Best book of the series so far…and that is saying A Lot because all of the books in this series are excellent. But the thing is, I know that the next book in the series is even better because I have already read the entire series. That is the advantage of re-reading a series. You know what is coming but also it refreshes my memory because I have forgotten so much that it is almost like reading it for the first time…almost.
This is the 13th book in the Dark-Hunter series and the 3rd book in the Dream-Hunter series. The series is getting more complex and complicated as the plot carries on. There are now a ton of characters and each one has their own mysterious backstory which gets revealed little by little in each book. All of them somehow tie into each other. I have no clue how Sherrilyn Kenyon keeps track of all of it. I have a picture in my head of a multi-layered glass bulletin board with timelines and places on it and overlaid with multi-colored string tracking characters and events that look like it was spun by a spider who was on a psychedelic trip gone wrong. I know I’m having a hard time keeping track of it all.
We met Xypher in book #11, Devil May Cry. He was in Tartarus when Kat went down to get him because she needed a Skotos crazy and strong enough to enter a gallu demon’s dreams. When she entered his cell, he was being whipped by skeletons but he was fighting back. He would grab the whip away from the skeletons only for it to reappear in their hands again for them to continue lashing at him. He’d been there for centuries so that showed how some of his determination and character. Kat made a deal with Hades to release him to help her and if he did what he promised, Hades had to make him human for a month. If he proved his humanity in that month, Hades would have to release him from Tartarus forever. Hades tells her after they made the deal that he can’t believe Kat would let something so evil out into the world. He told her that Xypher had went into the dreams of hundreds of people and drove them crazy. Most of them killed themselves. It took eleven Oneroi to kill him.
Xypher did as promised which was to find information about the gallu demon and he even helped Kat and Sin in a battle. In this book, he has been human for about a week. He still has some of his god powers but not all of them because Hades likes messing with him. Since Xypher believes he will return to Tartarus no matter what at the end of his month free, he is determined to make it count and get revenge on Satara by killing her and making her suffer in Tartarus right alongside him.
Satara wasn’t made of sugar and spice and everything nice. No, she was made of sulphur and bile and everything evil. We have met her before and she likes to cause pain and cause trouble. I’m not sure of her ultimate goal but she seems to cause a lot of trouble. She is Stryker’s half-sister and one of Artemis’ handmaidens but she hates Artemis for some unknown reason. Satara summoned Xypher into her dream when he was an Oneroi and seduced him. He became a Skoti because he liked the emotions that he was able to syphon off of her. She then pretended to love and care for him so he taught her how to dream walk and let her use his powers to do so. She used them to destroy her enemies and people she didn’t like and when Zeus and Hades decided to punish her, she ran to Xypher crying. He made a deal with someone named Jaden to give him his soul if Jaden would somehow make Zeus and Hades believe it was he who drove the people insane instead of Satara. Satara promised she would visit Xypher in Tartarus and give him a true death, one that obliterates him from the universe so he wouldn’t be tortured for the rest of eternity, but instead she visited and laughed at him about how stupid he was to believe her lies and fall for her tricks. She even beat him and tortured him. Yeah, so she deserves to have Cinderella run over her with her pumpkin coach…wait, that’s a different tale.
Simone is a medical examiner who teaches at Tulane in New Orleans. She is friends with Tate, the coroner. We have met Tate before. He is a Squire for the Dark-Hunters and covers up certain deaths which could expose the paranormal world to humans. Simone knows about Dark-Hunters and that Tate is a Squire for them. She, herself, is able to see ghosts. In fact, she is friends with a teenage ghost named Jesse who has his own bedroom in her home. She met him when she was eleven, right after her mom and brother were murdered. He helped her get through it but as she has grown and aged, he has always kept the same age. He died in the 80s and is kind of stuck in that era.
Simone has lunch with Tate who shows her a file from the latest odd murders. He thinks there is a serial killer but he doesn’t believe it is a Daimon. The latest victim got up and walked off the table while one of Tate’s assistants still had her heart in his hand after opening her up to do the autopsy. The man is in the psyche ward now, thinking he is crazy. Simone agrees to go to the morgue to see what she can get off of the victim’s belongings. She is a little psychic and can often read or interpret feelings or events from items or a body. While she is having lunch with him, she feels like something evil is watching her but she cannot see anyone so she shrugs it off.
