Retribution – Dark-Hunter Series #19 – Sherrilyn Kenyon

I love Sherrilyn Kenyon and the Dark-Hunter books but the last few books have had too much Indiana Jonesish action going on for my taste. Rather than excite me with all the non-essential action, it irritates me. I think of it as filler to make a short book longer and I usually try to skip over it. The one thing that kept me from skipping over the many action scenes in this book, was the humor. Sherrilyn Kenyon knows how to insert humor into the direst of situations which is one of the reasons I love her writing.

We met William Jessup “Sundown” Brady way back in book #3, Dance with the Devil when he helped Zarek in Alaska. He was the only Dark-Hunter who befriended Zarek and stood behind him when everyone else wanted Zarek dead. Sundown or Jess was an outlaw in the late 1800s who was trying to settle down and change his ways when his best friend killed him. It was his wedding day and he was on his way into the church with his best friend Bart behind him when Bart shot him in the back for the reward money. Artemis heard Sundown’s call for vengeance and made him a Dark-Hunter. She showed him what Bart did after he died which was kill his bride Matilda’s father and the priest and then rape her.

Matilda went on to marry someone else and had a bunch of children. Sundown made sure she was taken care of financially though. He hired a lawyer and anonymously set up a fund for Matilda, saying it was from some distant uncle. The child she had from Bart’s rape was adopted out.

Recently, Sundown was moved from Reno to Las Vegas because someone is killing Dark-Hunters in Nevada so he has been relocated to replace one of the Dark-Hunters who was killed. Rumor is that it is a woman who leads a few Daimons who has been killing them. His friend Ren, a Were-Hunter and Dark-Hunter, relocated with him.

Abigail hates Sundown with a passion. He was friends with her parents and then he turned on them and murdered them. She hid under the bed and saw his boots and then his face in the mirror. She was then adopted and raised by an Apollite family who told her that Dark-Hunters torture and kill innocent Apollites for no reason but the joy of it. To enhance her skills, her adopted brother and sister along with two friends and a doctor, merge her DNA with that of a demon. Now, she has become a vigilante and has been killing Dark-Hunters. Her biggest goal is to kill Sundown.

When Sundown chases a couple of Daimons who are dragging a woman down into the sewers, he learns it is a trap when the woman turns on him and starts fighting him and then tries to bite him. Her two friends run off but he manages to knock her out. Her face reminds him of a mixture between Matilda and Bart and he realizes who she is. Years ago, he met a woman named Laura who was a descendent of Matilda and Bart. She looked just like Matilda so he knew immediately who she was but he had her ancestry traced to be sure. He became friends with her and continued that friendship after she married and had a child, Abigail. But someone brutally murdered Laura and her husband and it was thought that Abigail was taken and probably also killed by the murderer. Now he knows she lived.

I cracked up at some of the way Sundown speaks. While he was fighting Abigail, he asks her why she is trying to kill him and she asks him, “Why do you think?” He says, “Other than the fact that you’re as loco as a three-tailed cat in a rocking chair factory, I’m as clueless as a newborn colt.”

The sun is about to come up so he rushes to his gigantic mansion with Abigail. He puts her downstairs in a bedroom suite. When she wakes up, she tries to attack him and accuses him of killing her parents. He tries to tell her that he did not kill her parents but she didn’t listen at first.

Zarek, a former Dark-Hunter turned god, pops in and tells them that some fool decapitated a Guardian. Abigail asks if they are talking about the Native American Dark-Hunter and tells them that she killed him. Zarek tells her that he wasn’t a Dark-Hunter but a Guardian of the West Lands and that he was guarding some of the worst evils possible like a couple of plagues, some weather anomalies and something called the “Grizzly Spirit”. Now that he is dead, those evils can be set free and the balance needs to be set right. And how do they do that? Choo Co La Tah (I shit you not, that is his name) has to go to the Valley of Fire and offer up a sacrifice of the one who killed Old Bear. Zarek passed a wry grin to Abigail, “That’d be you, sweet cheeks.” Then Zarek vanishes.

Abigail doesn’t believe it at first and tells Sundown that her friend Jonah did recon on all her targets first and he would have known if Old Bear wasn’t a Dark-Hunter but then an earthquake hits so they turn on the tv which is showing giant cracks in the earth with millions of scorpions boiling out of them. The basement floor buckles and cracks and scorpions start coming towards them. They run out and jump on Sundown’s bed. He breaks the ceiling open and they try to escape to the first floor but something invisible grabs Abigail. Sundown uses all his power to pull her up. It starts snowing. Then a bunch of shape-shifting coyotes start attacking them until a wolf jumps in and saves them. The wolf turned out to be Sasha who we also met in Dance with the Devil. The coyotes run away. Ren and Choo Co La Tah who is the Guardian of the North show up too.

Choo Co La Tah and Ren who is also Native American explain that there are four Guardians or were before Abigail killed one. They tell this rather long and drawn out tale about how there was some huge battle that ended up with four Guardians of the earth, two evil and two good. Old Bear was good. Now Coyote and Snake, the evil ones, have joined forces and are trying to take over. Coyote knows that Abigail has to go to the Valley of Fire before dawn of the next day so Choo Co La Tah can perform a sacrifice ritual and he wants to stop that from happening so he is sending out bounty hunters and unleashing his plagues in order to get her before they reach the Valley.

Abigail mostly believes it. She also sees that Sundown is treating her well and wonders why her family never told her about Daimons and why they lied about Dark-Hunters. She is also having visions of Sundown’s past and her past and sees the truth. But what does the dumb twit do? She runs from them. Why oh why do female leading ladies always run from the good guys when they know they will be killed by the bad guys? Abigail wanted to confront her adopted sister and brother and ask them questions. She steals a super expensive car and goes to their house and ends up killing their friend, Jonah, who explodes into dust. If she wasn’t a believer before, she now is. She leaves and runs into Sundown…literally…she ran a stop sign and clipped the back wheel of his bike.

She becomes altruistic and decides to let them sacrifice her for the sake of the world.

Here’s a little rundown, without trying to spoil the book about some of the things that happened to them in the span of a few short hours. A plague of wasps gets unleashed. They pull into car wash and have sex with each other while hiding from the wasps. Meanwhile innocent humans are being killed by the wasps. A mountain lion jumps on the hood of the car and tries to kill them. Choo Co La Tah goes into a coma but wakes up. Bloodfire rains down on them. Something hits their Bronco and it goes off the freeway and flips and weird looking monsters fight them. That is all before they get to the Valley of Fire.

Now do you see why I was a little irritated by all the action? I thought it a little much.

There was way more to this story that that there is also the legend of Buffalo and Butterfly who were cursed by Coyote to never find each other in any reincarnation because he was jealous. But you will have to read the book for that story.

I think the humor and Sasha’s sarcasm got me through this book. The story and plot were excellent but the constant action drove me insane. I kept stopping and doing other things and then coming back to it. I know this story continues in Time Untime which is book #21 and I look forward to it but I am glad there is another book in between so I get a little break.

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