One Silent Night – Dark-Hunter Series #15 – Sherrilyn Kenyon

I, personally, don’t think there were any silent nights in this book. It was packed with action and there were some major game changers.

This book is about Stryker. We know him as the enemy but this book gives us a closer look into his character and why he is the way that he is. Stryker is downright hardcore. He killed his own son because he betrayed him. He calmly walked up behind him, hugged him and slit his throat. But he also is known to have a knightly code of honor even though he is on the wrong side, he thinks worthy opponents should die with honor instead of humiliation. We didn’t know that he actually had a softer side to him. We learn that in this book.

Stryker has a lot of enemies but he has a couple who he hates and wants to see dead more than any of the others. Number one on his list is Acheron. I’m not exactly sure why he hates Acheron so much…well, there is the obvious fact that he leads an army of Dark-Hunters to fight Daimons and Stryker is the leader of the Daimons but Stryker’s hatred goes deeper than that. I think it stems from the fact that Apollymi loves Acheron more than she loves Stryker. When Apollymi lost her son, Apostolos, and adopted Stryker and showed him how to take in the souls of humans to beat the curse of the Apollites, he believed she loved him. Then when Apollymi ordered him not to hurt Acheron, their enemy, he started to suspect that he was Apostolos and started resenting it. I thought he was just jealous which is true but it is because he felt Apollymi used him instead of really loving him just like his father Apollo did.

He also hates Nick Gautier now because he killed his sister Satara in the last book. Satara was as cruel and evil as they come so when Nick killed her for asking him to rape Acheron’s girlfriend, Tory, I was doing a little dance and singing Ding Dong the Witch is Dead…the witch is dead…the witch is dead and thought that everyone in the world would be doing the same but I guess Stryker really loved her…well, maybe not loved but cared for her as much as it was possible to care for someone like Satara. She was there for him for centuries and that counted for something in his eyes.

Stryker wants Acheron and Nick dead so he sneaks into Tartarus with the blood of Typhon, the son of the primordial god Tartarus, whose name was given to this realm. Typhon was so powerful that he could have taken down Zeus but the Olympian gods trapped him under Mount Aetna. Stryker uses the blood to awaken War. War was created by all the gods of war to pursue and kill the Chthonians. War and his minions, mainly Ker and Mache, hunted down and killed all but three of the Chthonians who he was just about to kill but they tricked him with a spell that cast him into his current status of looking like a stone statue, standing next to the Ker statue and the Mache statue.

Stryker awakens War and tells him who he wants killed. War says, “It is done.” And vanishes. Just as he is awakened, Hades and Ares arrive and yell, ‘NOOOOO!” because they know how terrible War really is. Hades asks him, “Do you know what you have unleashed?”

Stryker answers, “Cruelty, pestilence, wrath, violence, ultimate suffering…what other gifts did the gods bestow on him?”

“You hit the highlights. But before you released him, you should have bothered to learn that he always destroys the one who commands him.” Hades goes on to tell him that it took all the different pantheons along with the Chthonians together to contain him last time and that was back when they were worshiped and at full strength. The gods aren’t worshiped anymore so they aren’t that strong.

The Greek gods are frantic when they learn War has been released. They know that he’ll be headed towards them soon. Artemis believes that if Stryker is stopped, War will be stopped so she summons the one person she knows who might be able to kill Stryker…Zephyra. She took Zephyra in thousands of years ago when the woman had no place else to go. It was one of those rare moments of compassions for Artemis. She asks Zephyra to kill Stryker and she agrees.

When Zephyra attacks Stryker, he fights back and almost kills her until he recognizes her. He was married to her over 11,000 years ago. She was a poor fish monger’s daughter and they had fallen in love and married but Apollo was livid over the marriage. He had a noble woman for Stryker to marry so he demanded that Stryker leave Zephyra to marry the other woman. He told Stryker that he would beat and kill Zephyra if Stryker didn’t listen to him. He told Zephyra this but she said she would rather go down fighting than lose him to another woman. What Stryker didn’t tell her is that Apollo had threatened to have her raped and tortured too. Stryker left her.

Just as Stryker was getting ready to release Zephyra, an exact replica of Zephyra slams into him and tells him to get his hands off of her mother. Zephyra introduces Stryker to his daughter, Medea, and then knocks him out. She is getting ready to kill him when Medea begs her not to kill him until she has a few minutes with him.

