Cover Image: The Nightborn

The Nightborn

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Member Reviews

I love a good warrior book and this did not disappoint. I was completely invested, and this is the type of book I've been wanting to read but haven't had the chance to.
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I have voluntarily read and reviewed a copy of this title given to me via NetGalley. Wow what can I say about this title it was just an awesome read. This book was just something so wonderfully different I’ve never quite read anything like this. You should read to find out you won’t be disappointed. I’m definitely going to read more by this author.
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Was not able to read before the publish date, my library has purchased several copies of this book and it seems to be doing well.
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Won't be posting a public review for this book. I felt it was needed to read book 1 to fully enjoy this. I also found a lot of this book a bit slow and boring and I wonder if having the context of the first book I would've been more invested.
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The Nightborn is the second book in Isabel Cooper's fantasy romance series Stormbringer. I listened to the audiobook version which was narrated by Katherine Littrell. I didn't read or listen to the first book yet. Was I confused? Yes, a little, but I just didn't care because I had a blast listening to this book! There was action, romance and steam...throw in a marvelous narrator, and this was an absolute treat.

In this fantasy world, Sentinels are warriors who are raised from childhood to be weapons. They protect humanity from the evil monsters of the supernatural army that has been amassed by the Traitor God. Sentinel Branwyn Alanive has been sent to Heliodar on a diplomatic mission to ask the High Council for their assistance in the looming war. The members of the High Council are skeptical about a possible war, but she finds a sympathetic ear in the youngest member of the Council and a healer, Zelen Varengir. There's not much he can do to help, especially since his aristocratic family wants him to spy on Branwyn for them. He's extremely drawn to her, so it's not exactly a hardship spending time with her. When the High Lord and his wife, with whom Branwyn is staying, are murdered and Branwyn is framed for it, Zelen joins forces with her to not only discover who actually committed the murders, but to also fight against the darkness that has already gotten a foothold in Heliodar.

What an exciting book this was! Fantasy is not my favored choice of romance genre, but books like this may change my mind. In this world females are in no way wilting violets, but rather fearsome warriors on par with their male counterparts. In this story Zelen is fairly proficient with a sword, but Branwyn is the seasoned warrior while Zelen is a healer. They were both fantastic characters and made a strong romantic pair. Branwyn, as I stated, is a Sentinel who has spent most of her life on the battlefield; her role as an envoy is a bit of a departure for her. Zelen wanted to be a priest, but that pathway was nixed by his snooty parents and they wanted him to represent their family in the High Council; he served as a healer to do what he could for his fellow citizens. When Zelen discovered that Branwyn was a Sentinel he was shocked but accepting... it also explained her mad fighting skills. Together they made a formidable team, and their intimate time was scorching! Supporting characters were great, my favorite being Branwyn's Soulstone Sword, Yathana. Yes, a sword is an actual character! I also enjoyed young Tanya (a child Zelen treated), and Zelen's partner in his clinic. Narrator Katherine Littrell did an amazing job! She had a great accent (Aussie?) and had an excellent range for male and female characters. Audio was the perfect vehicle for this book; it made the story even more compelling. I will definitely be reading (or listening to!) book one and future installments of this series!

I received an ARC of this audiobook from the publisher and NetGalley. I received no compensation for my review, and all thoughts and opinions expressed are entirely my own.
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The Nightborn by Isabel Cooper
Rating: 4-stars
Summary: 
Branwyn comes to Heliodar to ask the high council to help fight against Thyran.  While they decide what to do, she gets to know Zelen, one of the council members.  Zelen is the son of a noble family and spends his days on the council while also working as a healer to provide care to those who have nowhere else to turn.  They are attracted to each other and form a deep connection, especially when Branwyn is framed for murder (spoiler: his family did it via a demon they conjured) and children continue to disappear (for human sacrifices to said demon).  
Overall opinion: 
Lately I have been drawn to fantasy romances more and this book did not disappoint.  Some of the world building and descriptions were more than what I felt was necessary, but it was not overwhelming, just more than I needed.  I have not read the first book in this series, so I do not know if reading that book first would have helped with the world building, but I did not feel as if I could not figure it out based on what Ms. Cooper provided.
I really enjoyed Branwyn and Zelen’s relationship.  It did not feel forced and there were no ridiculous misunderstandings that are often the hang up as to why two people cannot be together.  They are both mature adults, know what they want, how they feel, and act accordingly.  
What would have turned this book from a 4-star to a 5-star review would be a little more heat between them.  Yes, there are steamy scenes, but they were just okay for me.  Also, I would have loved to have more to the story after the primary issue is resolved.  You learn Zelen is now a healer, has tried to make up for his horrific family, and that he wants to run around with Branwyn, even though life as a Sentinel is not for the faint of heart.  An epilogue or another chapter or two about them leaving Heliodar and what their life after would have been awesome.  
Overall, I really enjoyed this book even though it is not a genre I have read much (lately or in general), so if this story piques your interest, I highly recommend it!  
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own.
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I loved the first book in the Stormbringer series, following Sentinel Dayna and the warrior general Amrys she accidentally released from an ancient time-freezing spell - which not coincidentally, had also held evil wizard Thyran in stasis for a century. Now Thyran’s on the loose with his army of horrifying magical constructs.

