Vengeance born



"Peopled with intriguing characters, the world of Vengeance Born is unique and filled with compelling mystery. I'm looking forward to seeing where Kylie Griffin takes that world next."Nalini Singh, NYTimes best-selling author

“Vengeance Born is a great debut novel; Kylie Griffin has me hooked. This story grabbed my attention and raced down several dangerous, intense, enthralling paths, making it very hard to put down.

The tale of Annika and Kalan is set in a well thought out, fascinating world filled with danger, intrigue, betrayal, passion, revulsion, tenderness--Griffin has given her readers a whole gamut of emotions to feel, and leaves her readers with the hope for more stories set in this compelling universe.

It's not only good on the first read, it's still good on the second; this is definitely one for my keeper shelves.”Jean Johnson, author of The Sons of Destiny series

"Kylie Griffin builds a compelling and fascinating world that pulled me right in!"Joss Ware, author of The Envy Chronicles

“In Vengeance Born, Kylie Griffin spins an intriguing story of two races who are mortal enemies, and the half-breeds that are despised by both who must transform their cultures.  The book has solid world building, sympathetic characters and a twisty story line.  I'm looking forward to the next in the Light Blade series.”  – Robin D. Owens, RITA award winning author

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY (Dec.2011): In Griffin’s well-drawn fantasy world, humans are oppressed and enslaved by the demonic Na’Reish. Annika is a Na’Chi, the result of cross-breeding between the races. She possesses powerful healing powers and her father, Na’Rei Savyr, is leader of the Na’Reish, but she’s nonetheless reviled, considered an abomination. When she rescues Kalan Tyn, leader of the human’s Blade Council, and asks his assistance in freeing the Na’Chi from the Na’Reish, the wheels of romance are deftly set in motion. A complex plot involving the Na’Chi freedom struggles keeps the taut and intricate narrative moving as Annika and Kalan slowly develop their emotional connection. Readers will look forward to future installments in a potentially long-running series.

RT BOOK REVIEWS (Feb.2012 - 4 stars): Enter a bold new series, the Light Blade, where a longstanding war between the demon and human realms rages. Promising new talent Griffin’s characters face danger and hidden secrets that threaten to change the world as they know it. A terrific debut!

NIGHT OWL REVIEWS (TOP PICK - 5 Stars): I am completely captivated by this fantastical world Kylie Griffin has created. It is a mystical adventure with demons, Vorcs, and prejudiced humans to contend with. The journey is unpredictable, intense, and suspense filled with each scene easily realized. Add to that the strength, compassion, and underlying vulnerability and innocence of Griffin’s two leading characters and this story is an unstoppable read. Annika and Kalan's stories are revealed in parts throughout, so connections can be made with each of them although I'll warn that Annika's story is particularly grabbing. The pacing is perfectly set to deliver maximum impact on both character development and world-building. In short, I believe in the characters and I believe in their story.

I am so impressed by Kylie Griffin’s imagination and writing talents and I can’t wait to dive into the next Light Blade journey! There are plenty of plot twists and characters with stories yet to be told, so it seems that the ending of this story is actually just the beginning. Fantasy and romance fans will be pleased with this new series!

HEART TO HEART - BARNES & NOBLE ROMANCE BLOG: It’s wonderful to find a new voice in romance, and author Kylie Griffin has a great voice. Her new paranormal/fantasy romance, Vengeance Born, is the start of an exciting new series. With a terrific mythology, clever world building and fully developed characters, this one has all the makings of a series that will become an addiction.

Ms. Griffin has a smooth writing style and rhythm which immediately draws you into the fantastical world she has created; a world where demons and humans have been at war for over five hundred years. These demons are proud and strong but cruel and brutal warriors. Their lives are based on a caste system where only the strongest survive, and that means pure blood lines. Being a half-blood (half human/ half demon) is tantamount to sacrilege. Our heroine Annika is a half-blood but to make matters worse she’s also the daughter of the demon leader.

Annika’s life has not been easy, in fact quite the opposite. Her intelligence, strength and innate goodness coupled with her belief that somehow, someway, there is a better life gives her the courage to continue. In many ways Annika reminds me of the character Ayla in the much beloved The Clan of the Cave Bear (Earth's Children #1) series. Annika has been raised by people who treat her with disdain and contempt and so every day she’s had to push herself harder, learn more, be better; all the while believing she could never be as good as she needs to be. In striving to be better she quietly but steadily develops into a woman who is both brilliant yet humble. Like Ayla, she has a mother figure that cares for her and teachers her the ways of humans. Annika’s dream is to find her birth mother’s people, and live among them; but that too is a frightening prospect.

