King’s Cage – Red Queen #3 – Victoria Aveyard

Mare Barrow has been captured by Maven, the Norta King. She’s paraded in front of the noble houses and world with Maven holding a chain connected to a spiked collar around her neck.

No one is coming to rescue her and escape is impossible. She’s put in a cell to rot. Bracelets and anklets of Silent Stone were specially made to extinguish her abilities to manipulate electricity. She has at least two Arven guards with her at all times. Their power is to block the powers of others. Without her abilities she begins to slowly waste away.

Mare will not fade easily though. She keeps fighting anyway she can.

I was really disappointed in her when she, once again, read Maven’s propaganda to the world. Most heroes would have fought or died for the cause before they did something that would hurt their movement.

The POV of Cameron, a fairly new character, shows the reader what is going on with the rebels. She does not want to be part of the cause but is there because she has no other place to be. Her only goal is to free her brother from the front lines of the war. She helps the Scarlet Guard while petitioning their leaders to help her rescue her brother. She’s a thorn in everyone’s side but I agree with her that Cal and Mare’s futile hope that Maven has some kind of good in him has caused a lot of problems. Maven is a lost cause. He’s twisted and evil.

I am not a fan of detailed battle scenes, especially if they go back and forth a lot or last a long time I skip over most of it until the end of the battle. This author includes a lot of scenes where people are sparring during training and actual battles. I only like when a villain is killed.

I did start liking Mare a little in this book. She had a lot of time to reflect on all her mistakes and how short-sighted she had been.

I think there is only one more book left in the series but it doesn’t come out for two more days.

The Bourbon Kings – Book #1 – J. R. Ward

I wasn’t sure if I was actually going to read this book because, although it is written by one of my favorite authors, it is not a paranormal romance nor a historical romance but I couldn’t resist all the hype about it so I went ahead and read it.

I liked it. J. R. Ward is at her best when she is writing about rich people. She knows her expensive clothing and accessory designers. I wouldn’t know a Rolex from a gumball machine watch but she does and she makes it seem all so glamorous.

The characters were just my kind of characters…all flawed, not pure and innocent but not evil either…well not most of them. I cannot stand sweet and innocent characters. They bore the crap out of me. Have you ever met a sweet and innocent person above the age of fifteen? Neither have I? I’ve met people who think they are perfect but they tend to be judgmental and lack a sense of humor. So, I like the characters in this book.

Even though I enjoyed the book, I probably won’t read any more in the series just because I am more into paranormal romances and historical romances and I spend enough money on those.

 

Born of Betrayal – The League #10 – Sherrilyn Kenyon

Born of Betrayal

The League #10

Finally, it is Fain’s story! Fans of The League series know Fain from previous books but have only had glimpses into his life which just made us more curious about his story and background. He is the brother of Dancer Hauk whose story was in book # 8, Born of Fury.

Over 20 years ago, Fain Hauk gave up his one true love, Galene of the Winged Blood Clan of Batur, in order to protect her and his family. He had no idea that Galene was pregnant with his child when he left Andaria so his son, Talyn, was raised as a bastard and Outcast in accordance with the strict Andarian law and Caste system. Talyn’s story was in book #9, Born of Defiance.

Fain has led a pretty tough life since he has left Andaria but even before he left, things weren’t easy on him. His parents were too concerned with their place in society to dole out any love. They were cruel, petty and hate-filled and caused Fain and his brothers nothing but pain and misery. When he left, Fain was enslaved by Venik, one of the most vicious and feared of the Tavali (a coalition of freighters and pilots who are independent of any tyrannical nation, basically pirates who protect their own) but even though Venik was basically his owner, he viewed Fain as a son or friend. The relationship is complicated to say the least and I have a feeling that we will be seeing more of Venik in future books. The Tavali under Venik secretly fight for the Sentella, a group that opposes The League. The League is an organization of politicians and assassins who were originally meant to keep the peace but it has become corrupt and now rules the Universe by killing anyone who dares to go against them.

Galene and Fain are thrown together for a military assignment where they have to work together against a common enemy. They have a lot to overcome and learn about each other but can they truly ever forgive each other?

I found this book to be just okay. While I liked the overall story, I found the romance didn’t do much for me. I don’t know why. It just didn’t pull at my heartstrings. I found myself more interested in what was happening with all the other characters and the background story than with Fain and Galene. I do look forward to future books though because I need to know what happens with certain characters and what happens with Andaria.

Omega – Penton Legacy #3 – Susannah Sandlin

This is the 3rd book of the Penton Legacy series and I’m loving it.

