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If Angels Burn: A Novel of the Darkyn [Mass Market Paperback]

Lynn Viehl
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 5 2005 NOVEL OF THE DARKYN (Book 1)

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.


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Product Description

About the Author

Under her own name and pseudonyms, Lynn Viehl has published over twenty-five novels with ROC and NAL since her debut novel was published in January 2000. She and her family currently live in Florida.

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First Sentence
Got another letter from that Cyprien guy," Grace Cho said as she placed the office mail on Dr. Alexandra Keller's desk. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
By Lotusland Lady TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I read this several years ago and have reread it at least twice. It hooked me on the whole series. Both Michael and Alexandria are smart, interesting people. He truly is believable as the aristocratic, dominant leader of the North American Darkyn and she is a strong counterpoint to Michael as a consistently very smart, highly educated, tough black woman . She is convincing as a surgeon and as a woman who eventually falls in love with her patient, but never forgives him for changing her into a blood drinker. The supporting characters are also well defined, especially the ruthless "king" of all these ancient warriors who hunkers down in this castle in Ireland and pulls most of the strings from there. The only character who annoyed me was Alex's brother, mainly because he seemed whiny and hysterical, but that may be because religious martyrs are generally boring to hang with.
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3.0 out of 5 stars NOT REALLY A ROMANCE Feb. 15 2009
By Buggy TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Dr Alexandra Keller is a reconstructive surgeon, and a really fast surgeon at that. She has a booming practice and with her skills in demand she can afford to choose her cases. One patient in particular, Michael Cyprian won't take no for an answer and eventually has his people kidnap Alex, flying her to his mansion in New Orleans and forcing her to reconstruct his horribly disfigured face. Due to her compassionate nature Alex performs the surgery; its quite tricky though because once cut Michael heals immediately but she's up for the challenge. After the successful surgery Michael is beautiful once again but unfortunately for Alex he's also very hungry.

Filled with bloodlust Cyprian bites the good Doctor thus infecting her with the vampire virus. Alex then spends her time trying to figure out how to cure herself as she goes through some dark changes on her way to becoming a Darkyn. Lots of attention is also given to her brother John. A very tired priest who travels to Rome and undergoes special training with some not so nice monks known as the Breathen. Their mission is to hunt down and torture (extensively) the Darkyn, ultimately destroying the race. Bad news for Alex who is on her way to becoming one of them.

I will admit I struggled through the first half of If Angels Burn. The amount of French spoken and Darkyn language without a glossary was overwhelming and the considerable sub plots and characters confusing. It came together a bit for me in the end and I really liked Alexandra's spunkiness as well as the old fashioned speech and mannerisms of Micheal.

This was a dark ride but full of adventure and well written. However I wouldn't label it a romance and I definitly wouldn't call it erotic, it's far too dark and violent.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Completely HOOKED!! Jan. 11 2008
By bobby
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I must say, this is my first Viehl novel, and let me tell you, it won't be my last. This book was amazing. It had so many ups and downs, twists and turns, and it remained intriguing, what more can you ask for? And better yet, it's a series, so there is more where this one came from. I loved it. It was mysterious at times, then emotional, but always intense. I was flipping though pages faster than I could imagine, I finished it, then went back again and read it once more.

This book is about Michael Cyprien, he is a man in need, and Alexandra Keller is the only person that can help him. Alex is one of best reconstructive surgeons around, and Michael is in dire need of her services. She refuses his million dollar proposal, and he keeps trying to persuade her, and this is what leads to their incredible story. They are chased by the evil Brethren, hunted by the Darkyn, Michael's own kind, Michael almost kills her, and Alex is his only salvation. In thousands of years, Alex is the first woman to keep pace with Michael, and test his will and challenge him for everything he is worth, and together they find eternal love...

The Darkyn series is the new class of vampires for a new era. This tale has a unique spin on an old myth and it is incredibly refreshing. It's intriguing, and oddly believable. The characters are absolutely lovable, although they may seem a bit overbearing at times, but remember what time the men came from.

It's amazing. I'm hooked on them. I've read the first, and I'm going to go out and buy the rest. Honestly, the best I've read in a long time. The plots intriguing, the characters are amazing, the myth is refreshing, and the story is never ending, what more does anybody need in a book?

Pick it up and read it, I wholly recommend this book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.7 out of 5 stars  86 reviews
87 of 94 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not quite a romance, but great fantasy March 16 2006
By L. Wong - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Dr. Alexandra Keller is a renowned surgeon with the fastest hands of any known surgeon. She is kidnapped to New Orleans to operate on Michael Cyprien, a Darkyn (read: Vampire) who was tortured gruesomely by the Brethren, a secret sect of the Catholic Church whose sole purpose is to destroy the Darkyn. His injuries are to the point that he has no face. Yet his healing abilities are such that Alex can sculpt his face back to what it should be. Unfortunately, Dr. Keller is accidentally turned and, although human generally die if exposed to the rapture and thrall (author's terms for ... something), Alex survives. She comes to the attention of the Brethren, who is recruiting her brother, a Catholic priest, to their order.