The Nightborn picks up during the climactic battle of the first book, with Sentinel Branwyn one of the tiny force doing their best to hold off Thyran’s horde. Following their (somehow) victory, Branwyn is one of several dispatched to try and recruit more aid. Sent to the port city of Heliodar, she’s left to cool her heels while the High Council try to decide whether they believe Thyran is back and a threat. Youngest member of the council, Zelen Verengir, befriends her, and they embark on a brief affair.

Something’s rotten in Heliodar, however, and a Sentinel (and the soulsword she carries) are inevitable magnets for trouble. Soon Zelen and Branwyn are fighting for not just their lives, but the entire city - against a threat from a direction they could never have anticipated.

I’m more and more intrigued by the world Isabel Cooper has created here. You could probably follow along reasonably well if you started here, but I think you’ll definitely appreciate the worldbuilding a lot more if you start with The Stormbringer. There were some new and VERY intriguing threads added to the lore here - there’s a Chosen One out there the Traitor God’s followers are looking for, who’s now about adult age if my sums are right - and I somehow don’t think the series is going to stop at three books. There’s a big world here to explore, and I for one am definitely along for the ride.
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I listened to the audiobook first, but it was so much better to see the names of people and places written out, for me personally.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would absolutely recommend it to other lovers of the fantasy genre. I think I saw this being categorized also as a romance, which is a fair assessment, and that suited me just fine! I am not one to get upset about damsel in distress stories - I quite like them - but I also very much appreciated that this story featured two strong partners, each needing and helping the other in some way that maintained a beautiful balance.
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Fantasy romance fans will be completely bowled over by Isabel Cooper’s latest seductive and spellbinding tale, The Nightborn.

With the threat of war looming closer and closer, Sentinel Branwyn realizes that the only way she can defeat the enemy is by asking for help. As the Traitor God’s army continues to multiply in alarming number, Branwyn finds herself with no other choice but to go ask the High Council in the state of Heliodar for assistance. Branwyn hopes that her plight will be listened to and she will get the aid which she desperately needs, however, it seems that her pleas fall on deaf ears. Nobody is willing to help Branwyn out with only one person sympathetic to her cause: the youngest member Zelen Varengir…

Zelen would love nothing more than to help Branwyn, but his hands are tied by his powerful family. Something about the beautiful and courageous Sentinel draws Zelen to Branwyn yet he knows that he mustn’t act upon his feelings for her – especially as his family have asked him to spy on her. As further calamity befalls Branwyn when she is framed for the murder of the High Lord, the two of them turn to one another in their quest for truth and justice. As Zelen and Branwyn are thrust into close proximity together, they need to discover the city’s darkest secrets and uncover their most dangerous of foes. However, it soon transpires that the hardest assignment of all is resisting the red-hot attraction that sizzles between the two of them.

With danger around every corner and the world in jeopardy, will Zelen and Branywn manage to triumph over all the obstacles standing in their way? With the odds stacked against them, is a future for Zelen and Branywn possible? Or will their enemies succeed in their wicked game of vengeance and destruction?

I’ll be honest, I don’t usually read a lot of fantasy romances, but I picked up Isabel Cooper’s The Nightborn and found myself captivated from the start. Isabel Cooper creates a rich and vivid world where the stakes are high, the danger is palpable and the drama immersive and emotional. Zelen and Branwyn are two great characters who are honorable, courageous and brave. Readers will cheer them on and be enchanted by their powerful and heartfelt love story.

The Nightborn is a fantasy romance full of intrigue, adventure and desire that is a total page-turner and will have readers clamoring for the next title in Isabel Cooper’s spellbinding series.
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This series is intriguing fantasy. I now understand the world Isabel has created after the baptism of the first book in this series. This is an envoy's plead for help against the evil Thyran's invasion. I found the story full of intrigue and less action but still highly entertaining. I enjoyed the journey and the love story that evolved. This series is another fantasy feast by a new author to genre that's doing a good job.