In the last book, Absolution, one of the beloved characters was killed. It was surprising because Melissa was such a big part of the series. She was sweet and was the unofficial welcome wagon for new residents of Penton and she never failed to lend a hand when needed. Matthias, who is Penton’s biggest enemy, had one of his minions break her neck right in front of everyone. In this book, we learn that she is alive and that Matthias had his minion carry her away and turn her into a vampire. There is a big discrepancy in the two books which really bothered me. It clearly stated in the last book that the minion broke Melissa’s neck with an “audible snap”, in which case she would have been dead and she couldn’t be turned but in this book, it was changed to her throat being cut and then the minion dragging her off to change her into a vampire. I went back and re-read that part just to be sure and her neck was definitely broken and not cut. I think it showed poor planning on the author’s part but I was glad she brought Melissa back…well, kind of…after reading the 4th book, I didn’t really like her that much.

This book was about William Ludlum, Matthias’ son who he wants back…not because he loves him but because Matthias believes William belongs to him and should be loyal to him just because he is his son. Matthias was never really a good father to Will. After Matthias was turned into a vampire, he decided to turn his entire family into vampires despite the low survival rate. Will’s sister and mother did not make it. Will was only 22 at the time. When Will wouldn’t bend to Matthias’ every evil wish, Matthias would have him beaten or worse. The last time he punished Will, he sent him with one of his lieutenants, Shelton, who Matthias knew was a sadist and liked young men. Shelton tortured and raped Will who then was returned to Matthias and acted like he had broken and changed to be pliant but ran away from Matthias and kept gone.

Now that Matthias knows where Will is, he has used it as an excuse to ruin the town of Penton and everyone in it. Penton is a town that Aidan Murphy, a master vampire, created in order to escape starvation from the Pandemic Vaccination that almost every human in the world received after a worldwide epidemic. The vaccine turned the vaccinated human’s blood into poison for vampires. Vampires are now starving and having a hard time finding unvaccinated humans to feed off of. The problem is that many vampires don’t just feed off a human, they kill them unnecessarily. Aidan Murphy believes humans should be treated fairly and not be treated as just food. He has found unvaccinated humans who have agreed to live in the town of Penton in exchange for a good life and letting a vampire feed off them. Most of the humans used to be drug addicts who Aidan and his right hand man, Mirren, helped to get off the drugs or they were homeless or had other severe problems. Penton is a chance to start over again. Will pledged his loyalty to Aidan and became part of his scathe, a group of vampires who are bonded and loyal to each other. Matthias has used the size of Aidan’s scathe to strike fear into the hearts of the Vampire Tribunal who believe Aidan plans to overthrow them.

When Matthias killed Melissa, he had taken over the town of Penton. While he was busy threatening the leaders, the rest of the town went into their evacuation plan called Omega. They snuck down into a tunnel which was located in the church with an elaborate door that looked like part of the flooring in the church. After a huge fight, all the other members were able to escape Matthias and enter Omega which had another entryway miles away. After you go into the tunnel in the church, there is a small area and then steel doors which would take break through. On the other end, there is a long tunnel leading to steel doors.

The leaders of Penton decide to use Cage Reynolds as a spy to infiltrate Matthias and his followers. While this book was mostly about Will Ludlum, it had a lot about Cage who recently joined the Penton scathe under orders from his leader, the UK Tribunal representative Edward Simmons, to learn about the town of Penton and to see if it would be a viable option for the UK vampires. Aidan Murphy knows about this but hasn’t let it be known to everyone else until now. The Penton leaders decide that since Matthias does not know Cage is with them that Cage should tell Matthias that he is there on Edward Simmons’ behalf to help him. As soon as Cage gets out from underground, he calls Edward and tells him of their plan. Edward is one of the few Tribunal leaders secretly backing Aidan and his scathe.

Matthias accepts Cage’s story but isn’t trustworthy of anyone so he doesn’t share any secrets with Cage. He gives Cage a room under the Penton Clinic where Cage discovers a locked door, picks the lock and finds Melissa Calvert tied to the bed, starving, afraid and a vampire. He ends up rescuing her which blows his cover and effectively blows Edward’s Simmons’ cover. Matthias has the backing of the leader of the Tribunal, Frank Greisser and since, in the last book, Mirren killed a Tribunal member to save his mate and Aidan turned his mate Krystal into a vampire to save her life which is against Tribunal law at the moment, the Tribunal has issued warrants for the Penton scathe members.

