Dragonsworn – Dark-Hunter Series #21 – Sherrilyn Kenyon

Dragonsworn

By Sherrilyn Kenyon

Dark-Hunter #21/Hunter Legends (First I’ve heard of this one)/Lords of Avalon #?/Were-Hunter #? I’m kind of lost to where each of these are at but I will try to go over them and number them correctly soon.

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Another great adventure by Sherrilyn Kenyon! This time she paired a dragon named Falcyn with a daimon named Medea who, inadvertently, get sucked into another realm along with her sort-of-kind-of brother Urian and his grandson Blaise who thinks he is his brother.

Medea needs Falcyn’s dragonstone to heal her people from a disease her grandfather, Apollo the god, brought down upon them. Morgen Le Fey, the evil leader of Camelot and Apollo also want the stone so they keep sending their minions after them and setting traps to try to steal it.

I’m not sure I like the Lords of Avalon spin on this series because it just complicates an already complex storyline and I get a little lost. I have read all of this author’s series except for the Lords of Avalon series which was her first series she ever wrote under the pseudonym Kinley MacGregor. I did read the first one but really didn’t like it that much so I never read the rest. I’m glad I did read that first one though because it helped me understand some of the references in this book.

I won’t put spoilers in but there was a revelation in this book which will have an impact on Urian but I’m not sure it will be a good thing. You will have to read it to find out.

There are still a lot of characters who need their story told like Jared, Savitar and my favorite Jaden just to name a few.

I can’t wait for the next one but I hope it veers away from this Camelot story and more back to the Dark-Hunter side of it.

 

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.

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.

Kiss of the Night – Dark Hunter Series #4 – Sherrilyn Kenyon

Kiss of the Night (Dark-Hunter Novels Book 4)

This is the 4th book in the Dark-Hunter series. I am re-reading the series and I have to say that I am enjoying them just as much as I did the first time, if not more.

I usually put a list of terms at the beginning of the review but I’ve decided to put it at the end so it isn’t so off-putting. Some people don’t want to read all that first.

The events of this book happen concurrently with books numbers 2 and 3. There is one conversation that Wulf, the lead male character, had over the phone with Talon that also occurred in book number 2, Night Embrace, so I knew exactly when the events of this book were happening. I have no idea how Sherrilyn Kenyon keeps her timelines straight. She either has some mega elaborate timeline drawn out somewhere or she has an amazing memory about the stories she writes. I, myself, have to keep all kinds of notes to keep it straight but even then, they are chaotic and disorganized so I can’t find anything I need in them. It is just one more thing I love about this author.

The prologue is a history of the Apollites and how Apollo cursed them. In his anger, he had forgotten that he had bound his life and the fate of the world to his son. He said that as long as his blood lived so shall he or something close to that. Now, there is only one descedant left.

Wulf was a Viking raider in his human life. After spending the night with a Dark-Huntress named Morginne, he somehow woke up with his soul swapped for hers. The god Loki had helped her do this because he wanted Morginne for himself so Wulf ended up immortal and in the service of the goddess Artemis as a Dark-Hunter. Not only did Morginne switch souls with him, but she cursed him. Any human who meets him will forget him after five minutes. It makes life extremely difficult. Only the direct descendants of his brother’s line are able to remember him and there is only one left so he protects him with everything he has.

Cassandra is Apollo’s last living descendant and she has been on the run all her life. Many Apollites and Daimons believe if they kill her, they will break the Apollite curse. This is true but if she dies, so does Apollo and that wouldn’t be good for the world. Apollo holds the sun with his life. If he dies so does the Sun which would kill everyone on the planet. So far, Apollo has never helped her. She doesn’t even know if he is aware she is his last descendant in the line of the son he bound himself to or if he even cares. Apollo had many children but just one that he bound himself to.

She’s watched everyone close to her die. Her mother and two sisters died in a car explosion. Only her father is still alive. She has had to move all over the world to hide from the Daimons who are after her. But even though she hides, she will probably still die in less than a year because her 27th birthday is coming up. She doesn’t know if being half human will change the curse of the Apollites but she highly doubts it.

Cassandra has some scary Daimons after her. Stryker is another one of Apollo’s sons and he hates Apollo because he cursed him. Stryker is at least 11,000 years old and he calls the goddess Apollymi his mother although I was sure that his mother was the Apollite queen so Apollymi must be his adopted mom. But Stryker or Strykerius has swirling eyes like Acheron who is Apollymi’s son but nobody knows this except a very select few and Stryker isn’t one of them. Stryker with the backing of Apollymi has been killing Cassandra’s ancestors for centuries. He has special godlike powers but I’m not sure how he got them or why. He has an army of Daimons to command and his generals are Spathi Daimons who are as ancient as he is. He will kill anyone who gets in his way without remorse. The only two people he cannot kill are Acheron and Kat, Cassandra’s bodyguard because Apollymi won’t let him. He has no idea why but he obeys her because she has the power to destroy him.

Cassandra meets Wulf at a club called the Inferno when a group of Daimons attack her. He kills them all and then kisses her. Five minutes later, she forgot him. But later he appeared in her dreams. They make love and from then on, she remembers him.

She and her bodyguard, Kat, end up being attacked again and Wulf comes to their rescue. He realizes that Cassandra is an Apollite and is repulsed since Dark-Hunters and Apollites are enemies. But Wulf’s boss, Acheron, orders him to protect Cassandra so he does.