As a fantasy, If Angels Burn works very well. It's multi-layered, damaged characters kept me intrigued and wanting more. The multiple storylines were fascinating, and I just waited for the story to unfold, to see what happened next. Viehl's writing style flowed well, although the constant use of specialized terms could be jarring at times (some aren't defined, others are). The bad guys were truly bad - resorting to hideously gruesome torture and rape on their victims. I felt like I was watching the Spanish Inquisition all over again, and indeed, Viehl's characters compare the torture to that.

As a romance.... Well. By the last 10 pages of the book, I was still looking for the romance. Alex, the heroine, spends a lot of time - most of the book - hating Michael and staying away. While this happens in romances, I got the sense that Alex really truly hated Michael. At one point, she refuses to come to New Orleans because, as she says, she swore she'd only return to kill him. There were a few misses in their sexual interludes, and, IMO, the culmination of the sexual tension was rather forced. I don't feel like Alex truly loved or wanted Michael, nor him her. She saw him as the cause of her problems, and he saw her as a possession, something he owned because he made her. Throwing out the words "I love you" in a moment of panic does not make the characters love each other.

OTOH, I did like the heroine, even if she appeared too violent for my tastes. She's intelligent, strong and independent - maybe too much. Not exactly a "soft" female. And definitely not a moron. She has her own mind, but she spent too much of the book being resentful and hateful. OTOH, if I had a hero like Michael Cyprien, who is domineering and controlling (because he can be), I'd be resentful, hateful, and I'd probably haul back and punch him a few times myself.

The book is described as erotic, but I didn't get much of that from this. Maybe if you're heavily into violent BDSM, it would work for you. A male character is raped while drugged, and also rapes in return. The heroine has to be tied down to have sex willingly, and a nurse is raped by another character. Oh yes, the heroine is also strangled and, from my point of view, mind-raped by the hero.

I'm torn about this book, truly. As Fantasy, it works for me. As Romance, it didn't. If the book had been marketed as Fantasy, it would have gotten 5 stars from me. I like it enough that I'll continue to read the series (and hope that I can find the romance in the next book!). But because I can't find a romance to save my life in this book, I'm giving it 3 stars
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Series gets better and better with each book -- keep reading! March 30 2010
By Shannon C. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
After reading the book, at first I thought it was more of a dark urban fantasy with some romance, rather than a paranormal romance as it's marketed. I didn't think there was enough relationship development between Michael and Alex.(I suspect that might be the reason for so many mixed reviews--the book missed its target market.) However, now that I've read more of the series, I learned that the author continues to develop Michael & Alex's relationship in future books--they are key characters throughout the series. The books get better and better as the series progresses. The first book was good, while others were great. So keep reading!

I enjoyed the well written, fast paced storyline and the world building around being a Darkyn. I liked the main characters and supporting cast. I would have liked more development of the relationship between Michael and Alexandra in book one, however was ok with their continued story in later books. Viehl does a great job creating many twists and turns in the plotlines as the series progresses, as well as introducing appealing new characters. I also really liked Samantha (a cop) and Lucan (a former vampire assassin turned master), who show up in the third Darkyn book and we meet them again in the first Kyndred book. The author also does a good job of creating scary bad guys.

Didn't do a plot synopsis, since that was already done well in a lot of other reviews. All in all, a good read. Here's the reading order according to Goodreads:

If Angels Burn (Darkyn, #1)
Private Demon (Darkyn, #2)
Dark Need (Darkyn, #3)
Night Lost (Darkyn, #4)
Evermore (Darkyn, #5)
Twilight Fall (Darkyn, #6)
Stay the Night (Darkyn, #7)
Shadowlight (Kyndred, #1 - spinoff series)

If you are on the hunt for more books like this, check out my list of paranormal romance favorites...
http://www.amazon.com/Paranormal-action-romance-must-reads/lm/R214ESW3HL12HM/ref=tag_lag_rb_munk_lmfull
68 of 86 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Disappointing Introduction To The Darkyn June 21 2005
By Jana L. Perskie - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Dr. Alexandra Keller, a brilliant reconstructive plastic surgeon, with a private practice in Chicago, is a dedicated doctor and frequently does pro bono work for the poor. Her extremely busy schedule barely allows time for a social life. When Alexandra receives a mysterious offer to perform extensive reconstructive surgery on an unknown patient in New Orleans for a $4 million dollar fee, she smells something fishy. She is told that the prospective patient, one M. Cyprien, is unable to travel and that she will only be required to spend a few days in Louisiana. Obviously, her persistent refusals are ignored, as are her professional commitments. M. Cyprien arranges to have her kidnapped and forcefully brought to his mansion, La Fontaine, in the heart of the New Orleans' Garden District.