Meanwhile, a lot of humans are abandoning Omega, they just are too afraid or don’t want to live underground for an extended amount of time. Aidan and Mirren are the only master vampires which means they are the only ones who can wipe the human’s memories so they are spending a good amount of their time traveling at night to take the humans to nearby cities and drop them off. Will and his annoying but capable partner, Randa, who Aidan teamed him up with have to take charge of Omega while Aidan and Mirren are gone. Will keeps doing things he shouldn’t be capable of doing and thinks he may be turning into a master vampire.

Matthias starts stepping up his game. He starts using bloodhounds to try to find Omega and hired someone to poison the streams around Penton which started making the humans sick. He had tortured and lied to Melissa, saying he captured her husband Mark. Melissa gave in and told Matthias about the entrance to Omega under in the church. Melissa tells Aidan that she told Matthias so Aidan puts guards outside each steel door. While Will and Randa are guarding the outside entrance of the steel doors, they see the hidden entry hatch open. If anyone enters, they can only enter one or two at a time and they will be able to pick them off easily but Matthias is smarter than that. He throws in a grenade. Randa recognizes what it is just before it goes off and jumps on top of Will to save him. They aren’t dead but Will’s leg is mangled and they are buried. One wrong move and the whole thing might cave in on them. They take the time to get to know each other.

A weird thing is happening to Melissa and her husband Mark. Mark thought Melissa had died and was so inconsolable that Aidan had to keep him in a trance to keep him under control. Now that he knows Melissa is alive, Aidan takes him out of the trance but Melissa doesn’t seem to want anything to do with Mark. She told Aidan’s mate that she just doesn’t feel for him like she used to and thinks it is because she is a vampire now. She also is eyeing Cage like she has a crush on him and Cage seems to be looking back which ticks me off royally. I like Melissa and Mark together and I won’t accept a Cage and Melissa scenario even if the author kills off Mark.

It seems like the people of Penton are fighting a losing battle. There was some good news in the book but a lot of bad news went with it.

I have already read the last book, Allegiance. I usually do my review before reading another book but I was sick with some sort of flu and just couldn’t concentrate enough to do a review. I felt so icky that I couldn’t even read that much which means I’m really really sick.

Styxx – Dark-Hunter Series #22 – Sherrilyn Kenyon

So many people to hate. So little time…uh…okay, so 11,000 years and 837 pages is a lot of time to hate. I was the one hating on the characters who did Styxx wrong because Styxx erroneously loved a lot of them. I think I mostly hated Apollo, Styxx’ father, his Uncle Estes and his sister, Ryssa but the list is a lot longer than that.

If you follow the Dark-Hunter series, you would have believed Styxx to be a villain especially if you read book #14, Acheron, about Styxx’ twin brother and star of the series. That book was from the POV of both their sister Ryssa and Acheron and it did not paint a pretty picture of Styxx. From their point of view, Styxx was a spoiled, arrogant and cruel person. But we learn in this book, nothing is ever as it seems. I really did not like Styxx before this book and couldn’t figure out how Sherrilyn Kenyon was going to make him likable after some of the things he did to Acheron but I was very wrong.

The backstory is that the Atlantean goddess Apollymi finally conceived a baby after centuries of trying and failing. Her faithless husband Archon who was the king of the Atlantean pantheon of gods, ordered her to get rid of it after his bastard triplets, the Fates, spoke a prophesy that the child would be the death of the Atlantean pantheon. The Fates said it was an accident that they spoke it but I believe it was out of jealousy and so did Apollymi. Of course, Apollymi, the goddess of destruction, did not listen to Archon. She, with the help of her faithful Charonte demon, birthed her baby and had him hidden inside an already pregnant human queen, thinking her child, Apostolos, would be raised as royalty and want for nothing until he reached the age of majority when his powers would be unleashed.

Unfortunately, she trusted the wrong goddess to help her. Epithymia, the goddess of desire, helped the human queen birth Apostolos and she touched him on purpose to make his life difficult. Because of her touch, she made humans and even gods desire him sexually. It really messed his life up. Not only did Apollymi choose the wrong goddess, the Greek royal couple she chose was not at all happy to learn that one of the twins was sent from the gods. They named the children Acheron and Styxx. They refused to accept Acheron as their own and treated him like garbage.