Sentinel Branwin has been sent by the invaded Criwaith pleading with the southern Heliodar Council for help. She goes as a political envoy and not as a Sentinel. Too many fear sentinels and she wants her words to be heard and considered. As expected the council is shocked by her report and puts off any decision for aid as they like being insulated from the rest of the world. The head of the council, Rognozi offers his home for her stay. She uses that as home base to explore the city while she meets with the rest of the council. The youngest council member Zelen is drawn to her and his family has asked him to gather as much information on her as possible.

Zelen is a healer by nature, much to his stuffy noble family's frustration. They tolerate it as long as he does his duty on the council. He has a charity medical clinic for individuals who need help but can't afford the Mourner temple healers. In his youth he wanted to seek out being a Knight and has stayed fit & kept up his fighting skills while representing his family on the council. As he shows Branwin around town several attempts on their lives happen and he's puzzled as to why & who. Luckily he has the skills to help defend her and others in these attempts. After a battle with demons she goes back to the Rognozi's to discover something his very wrong there. Later she awakens in an alley beaten to almost the point of death. Zelen comes and renders aid. She finds she's been accused of murdering her hosts. She and Zelen work to find answers.

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced readers copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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I actually think I liked this second book in the series better than the first, The Storm Bringer - though I liked that one too!  In this one, Branwyn, one of the sentinels from the Storm Bringer, travels to the city of Heliodar to request help troops and aid in the Order's fight against Thyran. This is one of those sequels where I think you really do have to read the first book to completely understand what's going on, though this story is set in a different location and with different main characters than the first. While in Heliodar, Branwyn strikes up a friendship (and then more) with Zelen Varengir, the youngest member of the city's High Council, and a healer. His brother asks him to get close to Branwyn to understand what she's really after, and Zelen doesn't mind because of their mutual attraction. Everything starts to get pretty intense when a bunch of demons show up during a party and then the High Lord and his wife (who have been hosting Branwyn) are viciously murdered and things get even more intense. There's some really dark magic, scheming, some steam, and a ton of fighting. I'll be interested to see how this ties into the story from the first book when the next one comes around!
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This book worked pretty well for me. It took me a bit to get into the writing of the story, but once I did I was invested. An intricate world, loveable characters, and a romance you are rooting for. 
I love politics in books, and this one had quite a bit. It worked well for me.
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I received an ARC via NetGalley and am voluntarily posting a review. All opinions are my own. 

The Nightborn is a technically good second in the series, but I still had a lot of the same personal issues with it. And it’s a shame, as epic fantasy romance doesn’t get a lot of love compared to urban fantasy or paranormal, hence why I was willing to give it more chances in spite of my initial misgivings, as there is a lot of potential in the concept, even if it didn’t fully deliver equally on the fantasy and romance. 

I still enjoy the world building a lot, and while there were some aspects I was a bit confused by, I am still really intrigued by the Sentinels and their high-stakes adventures. 

But I felt next to nothing for either Branwyn or Zelen, and the romance really failed to excite me as a result. The story is well-written, including the intimate scenes, so those weren’t as much a chore to read as they would be in stories with lack of investment in the characters. 

While I won’t be continuing this series into the third (and final?) book, I’m definitely not giving up on Isabel Cooper just because one of her series concepts didn’t work out for me. And perhaps other fantasy romance readers might like this better.
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I really enjoyed this! It's basically your good old fashioned girl-meets-boy, girl-and-boy-join-forces-to-overcome-the-forces-of-evil-while-also-finding-time-to-have-fantastic-sex, girl-and-boy-live-happily-ever-after story, and it was a heap of fun.

My full review will appear on Smart Bitches, Trashy Books.
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The Nightborn continues the Stormbringer series by following a character we met during the battle of book one but didn't really get to know. Sentinel Branwyn is sent to a neighboring country as a diplomatic messenger with the news that the man who once almost destroyed the world is back and ready to continue his war of destruction. There she meets Zelen Varengir, a member of the High Council, healer, and outcast in his noble family for wishing to help those less fortunate.
The action is more subtle than the first volume, more smaller fights in small paces than all-out war, but it more than makes up for it in intrigue and some very, very good romance.
The story takes many twists and turns, slowly driving the story towards an explosive end and some exciting revelations. It was really interesting to see how the pieces that Cooper laid out over the course of the story come together to make the full picture at the end. 
Overall, this volume definitely cements this series as one to follow and I can't wait to read what comes next.