She and Tate go to the morgue and while they are there she meets the ghost of the victim, Gloria. Gloria has no idea what happened to herself but Jesse tells her she is a ghost. They decide to drive over to the crime scene to try to jar Gloria’s memory.
They get attacked by Daimons but get rescued by a gorgeous but hostile man who may not be there to rescue them after all because he grabs one of the Daimons and demands that he opens a portal to Kalosis. Simone has no idea what the loon is talking about but then another bigger and scarier Daimon walks out of what looks like thin air and snaps a gold bracelet on the hottie-hostile-guy and then another matching bracelet onto her arm. He then tries to kill Simone. Hottie-hostile-guy shoves Simone into her car and gets into the driver’s seat and takes off. The Daimon jumps on the hood of the car but hottie-hostile-guy knocks him off while driving. Then the Daimons start chasing them in another car. Hottie-hostile guy tells her it would probably be easier for if he knew how to drive while he slams into parked cars but also manages to do a good job of getting away. Simone is all of the sudden in the driver’s seat without moving but has no time to question it because she has to get away from the Daimons.
When Simone asks him who the hell he is, he tells her, “Xypher, and you are?”
“Pissed off. You wrecked my car, shoved me around, and are a complete and utter dickhead!”
“Dear God.” He said dryly, “What a mouthful—your mom must have really wanted a son. Mind if I call you ‘Pissed’ for short? The rest of that is just too much to say every time I want your attention.”
When Jesse laughs, Xypher tells him that he needs to be careful or he’ll feed him to a Daimon. Simone is stunned that he can see Jesse. I don’t know why she was stunned since he was able to magically switch seats with her. But this is the kind of interactions they had through-out most of the book and they cracked me up.
He tells her that they are probably stuck together for a while because of the bracelets. He is pretty sure that they are meant to bind the two together.
Once they lose the Daimons, they call Tate who refers them to Julian, the son of Aphrodite who lives in New Orleans and teaches Ancient Greek Civilization at Tulane. He tells them that the bracelets were made by the Atlanteans. They are designed to bind a god or someone powerful to someone weaker like a human in order to be able to kill the god by killing the human. So whoever is after Xypher will now try to kill Simone. The other drawback is that they can’t be separated by more than 20 feet without one of them dropping dead. So now they are stuck together for however long it takes to find someone to unlock them.
It doesn’t take too long to figure out that it was Satara who sent the Daimon to put the bracelets on them. She also sent Kaiaphas, an evil demon and Xypher’s brother, after Xypher. Xypher is part dream god and part demon. Kaiaphas has to do what Satara tells him to because she holds his soul.
I absolutely adored Xypher and Simone. Xypher was a real jerk but the things he said were hilarious and he showed some vulnerabilities that just made my heart hurt for him. Simone was just sarcastic as heck and I loved it. I also liked Jesse and his 80’s hang up. I think I went through eight million emotions while reading this book. Who me? Exaggerate? Nooooo!
Xypher is set on getting revenge on Satara but also starting to have feelings for Simone who, while not taking any of his bullshit and could match his sarcasm with her own, was nice to him. She even buys him clothes and food because he had no money and Hades hadn’t given him the power to manifest clothes or food for himself so he had been sleeping on the streets and eating whatever he found. The problem is will Xypher choose Simone or choose revenge?
We got a closer look at some previously mentioned characters and were introduced to some new characters.
As always…or almost always, Acheron made a brief appearance. He gave Simone some sort of cryptic message that came into play later in the story.
Kat helped at one point also. She is pregnant and showing.
The Dimme demon Kerryna who escaped in book #11, Devil May Cry, was in this book. She isn’t as evil as previously believed but she said some of her sisters are so they should be kept locked up. She is in love with one of the Charonte demons who had disappeared in one of the earlier books, Xedrik. He is also Simi and Xirena’s older brother. It turns out that there are quite a few Charonte demons living in New Orleans. They own a bar along with Kyle Peltier, one of the Were-Hunter bears.