At the age of seven, the king let his perverted brother, Estes, take Acheron to live with him in Atlantis where he made him into a sex slave and sold him to anyone who could pay the price. The king turned a blind eye to what Estes was doing and let his siblings believe he was living a life of luxury. Estes lied to Acheron and told him his siblings hated him just as much as the king and queen did. He kept Acheron drugged most of the time and beat him when he wasn’t cooperative. After Estes died, Acheron came back to Greece but was not welcomed by the family except for by his sister Ryssa. The only reason the king kept him alive was because his life was tied to Styxx’ life. If Acheron died then so would Styxx. But the king beat and tortured Acheron for the smallest conceived offense and made sure that he knew he lower than dirt in his eyes.

In Acheron’s book, Styxx also treated Acheron poorly. For the most part, it was the king but there were a few things that stood out like when Styxx had Acheron gelded for supposedly trying to rape his fiancé and when he pointedly told him that he was not his brother. But we found out why a lot of that happened in this book.

I didn’t really like Ryssa in the last book even though I think I was supposed to like her. Every time she helped Acheron, she ended up making things worse for him because she never thought it out well enough and because she just didn’t have the power or authority to protect him. She also seemed a bit spoiled and naïve. In this book I learned to loathe her. She favored Acheron and thought Styxx was a pampered spoiled brat. She treated Styxx poorly even when he was only five years old. She’d hit him and say vile things to him which no one should ever say to a little child no matter how spoiled they are. She would go out of her way to have him punished. She’d tell him horrible things but if he said anything back to her she would run and tell her father who would punish him severely. When Styxx’ crazy mother stabbed him repeatedly when he was twelve years old almost killing him, Ryssa said that it was probably because Styxx provoked her and that their mother was a gentle soul. Yeah…because stabbing your child is always an acceptable way to behave. Ryssa was spoiled and allowed to do a lot of things she shouldn’t have been allowed to do.

Styxx’ father did not pamper him. In fact, he was suspicious of him and questioned his paternity. He believed that his wife cheated on him and Styxx may not have been his either. He would force Styxx to study hard and work hard from the time he was able to walk and talk. He would gift him with something and then take it away or destroy it as punishment so Styxx really didn’t have much. While Ryssa got anything she wanted without having to work for it, Styxx had to work hard for everything he had. His father would force him to work a ten hour day and get paid for two of the hours. Styxx never got to play with other children or have fun. He was tutored, taught how to fight and worked. That was his life. His father would have him beaten for the smallest offense.

One night, his father went into his room drunk when Styxx was a small boy. He talked more to himself than to Styxx but he basically asked if Styxx was really his son. He then took a knife and slashed Styxx’ arm and made blood pour out of it. That made his father wake up and he apologized but the damage was done already done and left a terrible scar.

Since Styxx was born, he could hear the gods screaming in his head. The Atlanteans gods were searching for Apostolos to kill him. They thought that he may be able to hear them and it would drive him insane. For some reason Styxx was able to hear them also. It would overwhelm him and give him terrible headaches and nosebleeds. He also could hear the thoughts of everyone around him. The only one who ever could soothe his head was Acheron. Before he was taken away, he would sneak into Styxx’ room and they would sleep back to back. When Acheron was near, his head was calm and quiet. They promised to be brothers forever. The other strange thing was that he could feel Acheron’s pain. If someone would slap Acheron across the face, Styxx would also feel it. If Acheron was flogged or beaten, Styxx would feel it but Styxx never mentioned any of this to anyone else besides Acheron because he did not want to seem different or inhuman. His father already treated him bad. He might kill him if he thought he was not totally human.

When Styxx was thirteen or fourteen, he felt a horrible pain go through his tongue and it swelled. He was attending daily duties with his father when he bent over from the pain and couldn’t breathe. One of his father’s attendants looked at Styxx and told his father that he Styxx was possessed and they needed him to get to Dionysus’ temple so the priests could treat him. At the temple, the priests tortured him for months. They burned his thighs and legs with hot pokers. He screamed so hard that he injured his vocal chords and his voice became permanently hoarse.

When Dionysus spotted Styxx in his temple, he went to his brother, Apollo, because he knew Apollo loved beautiful people and knew he would want Styxx and he did. He kissed Styxx but Styxx was repulsed by him which made Apollo angry and just want him even more. He told Styxx that he would end his suffering if he would beg him to be with him but Styxx refused. Apollo sank his fangs into Styxx’ throat and drank his blood. He visited often to torture and drink from him.

Styxx’ Uncle Estes came to visit him and was shocked at the scars on Styxx’ body and promised he would get him out. He brought his father but Xerxes only berated Styxx. He wouldn’t even look at him. Styxx spent another four months being tortured by the priests and Apollo. Finally, Apollo told him if he just held him like a lover…no sex…while he drank from him, he would send him home. Styxx agreed.