Given the profound hatred between humans and demons being a half-blood is never a good thing; you are hated and mistrusted by both sides. When Kalan, a Light Blade warrior, is captured by the demons Annika realizes that this may be her only hope of escaping the demon fortress. She makes a bargain with the prisoner; she will help him escape but only if he promises his protection once they reach human territory.

So begins the journey of Kalan and Annika, a relationship forged in mutual need but distrust. All his life Kalan has been taught to hate demons, his main purpose in life is to wage war against them in order to save the human race. Having to rely on Annika is one of the hardest things this warrior has ever had to do. During their perilous escape to freedom they slowly learn more about each other, but prejudices learned at birth are hard to ignore. Overcoming obstacles and hardships and having to rely on one another for their lives is the perfect circumstance for trust and even friendship to begin.

The romance between Annika and Kalan is beautifully written and is the perfect voyage of tentative steps from ignorance to doubt, and from doubt to an uneasy alliance. From there they move on to working together for a common goal and then to friendship and finally love.

While Vengeance Born is primarily about the romance between Kalan and Annika, the other driving force behind this book is prejudice. Ms. Griffin gives us a ring side seat to the kind of long standing ignorance that can lead to prejudice causing misunderstanding and fear towards anyone who is different. Learning to look beyond what you are taught and to see a person for who they really are is not an easy thing to do. Throughout this book each character has to face head on their long standing beliefs and grapple with new truths.

Vengeance Born is the beginning of a new series with an exciting world on the brink of change populated by characters that have to forge a new way of thinking about their past and their future. It is a unique and fascinating blend of action, fantasy, romance, mystery and drama. I’m excited by this world and the people in it and I’m looking forward to the next book in the Light Blade series.

ALTERNATIVE WORLDS (Dec.2011): ...The first Light Blade romantic fantasy is a terrific thriller as the endless war between demon and humans is reaching a critical survival stage for the latter. The lead couple is a strong pairing while the support cast, especially the Na’Chi, the warriors and the Council, enhance the internal squabble in the human realm. With an insightful look at racial intolerance in a time of long-term constant combat and security alert, fans will enjoy Vengeance Born.

FRESH FICTION: VENGEANCE BORN has every quality of a great novel, from romance to mystery to action. Annika's character is very dynamic, the reader gets to know her as a scared young girl who gradually grows into a mature young woman. Kalan is the typical white knight. The developing romance between the two is realistic, not instantaneous. The romance scenes are steamy and make for an even more exciting read as the reader waits to see what happens when a Light Blade loves the enemy.

The idea behind VENGEANCE BORN is unique and fun. The mystery will have you reading late into the night. The action will have you cheering on the heroes and the romance will have the windows steaming up around the house. The reader will look forward to more from Griffin.

BOOKAHOLICS ROMANCE BOOK CLUB (4 ½ stars): Vengeance Born is a spectacular fantasy series that I could not stop reading!!

Annika is part human and part demon or Na’Reish.   Raised in the brutal Na’Reish world,  she is only kept alive because she is the daughter of the current Na’Reish leader who hopes to use her as a tool of vengeance.  Annika is reviled and constantly in danger- mocked for her weak human blood.  When a human, Light Blade warrior is captured, she heals him in the dungeon and makes him a bold bargain.  She will help him escape if he will help her leave to find a chance at a real life.  She hopes to find acceptance in the world of human.   Although the Light Blade name Kalan does not trust Annika, he realizes he needs her help.  So they embark on a journey that will test each person’s trust and a growing but tentative love and respect that will bring many changes to a world filled with prejudices.

This is fantastic story anyone for anyone who loves a good fantasy yarn with some solid romance.  I can’t wait for the next book to come out.  The world building in this world feels very authentic and genuine, and many readers will easily relate to the prejudices that Kalan and especially Annika must deal with.  Both are very noble characters with great integrity and good intentions who form an unlikely and touching relationship.  The journey together challenges Kalan and Annika, and I loved how they grew to slowly admire and care for each other.  There are also some surprises and touches of deep humanity which readers will find themselves quickly caught up in the story.

This is a riveting read with genuine and worthy characters that find unlikely love, challenge prejudices and strive to save humanity.

MY BOOK CHATTER (5 stars): I was immediately drawn to this book because of the absolutely gorgeous cover art *takes a moment to admire*. As I have stated in the past, I am a total cover whore and will buy books based on the covers alone! Shallow perhaps but I am who I am!

However, after following the authors blog and getting caught up in all the snippets and insights into this story, I was gagging to get my hands on it. (made worst by the fact that delivery from TBD was excruciatingly slow!)

Once it finally arrived I went into book hibernation and didn't come out again until I was finished.

Vengeance Born did not disappoint.

Vengeance Born was everything I was expecting and more.

