Everyone just thought of Jullien eton Anatole as a fat spoiled royal jerk but there is always another story behind what people think they know and see. Anyone who reads this series runs into Jullien throughout the series. He is always high and quite the asshole but in a previous book, we know he saved the families of most of the heroes of the series from being bombed. It was a total shocker and it let us know that there was much more to Jullien than we knew.
This book spans over many years and we see events that coincide with other events in the previous books of the series. The series isn’t always written in chronological order because the events occur over many years and a lot of the events happen concurrently. It gets really confusing and I found myself wishing I had re-read the series before I started this book because I had forgotten so much yet kept remembering events as they transpired but since I saw them from another angle and from another character’s viewpoint from a previous book, it gave me a whole other perspective. Wow! That was a really long run-on sentence and I’m not sure I got my point across exactly as I wanted to but it’ll do.
I absolutely fell in love with Jullien, not because of his tortured childhood and past…or maybe because of it but because of his dark and sarcastic humor, his perseverance and his soft heart towards children. He was shown no love when he was a child yet he was patient and loving toward children. It’s how the book began. He was in a seedy bar on some planet, dying from a poisonous stab wound, when he saw slavers trying to buy a teenage Andarian boy who had spunk and was fighting them all the way. While the other patrons just ignored it, he couldn’t let the slavers take the kid so he decided to use his last strength to free him. The teenager’s mom, Ushara, showed up with her pirate crew and kicked butt and saved Jullien too.
Jullien had a rough life….no that is too soft of a word for it but I can’t think of a word that encompasses the horror that was his life that made me want to cry, vomit and commit murder. His grandmother was an evil power-hungry bitch who made his life miserable but she wasn’t the only one. His own mother wouldn’t even suckle him because she thought he was some reincarnation of her brother come back to haunt her yet she doted on his fraternal twin. A maid found him almost dead in his crib from starvation. After all, he was just the second born twin…a spare part to be ignored or used however anyone wanted for political gain.
After his brother was killed when they were just five or six, he became a target for his grandmother’s rage, ignored by his mother, and used by his cousins. He was teased and berated relentlessly because he was half human and half Andarian. His father’s family despised him because he was Andarian and had fangs while his Andarian family criticized him because of his human side. His grandmother, the ruler of Andaria, told him she killed his brother and she’d kill him if he said anything or angered her in any way. I mean, who tells a child that? Well, I guess someone who would kill a child would say that. Because his Aunt Parisa was involved in the murder of his twin, she and her sons became paranoid that Jullien would say something so they started drugging him. He turned to food for comfort and became overweight which just made him more of a target for everyone’s cruelty, including the media.
Those are some of the milder things that happened to him. His grandmother had a secret prison under the prison where she liked to toss him when she thought he embarrassed her or was becoming unruly. The other prisoners did not take too kindly to a noble being there and you can just guess at the other horrors that happen to a young boy in prison.
It’s a wonder he turned out sane at all or not become a psycho. Jullien did do some awful things himself because of his drugged out state and because he was treated so horribly but he felt guilty from those actions believed he was not worthy of anyone’s love. When he met Ushara, he learned he could be loved but that brought along its own troubles. Now, he had a million enemies and something to lose.
This was an extremely long book and, at times, I thought it was getting tedious with too much emphasis on things that I thought weren’t really relevant to the storyline but I know I should trust Sherrilyn Kenyon because she always has a reason for what she includes in her writing. It may not be significant in this book but it will definitely be relevant to a future book. There was a lot in this book about Trajen Thaumarturgus, Thraix Sparda, Bastien Cabarro, Jupiter Hinto and Chayden Aniwaya so any of these hotties might get their own book. I can’t wait to find out.