When Styxx was fifteen, his Uncle, who visited every year in August but never brought Acheron with him, brought five nobleman along with him to Didymos to visit. He had previously convinced Xerxes to let him take Styxx hunting with him alone. His uncle and the nobleman, one who was an Atlantean prince named Xan, took Styxx hunting and for a week kept him drugged and raped him. Estes told him that his father would never believe him because his father loved Estes way more than he ever loved Styxx and Styxx knew it was true. Estes also told him what he was doing to Acheron, that he made him a sex slave and sold him to men and woman who could afford his steep price.

When they arrived back home, Styxx decided to go to Atlantis and rescue Acheron. He thought he could make it before Estes arrived back in Atlantis but it didn’t work out that way. He found Acheron who was shaking in his boots with fear…well, not boots because Acheron didn’t own any clothes. He was kept naked except for his slave necklace and bracelets. Acheron didn’t trust Styxx because Estes had poisoned him against Styxx. He stalled and when Estes arrived, Acheron called out to him which caused Estes to catch Styxx. Estes captured Styxx and drugged him. He held him for months and when Styxx came out of his drugged stupor, Estes told him the horrible things that were done to him. He told him he had sold him to twenty-two men and that Acheron had even held him down as he was tattooed with the word “tsoulus” on his groin which means sex slave. Estes told him that when his hair grew back, it would cover it but he was marked. Styxx had some memories of Acheron laughing at him and holding him down but Estes also told him that Acheron was drugged and has no memory of Styxx ever being there. Estes had written to his father and told him that he had Styxx and was keeping up with his studies and Estes would be sending him back shortly. The wording of his letters was all done in double innuendos which were pretty sick but they went right over his father’s head. From then on, every year that Estes arrived in Greece, he would rape Styxx and sell him to noblemen.

Styxx had had enough. He jumped off a cliff to commit suicide but survived and the sea washed him ashore. Broken and alone, he forced himself to start walking home. He stopped in a clearing by a stream and met a blind woman named Bethany. Bethany was really the goddess Bet’anya who was in Greece to look for Apostolos for the Atlantean gods. She hadn’t really been looking much because she didn’t agree with them that he should be found and killed. Styxx told her his name was Hector, a rich merchant’s son because he just didn’t want her to treat him like everyone else did. She was nice to him and they starting meeting regularly there and fell in love.

The Atlantean queen declared war on Greece so his father sent Styxx who was barely sixteen to lead his army to war which was strange since his father always berated Styxx on his fighting skills. His men were angry at first but once they saw what a brilliant strategist and fighter Styxx was, they admired and respected him. His one friend was Galen, the man who tutored him since he was little how to fight. He became like a father to him. When he was wounded, Galen would stitch him up. Styxx managed to get his troops all the way to Atlantis and became known as the Stygian Omada. In one battle, he killed Xan who was Apollo’s relative. Apollo was secretly behind the war and working with the Atlantean gods so that his Apollites would take over Greece and then the world. His ultimate goal was to take down Zeus and become the ruler. Styxx angered Apollo when he killed Xan so Apollo appeared to him that night and beat him, raped him and branded his back with his mark, essentially telling all others that he owned Styxx.

Because Styxx was winning the war, the Atlantean gods decided to try to make peace and appease Apollo at the same time. They had Styxx’ father offer up Ryssa as a mistress for Apollo which ended the war.

Styxx arrived back home to a father who was ungrateful and to Apollo who was still angry with Styxx. Bet’anya figures out that Hector is really Styxx of Didymos and decides that she needs to leave him and does. Apollo has Styxx kidnapped and uses him as entertainment for the Greeks gods and then handed him over to the Atlantean queen. Apollo had one of his lackey gods masquerade as Styxx for the entire year he was in Atlantis and in Katoteros, the Atlantean god realm. It was the god masquerading as Styxx who gelded Acheron. Bet’anya finds out what was happening to Styxx and rescues him but Styxx has no idea Bet’anya and Bethany are the same person. Bet’anya looks completely different from Bethany’s human form.

Sherrilyn Kenyon wrote a book of novella’s to go along with the Dark-Hunter series. One of the books, if you read them in the order they are supposed to be read, should be read just before this book. It is about the goddess Bathymaas and a human Chthonian or god killer named Aricles. They fell in love but Apollo, who was in love with Bathymaas was jealous and ruined it for them. He tricked Bathymaas into killing Aricles by disguising Aricles as a deer. Bathymaas almost destroyed the world over it and to save the world, her father had her reborn as Bet’anya. There is a lot more to the story but that is the short version.