The most interesting character we met is Jaden. I’m pretty much in love…again. I still love Urian but I have room in my cheating, two-timing heart to add Jaden. Jaden is a mystery. Kaiaphas summons him by killing a human woman by smashing her onto an oak tree. Apparently, oak trees can be used to summon ancient spirits and other things. Jaden is known by all kinds of different names and is said to be born of the first power. Whatever that is. He is not a demon, nor god, nor human. He’s a go-between for the higher powers and demonkind. Xypher called him evil but I’m not so sure he is totally evil because of some of the things he did. After he spoke with Kaiaphas, he bent down and did a sort of blessing for the dead woman, telling her to “sleep in peace” and thinking what an unnecessary death it was. He did a few other things that seemed not so evil too but it would spoil the book if I mentioned them. Nobody knows who or if he even has a master but he has what looks like a gold collar on his neck.
This was such a good book! It was one of those that I was sad to see end. You would think that Sherrilyn Kenyon couldn’t top this book but I know that the next book is about Acheron and aptly named Acheron and it’s the one all her fans rave about…that and a future book called Styxx…so I’m off to read that now.
List of Terms
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.
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.
Atlanteans – A race of people who are stronger than humans. They have their own set of gods.
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.
Squire – someone who takes care of a Dark-Hunter. A Squire does everything from running errands to running the household. They are sworn to protect the secrets of the Dark-Hunters.
Dream-Hunter – children of the Greek gods of sleep Morpheus and Phobetor. The goddess Mist or Myst is the mother of most of them but some Dream-Hunters have human mothers. Dream-Hunters visit the dreams of humans, gods and Apollites. There are two kinds of Dream-Hunters, Oneroi and Skoti.
Oneroi – Oneroi are dream gods who visit the dreams of humans, immortals and gods. The Oneroi are in charge of policing dreams and keeping track of the activities of the Skoti to make sure they don’t harm any human.
Zeus cursed the Oneroi because one played a trick on him while in his dream. Zeus cursed them to not have any kind of emotion and the only way they can have emotions are by going into people’s dreams. They are only allowed to visit a person’s dreams once and move on to the next person. There are different classes or types of Oneroi and their roles or assignations can usually be recognized by the first letter of their names.
D’ – are assigned to immortals and gods. They help Dark-Hunters with their nightmares and help them transition from their past mortal life to their new immortal life. These Dream-Hunters are the only ones who can revisit the same person more than once and usually stay with the same Dark-Hunter forever.
M’ – are the enforcers of all Dream-Hunters. They police the Oneroi to keep them from turning into Skoti and are the ones who pass judgement on any who break the rules.
V’ – are the Dream-Hunters who help humans with dreams and nightmares, usually caused by Skoti feeding off of the human’s fear and emotions.
Skoti – an Oneroi turns Skoti (Skotos is the singular form of the word) if they become obsessed by a human’s dreams. They revisit an individual either because they get a high from the human’s emotions or they become infatuated by them. The Dream-Hunter becomes an incubus or succubus. The result drains the human emotionally and physically from lack of sleep and often drives the person insane. Most Skoti are children of Phobetor but not all of Phobetor’s children turn Skoti. Oneroi hunt down and punish Skoti but many of them escape justice and prey on the emotions of humans for centuries.
Gallu Demons – created to fight the Sumerian pantheon’s enemies, specifically the Charonte demons. The horrible demon Asag was used as a donator father for the gallu. The gallu turned on the Sumerians and were uncontrollable. They have two rows of teeth and can turn anyone into one of them if they bite them. They can also enter a person’s dreams if they touch a person first but they are unable to kill anyone in a dream. The only way to kill a gallu is by beheading it, hitting it between the eyes or severing its spinal cord then burning it.
Dimme – seven female Sumerian demons (sisters) who a powerful and uncontrollable even by the gods. They are locked away in a tomb somewhere is the Nevada desert. The seal weakens every few thousand years so the Sumerian gods have to reseal it but there are only two Sumerians left, Sin and Zakar. If the Dimme are ever released, they will destroy the world.