires crushed on Earth. They are the base of the vampire population nowadays. As is seems there are no female vampires, only males. The females that can reproduce with vampires are called "breedmates" and they can be distinguished by a certain mark (crescent moon with a drop) that each breedmate has somewhere on her body. Each breedmate also has a special (inhuman) ability which she transfers to her vampire son. Thus every vampire has a special ability passed to him from his human mother. Breedmates need to drink blood in order to enhance their special ability and sometimes so they can control it and it won't take over her life. It takes time until the ancestry of the breedmates is explained, it adds another layer to the story and brings the Order with another adversary they weren't expecting.
Each book has it's separate story in which each warrior finds himself a breedmate / compatible mate. As you can guess, the Order isn't notorious for no reason.. most of the warriors are somehow "damaged", preferring to live a life in the Order rather than build a life of their own. Finding their mate makes them deal with their past and free themselves from its bindings. Beside the personal plot line there is also a bigger plot line about the main villain progressing from the first book until the 10th. From the 11th book (till the final 18th installment) there is a very significant change following a progression in 20 years changing the whole setting of the series with different villains as well as introducing new characters to the series - some the sons and daughters from the first 10 installments and of course we get to meet the older version of the parents as well.
The main issue I had with the series in the beginning was the similarities between it and the general setting of the Black Dagger Brotherhood by J.R. Ward. It only feels this way at the first, it takes a TOTALLY different direction plot-wise and character-wise which after reading enough of the two series I gotta say I MUCH prefer this one (I actually abandoned that one a while back..).
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED !!!
When the whiffs of the end of this beloved series started to get suffocating Lara announced a Spin-Off called "Hunter Legacy". The series will consist of stand-alone novels of the "Last Boys" - the Gen One Hunters who were bred as weapons of war by Dragos and were freed by The Order round the middle of the series.
0.5 A Touch of Midnight [Gideon & Savannah] (published 15 July 2013) ★★★★★
1. Kiss of Midnight [Lucan & Gabrielle] (published 1 May 2007) ★★★★
2. Kiss of Crimson [Dante & Tess] (published 29 May 2007) ★★★★★
3. Midnight Awakening [Tegan & Elise] (published 27 November 2007) ★★★★★
4. Midnight Rising [Rio & Dylan] (published 25 March 2008) ★★★★★
5. Veil of Midnight [Niko & Renata] (published 30 December 2008) ★★★★
7. Shades of Midnight [Cade & Alex] (published 29 December 2009) ★★★★
8. Taken By Midnight [Brock & Jenna] (published 28 September 2010) ★★★★★
9. Deeper than Midnight [Hunter & Corrine] (published 28 June 2011) ★★★★★
9.5 A Taste of Midnight [Danika & Malcolm] (published 5 December 2011) ★★★★★
10. Darker after Midnight [Chase & Tavia] (published 24 January 2012) ★★★½
--- The Midnight Breed Series Companion (Volume #1) (published 26 June 2013) ★★★★★
11.5. Marked By Midnight [Mathias Rowan & Nova] (published 30 June 2014) ★★★★
12. Crave the Night [Nathan & Jordana] (published 5 August 2014) ★★★★★
12.5. Tempted by Midnight [Lazaro & Melena] (1001 Dark Nights #10) (published 14 October 2014) ★★★★★
13. Bound to Darkness [Carys & Rune] (published 30 July 2015) ★★★★
13.5 Stroke of Midnight [Jehan & Seraphina] (1001 Dark Nights #26) (published 13 October 2015) ★★★★★
14. Defy the Dawn [Zael & Brynne] (published 1 June 2016) ★★★★★
14.5 Midnight Untamed [Ettore & Bella] (1001 Dark Nights #47) (published 11 October 2016) ★★★★
14.6 Midnight Unbound [Scythe & Chiara] (published 14 March 2017) ★★★★½
14.7 Midnight Unleashed [Trygg & Tamisia] (1001 Dark Nights #69) (published 10 October 2017) ★★★½
15. Claimed in Shadows [Aric Chase & Kaya Laurent] (published 23 January 2018) ★★★
16. Break the Day [Xander Raphael "Rafe" Malebranche & Devony Winters] (published 30 July 2019) ★★★★½
17. Fall of Night [Micah & Phaedra] (published 31 January 2021)) ★★★★½
18. King of Midnight [Darion Thorne & Selene the Atlantean Queen] (to be Published 30 September 2021)