Styxx’ life goes on and is just as miserable as before with Apollo plotting against him, his sister and Acheron hating him and his father berating him. The one good thing was that Bethany and Styxx reunited and became engaged. She became pregnant with Styxx’ child I don’t think I’m giving the story away because, if you read the book Acheron, you know the basics up until Apollo killed Acheron just after his twenty-first birthday when Acheron received his god powers. The Atlantean queen had sent out assassins who killed and ripped apart Ryssa and her child. Acheron was so high that he was unable to help Ryssa and her child and he slept in the room next door to them. Styxx was pissed that Acheron didn’t help them so when Apollo flashed in the room, he told him that Acheron let her die. Apollo, killed Acheron which also killed Styxx.

We know that there are two ways to free Apollymi, one is if Acheron ever goes to Kalosis where she lives and the other is if he dies. When he died, she was freed. She sank Atlantis and destroyed most of Greece. She set the world back into the Stone Age. She went to Katoteros and obliterated all the gods there, turning most of them to stone. She was going to spare Bet’anya until she heard the father of her unborn child was Styxx. She had the same story as we had from Acheron’s and Ryssa’s eyes. She ripped the baby out of Bet’anya’s womb and killed Bet’anya by turning her into stone. It was so awful that I cried. Apollymi only had a second hand knowledge of Styxx through the eyes of Acheron, not the real story.

Because Artemis returned Acheron to the living, Styxx also returned to the living. We knew this or assumed this but we didn’t know what happened to Styxx afterwards. We read about him in a few books, one where he tried to kill Acheron and then we just had brief glimpses of him. What happened in this book was that Styxx also returned to life but he was now full of hatred…especially toward Acheron. He felt that Acheron had caused a lot of his misery and because his mother had put him into the womb with him, had destroyed his life. Without Bethany and Galen, his life was nothing. He wanted to die and was hell bent on killing Acheron. Artemis knew this so she sent Styxx to the Vanishing Isles. I wasn’t clear where exactly this was but there wasn’t another human on the Island. She told him that she would have supplies sent to him so he could live but after a few centuries, she stopped. He lived there for over 11,000 years alone and unable to die. He had to make his own crude tools, kill animals and dig clams to eat and cloth himself.

I would have gone insane but Styxx did not. Dionysus came to him and offered him a deal to get him off the island if he would kill Acheron. That is what we saw in a previous book.

Artemis imprisoned him alive in Tartarus and sent the goddess of memory to him who forced him to live in a tiny cell and relive Acheron’s memories over and over again. After that, Styxx tries to go on with life but he is really miserable. He tries to apologize to Acheron and asks to start over again but Acheron is rude and dismissive of him. I started to not like Acheron over it. The only one who befriends Styxx is Urian, the man Acheron saved when he was killed by his own father.

There is a lot more to the book but it would give too much away if I wrote about it. It has to do with Apollo’s vendetta against Acheron and Styxx and the gods who Apollymi turned into stone.

This book was heartbreaking but wonderful at the same time. At times, I had to take breaks from it because of the torture and abuse. There are three books of the series that I consider the best and this is one of them. The other two are Acheron and Dream Chaser about Xypher and Simone.

There are three characters that I want to see books about Jaden, Urian and Savitar. Urian and Jaden are my book boyfriends but I think one of the things I like about Urian is that he does still love Phoebe so I’m not sure if I want to see him with anyone else. Jaden just needs to be with me but I think there might be someone he loves and is protecting. Who knows though because he is so mysterious. I think Savitar has a thing for Apollymi and would like to see where that goes.

There are only two book left in the series that have been written so far but I am not going to re-read them as I have done the rest of the series because I have read both of them within the last 13 months. I am now done with my re-read of the Dark-Hunter series and it was worth it.

The Guardian – Dark-Hunter Series #20 – Sherrilyn Kenyon

How hot is a man who has known very little comfort or kindness yet still knows right from wrong and has the capacity to love deeply? Or am I just a sicko for thinking that? I’m a sucker for a tortured hero and Sherrilyn Kenyon is the queen of the tortured hero.

Seth is the son of the Egyptian god Set and a human woman. When he was six years old, his mother took him to pay homage to his father at his temple but instead of accepting Seth, his father berated him and his mother because Seth was scrawny. His mother, who had never been the most loving of mothers, took him out to the desert that day, smashed his kneecaps and legs to pieces with a hammer and left him to die. A month later, after he had wandered the desert and learned he was immortal and couldn’t die of thirst and hunger, a clan of jackal Were-Hunters found him and took him in as part of their family…or at least, that is what he thought until they sold him to Noir, one of the most evil beings ever, when he was thirteen. His adoptive father told him that he was so pathetic that his own parents hadn’t wanted him so why should anyone else? That was over 4,000 years ago.

