Born of Defiance (The League #9)

Not true. I know obscene gestures in fourteen languages.

Born of Defiance
Sherrilyn Kenyon
The League, book nine
ebook, 528 pages
Published May 12th 2015 by St. Martin's Press
ISBN 9781466840966

Born an Outcast, Talyn Batur has spent the whole of his life fighting against the prejudice of his people. An Andarion without a father is not something anyone wants to be.

But when his companion's brother draws him into a plot against the Andarion crown, he finds himself torn between the loyalty to their planetary government that his mother has beaten into him and his own beliefs of justice and right.

Now, he must decide for himself to remain a pawn of their government or to defy everything and everyone he's ever known to stand up to tyranny. It's a gamble that will either save his life or end it. And when old enemies align with new ones, it's more than just his own life at risk. And more than just his homeworld that will end should he fail...

The bastard son of an exile (that is Fain), Talyn Batur is all but shunned by his culture and people. His only value and worth is in serving in the military -and even that's a joke. Ever the dutiful and obedient soldier, the bigotry of his betters keep Talyn from the promotions rightly due to him. To earn a higher rank, Talyn was forced into cage fighting (and I use the term as the closest equivalent we have) where he is undefeated and notorious among his peers. But with a paternal ancestry denied  him, Talyn has no hope of ever securing a wife and family of his own. In fact, it's downright illegal for him to even attempt it.

What he can do, what he does, is contract for female companionship wherein he pays for the boarding, living expenses, and schooling of a female in trade for her company, in bed and out. It's the only 'choice' he has, and is grateful the company took his business at all. Unfortunately, they gutted his accounts for the privilege.

Felicia is the bastard daughter of a Companion. But, unlike, Talyn, she has her father's paternal claiming and is therefore worthy enough, in the eyes of their people, to one day marry and have children. She chooses, though, to become a Companion, temporarily, in order to secure the schooling and funds to excel in the medical field. Her demands are high, and not many seek to honor the contract she offers. Until Talyn.

When I began reading this book... 1) I hadn't realized it was a freaking prequel to the entire series that meets up near the end with book one. Oh, the disappointment! The urge to re-read Syn's book grew tenfold.

And 2) In a nutshell, it's about a cage fighter contracting for an escort. That, in and of itself, would have had me tossing it aside had it been any other series, with any other author. But here, with the League, and with Kenyon, such would be downright blasphemy against the book gods. And let me tell you, the nutshell is a deceiver because it is so much more than the blurb could ever contain!

As Felicia falls for Talyn, in all of three point seven seconds, she brings him into a world of blurred lines of loyalty wherein her half-brother, Lorens, the second in charge of the Andarian armada is in cohorts with many others to bring down the royal family. That family currently being led by Nykyrian's bitch of a grandmother who conspired to see him killed.

BTW, I loved Lorens!

As the story unfolds in what was the mysterious background of book one, the two installments merge in the end as Nykyrian takes his place as the royal heir and marries his pregnant love, Kiara.

There isn't much substance before Tayn and Felicia fall in love. He's sweet and kind. She's.... there, and doesn't look at him like he's a diseased leech. Was the telling of Talyn's story necessary? No. Not really. Will it help the reader appreciate Fain?  Likely.  (His book is next!)  Does it give better insight into this intricate world of Kenyon's? Definitely so.

I would imagine this would have fit better as book three, perhaps. But the fiasco that is the order of this series is better explained by the author and I'm not about to argue semantics.

4 out of 5 stars.

Previously in FIRST GENERATION of the series:

Books 3 & 4 carry second generation characters.

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