Vengeance Born is a keeper!

Vengeance Born is a fantasy romance wrapped in mystery, intrigue, conflict between races, and mystical powers. Oh and hot, sexy (and naked) Kalan. Annika is pretty awesome too (hello the cover) but I'm concentrating on my Kalan crush!

The creative world building and attention to detail that has been put into this story is extensive and made it a pleasure to read. The writing is smooth, the relationships between characters is real and unforced and well worth the 5 hour non stop read.

Not only will Vengeance Born be sitting on my keeper shelf but author Kylie Griffin will be added to my list of favourites along side the likes of Nalini Singh and Jeaniene Frost. A 5 Star read.

THAT’S WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT (5 stars/A+ rating):

[We]...are just going to give it to you straight first.  This new Light Blade series and more importantly, this book, Vengeance Born is outstanding, and you just have to pick it up.  If you are paranormal fans, paranormal romance fans, heck, if you just love fantasy, you need to jump on this ride now!

Our introduction to this world starts with Annika, a half-breed of human and demon, living in the demon world.  She is an outcast and suffers greatly for her impure blood.  When she meets Kalan, an imprisoned human Light Blade, her dreams of freedom and more importantly, escape, are given a chance.  Kalan distrusts Annika once he sees her demon markings; however, she utilizes a gift that only Light Blade warriors posses, which intrigues him.  Either way, as his only means of escape, he bargains with her; she will help him escape, and he will provide his protection to her in the human world.

[We]...both found this new world to be mesmerizing.  It is a mixture outstanding fantasy and sizzling hot romance. The flow of Vengeance Born is seamless and gripping; it was incredibly difficult to put down. The balance between the storytelling, the creation of the mythology, and the development of the relationship between Kalan and Annika was impeccable. The overarching themes of the struggle people have accepting others that are different and feuds that have lasted so long that no one really knows why, just that they are supposed to hate, are tackled by the author in a gentle but determined way.

Although Annika and Kalan’s stories are fairly well resolved in the end, so much more is left open with other characters.  As we’ve said before, the sign of a well-written book is that it lingers in your thoughts days or even weeks later.  Vengeance Born is one of them, the characters and world followed Gikany and Una for days, even into our dreams.  We cannot wait until the next novel in this incredibly rich world.

Speaking of, the next book is Alliance Forged due out July of this year, and we cannot wait to get our hands on it!  It features…wait, we aren’t going to spoil it for you.  Go pick up Vengeance Born, the debut novel in the Light Blade series and you’ll be heading over to Ms. Griffin’s website to see who is featured!

A NEW KIND OF ORDINARY (4 stars): Annika is Na'Chi, a half-demon/half-human, and the daughter of the king of the demon world. She has been horribly abused and raised to believe that she is worthless. When Kalan, a Light Blade warrior, is captured and injured by her father's warriors she sees her only opportunity to escape. So, after healing Kalan, she offers to free him in exchange for his promise to lead her to the human world.

Most of the book takes place during their journey to the human world and it is here that Annika and Kalan learn to trust one another and begin to fall in love. I clicked with Annika immediately. Her plight touched my heart and I wanted desperately for her to escape her father and make it to the human world AND for Kalan to fall deeply in love with her. I loved Kalan instantly as well. He is my favorite type of hero: strong, noble, kind, funny. And their relationship developed slowly enough for me to enjoy the transition from tentative trust to love.

If I had a complaint at all, it would be regarding the point of view transition. The story is told from three different perspectives: Annika, Kalan, and another Na'Chi named Varian. Varian's narrative was usually condensed into his own chapter or section but the POV changes between Annika and Kalan would take place mid-scene. It was a little hard to get used to at first, but once I realized the pattern it was easier to follow along. This is of course just my personal preference.

Other than that, I really liked Vengeance Born. Kylie Griffin has created compelling characters and put them in a world that is protected by ultra-powerful Light Blade warriors and is on the brink of war with blood-sucking demons. It's a truly unique blend of paranormal romance and pure fantasy with enough elements of each to delight fans of either genre. I'm definitely hooked and can't wait for the next installment, Alliance Forged, which is due out in July.

Recommended to fans of fantasy and paranormal romance.

READER TO READER ONLINE REVIEW: Annika is despised amongst her father’s people. Only the fact that she’s his daughter has kept her alive all these miserable years. She desperately wants her freedom and risks her life on a plan with no guarantees. With only a wary promise from a tortured Light Blade warrior, Annika makes her escape.

Kalan is a Light Blade warrior who takes his duties seriously. His goal is to keep his people safe from the demon attacks and not suffer the loss of any more warriors. As Kalan makes his escape from the demon horde, his journey back home is not an easy one. The enemy is closing in and Kalan is saddled with a half-breed he’s not sure he can trust…but is absolutely certain he desires.