Since then, Noir has drained him of his powers and tortured him. He now serves Noir without question. No, that isn’t true. He can never keep his mouth shut and always taunts Noir which earned him a bolt through his jaw and tongue to keep him from speaking. He rarely gets unchained but Noir comes to him and tells him he has a job to do for him.

Lydia Tsakali is half jackal and half dream god or Dream-Hunter. Her birth was somewhat of an enigma since the only way a Were-Hunter can have children is if they have been mated. But apparently, there is a loophole in the curse that the Fates put on the Were-Hunters that they hadn’t counted on. Everyone thinks that the Fates cursed the Were-Hunters by not allowing them to pick their own mates because it was part of the original curse where the Greek gods were offended that Lycaon dared to get around the Apollite curse of dying at age 27 by doing magickal experiments between Apollites and animals which resulted in Were-Hunters. But the truth is…that when the Greek gods refused to hand over Apollo and Artemis to the goddess Apollymi after Apollo killed her son, she promised them a day of retribution. She vowed, “A combination of all you have sought so desperately to destroy, it will survive against all odds. And its blood mixture will be your poison. And on that day when it comes for you, my laughter will ring in the Hall of Zeus, and every Greek god will feel my wrath as the die in utter agony. All hail the queen’s justice!”

Yeah, I couldn’t figure out what the heck that meant either but the author was kind enough to explain. The Fates always choose mates for the Were-Hunters because they want to make sure that this prophesy never came true. I am not sure which bloodlines they were preventing from mixing but they missed something because a god can impregnate a Were-Hunter without being mated. Lydia’s mother was a Katagaria jackal and her father was or is a Dream-Hunter…only nobody but Lydia and her father, Solin, know that. Except her mom who died a long time ago.

Lydia doesn’t know it but she is Apollymi’s curse against the gods. She is what they call “The Key of Olympus.” She has the ability to drain all of the powers from the Greek gods and give it to someone else. Solin knows this and has been hiding her from everyone who would either want to use her against the Greek gods and from the Greek gods who would kill her.

Seth’s job for Noir was to pull Solin from his world into Azmodea where Noir and Azura live. Seth can pull people in and out of Azmodea but he cannot leave. Noir took that power away from him. His job is to torture Solin to find the Key of Olympus. When he catches Lydia sneaking in to save Solin and notices how Solin obviously cares for her, he assumes she is Solin’s lover and decides to use her against Solin. He grabs Lydia and flashes her to his room that has no door to escape. He tells Solin that he has three days to find the key or he will send Lydia back to him in pieces. He releases Solin from his chains and sends him home.

Seth doesn’t what the Key of Olympus is. He is just following Noir’s orders. But he doesn’t tell Noir about Lydia for some reason. Each day, Noir asks Seth if he has broken Solin and where the Key of Olympus is and each day, he beats Seth for not succeeding. He returns to his room where Lydia is and passes out on the floor from the injuries caused by Noir and Azura. Lydia uses the sheets from the bed to bandage him while he is unconscious, not only because she is kind but because she fears that if he dies, she will die because there is no way out of the room. Seth is shocked when he wakes up that she helped him because nobody has ever helped him before.

She also helps him with his laptop. He’s been chained for centuries and was unaware of modern technology but a demon told him about computers so he conjured one. Lydia helps him with it and asks what he wants to know. He tells her he wants to learn about the Key of Olympus. She Googles it but has no luck. He asks her if the computer has pictures of sunlight so she pulls up images of sunlight scenes and she sees a look of utter amazement and longing on his face. She falls asleep while he is looking at the images.

They start to care about one another. She sees the good in him and Seth has never had anyone be kind to him without stabbing him in the back later. He’s still leery of her but he can’t help liking her.

Meanwhile, Solin sucks his hatred of the Greek Oneroi and goes to Madoc, one of their leaders, for help. He asks Madoc if he remembers the Key of Olympus. Madoc asks, “Do you mean the one you were supposed to have destroyed a long time ago?” Solin tells him he didn’t destroy it and why. They decide to ask Thorn for help. We met Thorn in a previous book #17, he also lives in Azmodea, a hell realm. He and Noir have a shaky agreement to share the realm but Thorn and Noir are far from friends so Thorn may or may not help them.

