This is the 4th book in the Dark-Hunter series. I am re-reading the series and I have to say that I am enjoying them just as much as I did the first time, if not more.
I usually put a list of terms at the beginning of the review but I’ve decided to put it at the end so it isn’t so off-putting. Some people don’t want to read all that first.
The events of this book happen concurrently with books numbers 2 and 3. There is one conversation that Wulf, the lead male character, had over the phone with Talon that also occurred in book number 2, Night Embrace, so I knew exactly when the events of this book were happening. I have no idea how Sherrilyn Kenyon keeps her timelines straight. She either has some mega elaborate timeline drawn out somewhere or she has an amazing memory about the stories she writes. I, myself, have to keep all kinds of notes to keep it straight but even then, they are chaotic and disorganized so I can’t find anything I need in them. It is just one more thing I love about this author.
The prologue is a history of the Apollites and how Apollo cursed them. In his anger, he had forgotten that he had bound his life and the fate of the world to his son. He said that as long as his blood lived so shall he or something close to that. Now, there is only one descedant left.
Wulf was a Viking raider in his human life. After spending the night with a Dark-Huntress named Morginne, he somehow woke up with his soul swapped for hers. The god Loki had helped her do this because he wanted Morginne for himself so Wulf ended up immortal and in the service of the goddess Artemis as a Dark-Hunter. Not only did Morginne switch souls with him, but she cursed him. Any human who meets him will forget him after five minutes. It makes life extremely difficult. Only the direct descendants of his brother’s line are able to remember him and there is only one left so he protects him with everything he has.
Cassandra is Apollo’s last living descendant and she has been on the run all her life. Many Apollites and Daimons believe if they kill her, they will break the Apollite curse. This is true but if she dies, so does Apollo and that wouldn’t be good for the world. Apollo holds the sun with his life. If he dies so does the Sun which would kill everyone on the planet. So far, Apollo has never helped her. She doesn’t even know if he is aware she is his last descendant in the line of the son he bound himself to or if he even cares. Apollo had many children but just one that he bound himself to.
She’s watched everyone close to her die. Her mother and two sisters died in a car explosion. Only her father is still alive. She has had to move all over the world to hide from the Daimons who are after her. But even though she hides, she will probably still die in less than a year because her 27th birthday is coming up. She doesn’t know if being half human will change the curse of the Apollites but she highly doubts it.
Cassandra has some scary Daimons after her. Stryker is another one of Apollo’s sons and he hates Apollo because he cursed him. Stryker is at least 11,000 years old and he calls the goddess Apollymi his mother although I was sure that his mother was the Apollite queen so Apollymi must be his adopted mom. But Stryker or Strykerius has swirling eyes like Acheron who is Apollymi’s son but nobody knows this except a very select few and Stryker isn’t one of them. Stryker with the backing of Apollymi has been killing Cassandra’s ancestors for centuries. He has special godlike powers but I’m not sure how he got them or why. He has an army of Daimons to command and his generals are Spathi Daimons who are as ancient as he is. He will kill anyone who gets in his way without remorse. The only two people he cannot kill are Acheron and Kat, Cassandra’s bodyguard because Apollymi won’t let him. He has no idea why but he obeys her because she has the power to destroy him.
Cassandra meets Wulf at a club called the Inferno when a group of Daimons attack her. He kills them all and then kisses her. Five minutes later, she forgot him. But later he appeared in her dreams. They make love and from then on, she remembers him.
She and her bodyguard, Kat, end up being attacked again and Wulf comes to their rescue. He realizes that Cassandra is an Apollite and is repulsed since Dark-Hunters and Apollites are enemies. But Wulf’s boss, Acheron, orders him to protect Cassandra so he does.
Then they get another big surprise. Artemis had been messing with them. To save Apollo’s line, she interfered with Wulf and Cassandra’s dreams. Somehow, Cassandra became pregnant in her dreams that she had dreamt of Wulf before he found out she was an Apollite. Most Dark-Hunters are sterile because they die before Artemis takes their soul but Wulf had never died so he was different. Now, they are linked by the baby. But will Cassandra live to see the baby grow up?
There is a lot of action in this book along with more story building and a lot of politics. We get a closer look at various important characters, we meet new ones and we get to see some of the leading characters in the last three books again.