Many happy thanks to NetGalley and Sourcebooks Casablanca for the early read!
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This is a very good book.   Branwyn's  journey through this story isn't an easy one.  Her abilities are such they had me marveling as I read her story.  Many unexpected twists especially Zelen's family.
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I had some difficulty getting into this book but then I found out it was book 2 in a series so that explains it. I enjoyed this story of Sentinel Branwyn and her quest to ask the High Council of Heliodar to agree to let their people participate in fighting the war against the Traitor God's army.  She's not used to life at court but when she meets Zelen he helps her navigate the political climate. Then Branwyn is accused of murder and must find a way to prove she didn't do it. She and Zelen embark on a twisted adventure to uncover decades old evil and also find love in the process. Recommended.
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The Nightborn by Isabel Cooper is the 2nd book in her Stormbringer series. Refresher: This is an epic fantasy adventure series filled with magic, sword fighting, epic battles, monsters and an evil god.  Sentinels, who start training as a young child, protect the world against a traitor god and his minions who threaten to destroy the world.

The Nightborn begins where the last book left off. We get to see briefly, Darya and Amris (heroes of the first book), with other Sentinels and warriors fighting the monsters created by the evil traitor god; who they temporarily defeat, knowing soon there will be more.  Branwyn, our heroine, is another very good Sentinel, and she also has a Soulstone Sword, Yathana (former deceased warrior becomes the sword tied to the Sentinel to help fight in battles).  

Branwyn is sent to Heliodar to meet the High Council for help to fight the war against the traitor god. The council members are undecided if they want to join the battle, and tell Branwyn they will decide in two weeks. 
One of the newest members of the council is Zelen Verengir (our hero), who decides he wants to know more, and makes it his business to spend some time with Branwyn; Zelen’s family also tells him to get some information about her.  Slowly they become friends, and in time fall for each other.  When the High Lord of the council is murdered, as well as his wife, Zelen knows that Branwyn is being framed, and needs to find out who and why.  This will lead him to a shocking discovery, and with the help of some of his people, he makes plans to stop those working for the traitor god, and save Branwyn along the way.

What follows is a wild, nonstop action filled battles that has you on the edge of your seat the entire book.  Branwyn and Zelen work closely together to use their experience and magical skills, along with Yathana (soulstone sword) to fight the demon/mages planning to help the traitor god destroy Heliodar and everything else. I said this in the first book, that the women in this series are strong powerful warriors/sentinels, who are equal to the men.  I really liked Branwyn and Zelen together, as they made a great couple.
The Nightborn is another exciting and well written story by Isabel Cooper, with great characters, excellent fantasy adventure, with was nonstop action. I once again look forward to seeing where Cooper will take us next.
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Branwyn Alanive, a Sentinel who was raised to be a sort of super soldier to fight monsters, arrives in the city of Heliodar for a diplomatic mission which is somewhat out of her comfort zone. Branwyn’s job includes an appeal to the High Council for military aid to fight the supernatural army of the Traitor God. Except for the youngest member of the ruling body, Zelen Varengir, the council is reluctant to use their city’s resources to engage in a seemingly distant battle. Zelen understands the necessity of Branwyn’s cause; however, his controlling family demands he act as a spy to this warrior woman.

Zelen and Branwyn work together to convince the citizenry that they need to help the war effort; however, when the High Lord is brutally murdered, Branwyn is framed and accused putting her on the run and adding urgency to her cause. Zelen is well known and liked by his people as not only a council member, but a healer to all who need him especially those least of society. His aristocratic family has high ambitions putting him in a difficult position with Branwyn though he quickly realizes where his true loyalties should be.

Branwyn feels a connection with Zelen beyond her duties knowing she has found a man she can truly trust especially when her assignment turns deadly. They must ferret out the true killer in order to not only clear Branwyn’s name, but gain the help for the war already being fought by Branwyn’s people. Branwyn’s skills and abilities add a feminist bent to the story showcasing how women strong can be warriors too.

This story is the second in the STROMBRINGER series. I had not read the first book so there are some aspects that are less than clear; however, it can be read as a standalone. For first time readers, more exposition on the backstory would have been helpful. The world building is quite interesting and for those readers who like fantasy with magical swords, strong action, adventure, and a slow burn romance would enjoy this series. Ms. Cooper is a skilled writer who, with this and her other series, lends a fine hand to world of magic, mayhem, and mystery.
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So very complicated that I struggled with this book. So many new characters, new places and new things... it was difficult to keep them all straight in my head!
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