Griffin's characters are multifaceted and the supporting cast holds the promise of more stories to come. It was truly heartwarming how Kalan realized the depth of his feelings for Annika and saw her as more than a half-breed demon, but as a courageous woman he would gladly share his life with. The plot was exciting as the author enticingly reveals secrets and the truth changes Kalan and Annika’s future forever. Absolutely wonderful!

RABID REVIEWS (4 paws): 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.

BITTEN BY BOOKS: Griffin depicts a world of magic and menace suffused with both compassion and cruelty, adding a realistic touch to a fantasy realm. Annika proves a fascinating character–someone who has rarely known kindness or acceptance throughout her whole life yet chooses to use her gift to aid those who look down upon her due to her half-blood status.

The relationship between Annika and Kalan, one born out of necessity that grows through mutual respect, feels believable, and the reader roots for both of them (at least after Kalan comes around to understand that Annika presents no threat).

The majority of the secondary characters add to the narrative, and a few in particular aid Annika in the adjustment to her new life. This absorbing novel should appeal to fans of all types of fantasy. 

Jill on GOODREADS (4 stars): Annika is Na'Chi a half-blood, part human, part demon. She is the unwanted daughter of Savyr, the leader of the Na'Reish (the demons). Annika, born of a human mother, has been beaten, humiliated and despised all her life by her father and the full-blood demons. She dreams of escape to her mother's land and people.

Kalan Tayn is human, a Light Blade and enemy of the demons. Captured by demon scouts during a slave raid in the Outer Provinces he's been locked away and tortured for weeks. If Annika can convince this human to trust her, there may be a way of escape for both of them. Only under his protection and guardianship will she be allowed to enter Sacred Lake in the human territories.

This novel has a distinctly YA feel, perhaps because of the characterisation of the heroine. Though Annika is twenty-five years-old she seemed younger, a little insecure, not as independent and tough as a woman in her twenties should be. This may be because she's been broken and abused and rejected throughout her life and she has become more empathetic and compassionate. Readers looking for a kickass heroine may be disappointed. Not that she's a weakling, she's not. With her gift of healing she's also able to wield it as a death weapon and we see her dispose of two guards this way early on.

However, Vengeance Born is not a YA read. There are descriptions of brutality and violence. The love scenes are steamy. This is definitely fantasy romance, not just fantasy, with a touch of paranormal.

There is also a second story line with Varian, another Na'Chi leading a group of forty-seven half-bloods out of the demon realm following Annika and Kalan's trail to the human territory. Varian gets his story in the next book Alliance Forged with Kalan's blind sister Kymora.

Vengeance Born is a very good debut and recommended for readers of fantasy and paranormal romance.

BOOK PAGE: In the first book of Kylie Griffin’s Novels of the Light Blade series, Annika, the half-human daughter of a demon king, helps Kalan, a Light Blade warrior, escape from her father’s dungeons. Annika was conceived as an act of revenge, and she’s been tormented beyond endurance. Kalan alone holds the key to her future. This unlikely couple will enthrall readers as they take a stand against hatred and bigotry—all in the name of love.

CHEMISTRY INDEX: Hero and heroine are like moths to the flame.

SIZZLE-O-METER: In spite of the constant danger that surrounds Annika and Kalan, sparks ignite—and a slow burn turns into an eternal fire.

FAVORITE LINE: “You’re aroused.”

TWO LIPS REVIEWS (5/5):Vengeance Born by Kylie Griffin starts off an amazing series called Light Blade. You have demons and humans breeding, to make half bloods like Annika. She is a child of both worlds and chooses to be a good person and help the humans rather than enslave and eat them. She is very brave to go against her formidable father and choose her own destiny.

Kalan is a human with some super human abilities. But he is brave too; one against hundreds is not necessarily great odds. But he is willing to do what it takes to ensure that humanity lives on.

There are a lot of details in this book. Many things are brought up and left me wanting more. What I loved is there is so much story, not just a great romance. I felt immersed in this story and so much a part of another world that I didn’t want to leave. I personally love books that can do that—I look forward to the next in this new and amazing series.

OWLING (4.5/5): The world-building in Kylie Griffin’s Vengeance Born (A Novel of the Light Blade) is wonderful. This is a creative world, with fascinating back-story and interesting characters. I could completely buy into and appreciate the difficulties the two leads faced in trusting each other and allowing themselves to feel for one another; in most contexts I’d be frustrated with the characters, but this was entirely understandable. The exploration of cross-racial relationships, particularly within the context of war, is lovely and touching...I’m certainly glad to have discovered Griffin’s Light Blade series.

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