We are learning more and more about Acheron. In previous books we learned that he was the first Dark-Hunter. Then we learned that he is the son of Apollymi and the god Archon but I’m not sure he even knows this…at least the Archon part. After the Fates predicted that Acheron would destroy the world, Archon wanted Apollymi to abort but Apollymi hid Acheron inside a queen’s womb who was already pregnant. He was born a twin to Styxx. They look exactly alike except for the eyes but aren’t really related. Or are they? We have no idea about Acheron’s human life but Styxx has tried to infer that it was shameful. Whatever it was like, Acheron doesn’t want anyone else to know.
Acheron has mad powers but whenever anyone sees them, he erases their memories of it. He also has vast knowledge and doles it out like an Oracle. He doesn’t want to mess with free will or destiny. His tattoo that moves all over his torso is actually a demon who he calls his daughter, Simi. She’s pretty powerful herself and apparently, now that Acheron destroyed the weapon that could kill her, indestructible.
There is a bunch of other facts but it would take too long to write it down here.
We also met Kat who has been Cassandra’s bodyguard for the last five years. She’s obviously more than just a human bodyguard but I don’t want to spoil the book for anyone so I can’t say more.
We meet Phoebe, Cassandra’s sister who was supposed to have died in the car explosion with her mom but was saved by Stryker’s son, Urian. She is now a Daimon.
Urian is Stryker’s only son. He is secretly married to Phoebe and secretly helping Cassandra and Wulf. But according to Kat, he is totally different away from Phoebe. He is a ruthless killer for his father. But I kind of have a crush on him anyway. Gah! I’m such a sicko!
We learn more about Apollites and Daimons too. There are secret underground cities where Apollites live. There are different groups of Apollites like the Cult of Pollux where they choose to die painfully on their 27th birthday instead of killing themselves the night before their birthday like a lot of Apollites do to avoid the painful death. There are also different kinds of Daimons. Some Daimons only kill bad humans or evil humans but a lot of those turn evil because they aren’t strong enough to handle to evil souls. Then there are the Daimons like Phoebe who only feed from another Daimon who has taken souls because they can’t bring themselves to kill anyone. It was quite the eye opener and by the end of this book I felt bad for the Apollites and even some of the Daimons.
Apollites – A race of people made by Apollo with the intention that he would one day replace Zeus. He thought that he could create a race superior to humans. Apollites are stronger and taller than humans with psychic powers. Angered by this, Zeus made declared war on them and exiled them to Atlantis.
When the Apollite queen became jealous of Apollo’s beloved mistress, Ryssa, she ordered Ryssa and her newborn’s son to be killed and ripped apart. In sorrow and rage over this, Apollo cursed all Apollites to die painfully on their 27th birthday because that was how old Ryssa was. They also could no longer live in the daylight and had to live only off of Apollite blood. In doing this, he also cursed his son, Stryker.
Cult of Pollux – many Apollites kill themselves the night before their birthday to avoid the long painful death but the Apollites who belong to the Cult of Pollux believe that they should die the way that Apollo wanted them to so they choose to suffer the slow and painful death where they slowly wither away over a twenty-four hour period.
Daimon – some Apollites live longer because they have learned to suck the souls out of humans to extend their lives but they have to keep a steady diet of souls to live. Daimons have black tattoo-like marks on their chests like inkblots where they gather souls.
Anaimikos Daimon – a Daimon who only feeds of other Daimons. They do not kill for their souls.
Agkelos – Daimons who only prey off of evil humans.
Spathi – warrior Daimons who are stronger and faster than other Daimons. They can be reincarnated after their death since their disembodied essence remains intact. They are Apollymi’s guards and pets. They are identified by a mark of a yellow sun with a black dragon inside. Their leader is Stryker.
Dark-Hunter – a warrior who sold his soul to the goddess Artemis for a single act of vengeance. They hunt and kill Daimons to protect mankind and are immortal. Each warrior has his own unique power or set of powers such as mind-reading, telekinesis and healing. Because Daimons have animalistic instincts and features such as fangs, so do Dark-Hunters but they do not drink blood. They also cannot go into the sunlight. They cannot marry or have a lover for more than one night. Because Dark-Hunters are so powerful, two cannot be near each other or their powers will drain. They also cannot hurt or kill each other because what one does to the other happens to them also; If one hits and breaks the nose of another Dark-Hunter, his or her nose will break also.