After recovering from a knock-out dose of ether, a lengthy sleep, nausea and a terrible headache, Alexandra is taken to meet Michael Cyprien, a man without a face - literally. Obviously, he had been horribly injured. Her job would be to construct an entire face, and the underlying structure, from scratch, using just an old portrait to go by. Cyprien presents an unusual challenge as he has a strange disease which causes him to heal almost immediately after any cut or incision is made on his flesh. The primary reason he insisted on Dr. Keller performing the surgery, is because an article written about her in Time Magazine called her the "fastest scalpel in the world." She is able to perform accurate surgical procedures very quickly. And a fast scalpel is just what M. Cyprien needs.

Fortunately for Cyprien, the miraculous operation succeeds with almost perfect results. Unfortunately for Dr. Alexandra Keller she is given more than money in payment for her services and winds up back in Chicago - in the hospital with almost all the blood drained from her body. Her reclusive former patient is a member of an immortal species called the Darkyn. They have been ruthlessly hunted and destroyed, since they began rising from the dead in the 14th century, by a Vatican-sponsored order of soldier monks dedicated to their annihilation. Alexandra's brother, a priest, has just been recruited by this group of holy Brethren.

I am a major fan of good vampire fiction. Laurell Hamilton's Anita Blake series is my absolute favorite. I also really enjoy Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire series, Poppy Brite's novels, as well as many of Anne Rice's books. Therefore, when a friend recommended Lynn Viehl's "If Angels Burn: A Novel of the Darkyn," I couldn't wait to pick the book up. I am extremely disappointed. The characters are not well developed at all, not are they compelling. There is little chemistry between Alexandra and Michael. I cannot understand why not, for the life of me. All the components are there, except the sizzle. And I am shocked that any author would have a professional, a doctor and romantic protagonist say, "Bite my a*s!" How terribly unsexy!!

There are many possibilities for this series to improve with future novels. The author's premise is a good one. I like the attempt at plot complexity - but please not at the expense of character complexity. I will rate this as average - barely, because it is not boring and does have the potential to be much more. I keep my fingers crossed and look forward to the author's next effort, due out in the autumn, I believe.

JANA
29 of 36 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars If Angels Burn March 26 2005
By AK - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Even though four million dollars would go a long way in her charitable medical practice, Dr. Alexandra Keller (Alex), turns it down; the reclusive millionaire who repeatedly ups his offers of recompense for her services sets off her internal alarms. Since Michael Cyprien is not used to taking "no" for an answer, he doesn't, having her kidnapped and brought to him to perform an impossible, for multiple reasons surgery. Then, when she has saved his life, he takes hers. Oh, he does not exactly kill her, but turns her into what he is, a Darkynn, a vampire. Instantly, she becomes her priestly brother's enemy, though John Keller does not know this immediately. The young minister, long tortured by his own id, has recently been recruited into the service of a secret Catholic order, to fight what his sister has become. Both siblings are now unwilling participants in an ancient war against the forces of a Hell only one of them believes in.

** In saying this is a very dark book, I am not being deliberately ironic or making a bad pun. The tone is dark, gritty, and for the most part, hopeless. Alex's noble intentions and spunk are negated by the bitterness that spreads through her life. Whatever intrigue this book might hold is killed by its total lack of joy and overly gritty descriptions of things that for the most part do not need to be described. **
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars EXCITING ADVENTURE May 17 2005
By Elaine C McTyer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Alexandra Keller is a plastic surgeon in Chicago. She has been profiled in Time magazine as the fastest scapel in the operating room. Alienated from her brother who is a priest she works many jobs, pro bono, because she and her brother were adopted into a wealthy family. But she still remembers not having enough to eat and no place to stay.

Michael Cyprian is a Darkyn, a member of a group of people who contracted a disease in the Dark ages. They think they are cursed and so does a group that works within the church, called the Brethren. Michael has been tortured and his face has been destroyed. Due to the swiftness of his healing he needs a doctor who is fast enough to fix his face before it heals itself.

Michael finally kidnaps Alex and brings her to New ORleans where she carves him a new face. Michael unknowingly attacks Alex but somehow manages to stop drinking her blood long enough to save her life. However he expects her to be mad and mindless if she lives, the virus usually kills those infected humans.

Alex does not die and she does not come under Michael's domination. When she finds herself alive and ill with their sickness she locks herself in her lab and finds out many things that the Darkyn do not know. Michael thinking she has become Darkyn brings her back to his home and she explains that they are not cursed they have a disease. Several of the Darkyn close to Michael have been tortured by the Brethren and Michael needs her to help him save them.

Somewhat like the Dark books by christine Feehan, but with a different slant on the cause of their need for blood but still an entertaining read.
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