Stryker wakes up chained to a wall next to someone named Jared who looks like hell. He’s filthy with his hair all matted and has bruises and bite marks all over him. Jared tells him that Zephyra and Medea torture him. When Medea comes in, she slams Jared with her powers and puts a muzzle on him. Stryker actually feels sorry for Jared. He hates to see anyone unnecessarily tortured. He learns that Zephyra owns Jared and he is her slave but Jared is a powerful demon…I think he is a demon. He is actually the Sephirii, a being created to fight the Malachai. I have explanations of what those are on the bottom of this review/summary.

Medea unchains Stryker and takes him out of the room and orders him to follow her. As soon as he leaves the room, his powers come back to him and he grabs Medea from behind and flashes back to Kalosis. He uses her as leverage and strikes a bargain with Zephyra. She’ll give him two weeks to try to win her back and if he doesn’t, she can kill him.

War goes after Acheron and almost kills him. It seems War negates the powers of gods when he is near. But Savitar and a bunch of Charonte demons poof in and save Acheron. War disappears.

War then goes to kill Nick. When they are fighting, something happens to Nick. His skin turns red and black designs appear all over. His eyes turn red with black streaks and his hair turns black. War vanishes and goes back to Kalosis. Menyara, who has always been like an aunt to Nick and even delivered him, tells him that she bound his powers when he was born so that he would have a normal life. His powers would only unlock if he was in danger from a Chthonian or someone like War.

War tells Stryker that he left out a few things when he awakened him like that Acheron is a Chthonian and has an army of Charonte demons behind him and that Nick is the Malachai. Stryker is shocked to hear that about Nick but still wants him dead. Zephyra volunteers to send Jared after him. Jared has to do whatever she orders him to do. She adds incentive by threatening to kill Nimrod, a strange slug demon who lives disguised as a tattoo on Jared. Jared has a soft heart towards Nim so he agrees to kill Nick.

Meanwhile, War is off causing all kinds of problems. It is what he does. He causes strife and war. He spreads rumors in the Greek pantheon that Menyara aka the Egyptian goddess Ma’at is protecting the Malachai because she plans to use him against them one day. He tries to get Zephyra to kill Stryker and he gets Kessar and his gallu demons to turn on Stryker.

To beat War an unholy alliance must be made. Everyone will have to work together but can Stryker, Nick and Acheron put away their differences long enough to fight and conquer war?

I actually was routing for Stryker and Zephyra’s romance but I really didn’t like Zephyra much. I understand Stryker’s point of view and respect him a lot more but I just couldn’t get into Zephyra. She is way too cruel and mean for me. She had no problem torturing Jared. Medea, at least, showed a little compassion in her eyes towards him but Zephyra seemed to relish torturing and hurting him. Even Stryker didn’t like that.

Now that Nick is the Malachai, he has a lot more powers which may not be a good thing. He just has way too much anger towards Acheron and it could turn him towards evil. I hope not because I really like Nick.

There were a few other game changers in this book but I can’t share them at this point or I will spoil the entire book but let me just say that they are BIG.

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.

Chthonians – Humans, Atlanteans and Apollites born with godlike powers to protect their people against gods who would abuse them. They have the ability to slay a god without upsetting the balance of the universe. But for every god they slay, they lose some of their power and they will die if they kill too many gods.

DarkHunter – 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.

Kalosis – the Atlantean hell realm where Apollymi is imprisoned…well, not exactly imprisoned since she is lives in a palace and rules the realm. There is no sunlight in Kalosis so it is dark all of the time. Stryker and his Spathi Daimons also live in Kalosis.

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.

Malachai – created when the Primus Bellum was fought, the darkest power (the Marvomino) created the Malachai to fight the Sephirii. In the past, all Malachai were evil and cold-blooded because they were raised without love or compassion. They were tools of absolute evil and have the powers to destroy gods and absorb their powers without disturbing the fabric of the universe.

Sephirii – originally created as consorts to the three primal gods of light, they served to protect humans. Sephirii are the only ones who can bring down the Malachai.

Marvomino – three evil primal gods, Noir, Azura and Braith

Savitar – nobody knows much about Savitar except he is the mediator of the Omegrion, the Were-Hunter council, and he is so powerful and scary that the Greek gods don’t even mention his name for fear of him hearing it and coming after them. He once wiped out the entire Arcadian jaguar race because their leader seriously pissed Savitar off. He is also a Chthonian.

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