In a later scene, Solin, Madoc, Delphine and a few other dream gods are imprisoned in a glass-like enclosure. There is a traitor amongst the dream gods. We knew that from a previous book but nobody knows who it is. The traitor must have told Zeus about Lydia so he or locked up the few Dream-Hunters and Dolophoni who he knew would go against him and he has probably sent out the Greek Phonoi after her. They are three blood-thirsty granddaughters of Ares who Zeus calls upon when he wants someone killed pronto.

An alarm sounds and demons make a doorway to Seth’s room. They are under attack. He takes Lydia to Jaden and asks him to keep her safe. Jaden agrees because he owes Seth for something that happened when Seth first arrived in Azmodea. Jaden is another mystery man. We know he is Noir and Azura’s slave and that he is super powerful but we don’t know much more about him. He tells Lydia that he can never leave, that he agreed to serve them to protect someone he cares about but he didn’t go into detail. Jaden also tells her he knows everything about everything and that she shouldn’t tell Seth that she is a jackal. He then touches her head and shows her images from Seth’s past of how his parents and the jackals betrayed him. Jaden is afraid that Seth will kill her if he finds out.

Now, the Greek pantheon wants her dead, Noir wants to use her against the Greeks and she has to find a way to free Seth from Noir and Azura…that is if he doesn’t find out she is a jackal and kills her first.

This is one of those books that I couldn’t get enough of so I read until my eyes were blurry. I would have finished it in less than a day but alas, there is life outside of the book world and I had to attend to it. There was just so much I liked about this book. I loved Seth. He was big and scary to everyone except Lydia. I like characters who aren’t just black and white and who have shades of good and bad in them and Seth had lots of shades of grey in him. I liked Lydia because she was just so positive and just assumed people were good or have goodness in them. She wasn’t naïve by any means but she saw the good in Seth and Jaden. I see the good in Jaden because he is my book boyfriend. When or if Sherrilyn Kenyon writes a book dedicated to him, I will be the heroine of the story. Sherrilyn will make me younger and give me a killer body but it will still be me. Nope, I’m not delusional…not at all!

I have already started the next book.

Terms and Definitions that may help with this summary

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.

Were-Hunter – A long time ago, a king, Lycaon, with the help of a god did magickal experiments on animals of prey and Apollites to save his sons from the Apollite curse of dying when they reach the age of 27 which resulted in humans and animals to shift into each form. There are two kinds of Were-Hunters, Arcadian and Katagaria. The gods cursed them to hate each other so they always fight between the two races.

Arcadian – Were-Hunters who are born human but can shift into animal form when they reach puberty and unlock their magickal powers. Arcadians believe they are superior to Katagaria because they are more human. When they sleep, they retain the natural form of a human.

Katagaria – are animal hearted Were-Hunters who are born in animal form and able to transform into human form when they reach puberty and unlock their magickal powers. When they sleep, they retain their natural form of an animal.

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.

Dolophoni – children of the Furies who are the assassins for the gods. The gods call on them to take care of anyone they consider a threat. They use weapons forged by Hephaestus, the blacksmith of the gods, and can only be called off by the Erinyes and that never happens.

Phonoi – the granddaughters of Ares, the Phonoi are the embodiment of Killing, Murder and Slaughter. They are the ones Zeus calls out when he needs someone removed from the earth, pronto.

Apollymi – also known as the Destroyer, a powerful Atlantean goddess who destroyed everyone else in her pantheon over an event that nearly tore out her heart. After sinking Atlantis into the ocean and practically annihilating the world, the Greek gods imprisoned her in the nether world called Kalosis. She may be contained but she is far from helpless. Nobody wants to piss her off because she will crush them. If she ever gets free again, not only will she kill the Greek gods but she will obliterate the world.

Azura and Noir – two of the three evil primal gods. They have a sister named Braith but they don’t know where she is or if she is still alive. Noir and Azura live in Azmodea, a hell realm and want to take over the world.

Jaden – a powerful being but nobody knows exactly what he is. He is enslaved to Noir and Azura over a bargain to protect someone he cares about but no one knows the details except Jaden and maybe Noir and Azura. He’s more powerful than Noir and Azura and could kill them at any time but he stays and they torture him horribly. He has one green eye and one brown eye and claw marks on his neck. He also is a broker between the demons and the gods or other immortals. Demons summon him when they want to make a bargain like trading their soul to him for some deed they want done. He doesn’t do the deed but he sees that it gets done. He sometimes turns down the deals, saying their sacrifice is not good enough or worth it.

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.