Then they get another big surprise. Artemis had been messing with them. To save Apollo’s line, she interfered with Wulf and Cassandra’s dreams. Somehow, Cassandra became pregnant in her dreams that she had dreamt of Wulf before he found out she was an Apollite. Most Dark-Hunters are sterile because they die before Artemis takes their soul but Wulf had never died so he was different. Now, they are linked by the baby. But will Cassandra live to see the baby grow up?

There is a lot of action in this book along with more story building and a lot of politics. We get a closer look at various important characters, we meet new ones and we get to see some of the leading characters in the last three books again.

We are learning more and more about Acheron. In previous books we learned that he was the first Dark-Hunter. Then we learned that he is the son of Apollymi and the god Archon but I’m not sure he even knows this…at least the Archon part. After the Fates predicted that Acheron would destroy the world, Archon wanted Apollymi to abort but Apollymi hid Acheron inside a queen’s womb who was already pregnant. He was born a twin to Styxx. They look exactly alike except for the eyes but aren’t really related. Or are they? We have no idea about Acheron’s human life but Styxx has tried to infer that it was shameful. Whatever it was like, Acheron doesn’t want anyone else to know.

Acheron has mad powers but whenever anyone sees them, he erases their memories of it. He also has vast knowledge and doles it out like an Oracle. He doesn’t want to mess with free will or destiny. His tattoo that moves all over his torso is actually a demon who he calls his daughter, Simi. She’s pretty powerful herself and apparently, now that Acheron destroyed the weapon that could kill her, indestructible.

There is a bunch of other facts but it would take too long to write it down here.

We also met Kat who has been Cassandra’s bodyguard for the last five years. She’s obviously more than just a human bodyguard but I don’t want to spoil the book for anyone so I can’t say more.

We meet Phoebe, Cassandra’s sister who was supposed to have died in the car explosion with her mom but was saved by Stryker’s son, Urian. She is now a Daimon.

Urian is Stryker’s only son. He is secretly married to Phoebe and secretly helping Cassandra and Wulf. But according to Kat, he is totally different away from Phoebe. He is a ruthless killer for his father. But I kind of have a crush on him anyway. Gah! I’m such a sicko!

We learn more about Apollites and Daimons too. There are secret underground cities where Apollites live. There are different groups of Apollites like the Cult of Pollux where they choose to die painfully on their 27th birthday instead of killing themselves the night before their birthday like a lot of Apollites do to avoid the painful death. There are also different kinds of Daimons. Some Daimons only kill bad humans or evil humans but a lot of those turn evil because they aren’t strong enough to handle to evil souls. Then there are the Daimons like Phoebe who only feed from another Daimon who has taken souls because they can’t bring themselves to kill anyone. It was quite the eye opener and by the end of this book I felt bad for the Apollites and even some of the Daimons.

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.

Cult of Pollux – many Apollites kill themselves the night before their birthday to avoid the long painful death but the Apollites who belong to the Cult of Pollux believe that they should die the way that Apollo wanted them to so they choose to suffer the slow and painful death where they slowly wither away over a twenty-four hour period.

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.

Anaimikos Daimon – a Daimon who only feeds of other Daimons. They do not kill for their souls.

Agkelos – Daimons who only prey off of evil humans.

Spathi – warrior Daimons who are stronger and faster than other Daimons. They can be reincarnated after their death since their disembodied essence remains intact. They are Apollymi’s guards and pets. They are identified by a mark of a yellow sun with a black dragon inside. Their leader is Stryker.

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.

DRAGONBANE – Dark-Hunter Series #26 – Sherrilyn Kenyon

This is book #26 in the Dark-Hunter Series by Sherrilyn Kenyon. The Dark-Hunter Series has different series within the series and the books tie in with other series that the author has written. I believe this one ties into Hellchaser and Were-Hunter which are both part of the Dark-Hunter Series and Lords of Avalon which is a different series altogether. I know! It can be very confusing but oh so worth it to read them. Plus, each book is contained within itself and designed to be read without having to read the rest of the series…BUT once you have read a Sherrilyn Kenyon book, you have to have more. It’s like they’re made of crack or some addictive drug.

Maxis Drago has been a part of the series for quite a while. We don’t know much about him except that he is a dragon in his true form and lives in the attic of the Sanctuary, a huge restaurant and bar in New Orleans that is supposed to be neutral ground for any species, god, demon or whatever. The Peltier family (bears in their other form) own and run it and their residence is attached.

The entire book is packed with information and history about Maxis and how he became known as the Dragonbane. It is long and complicated but I will try to describe it the best I can without spoiling the book. I’m going to do it simply and not go into too much detail but there is way more to it. I just don’t want to write pages and pages.

Thousands of years ago, a king and a god did experiments on animals, trying to join their spirits or souls with Apollites (a race that the god Apollo made in his arrogance, thinking he was better than Zeus) trying to beat the curse on the Apollite race where they die painfully at the age of 27 because the kings sons were Apollites. The king had two sons, Eumon and Linus who he planned on joining with the animals to save them from dying of the curse. Eumon was a good man but Linus was a whiny, spoiled little snot.

Maxis and his brother Illarion were captured and made part of these experiments. The experiments ended up making two different kinds of “Were-Hunters” or animal and human mixes; those that are born in animal form and later can shift to their human form were called Katagaria and those that are born in human form who can later shift into their animal form were called Arcadian. Katagaria can also be born in human form and be thought of as Arcadian but can later become Katagaria…I’m not sure of the science or story behind that bit.

Linus wanted to be joined with a dragon but his brother was joined with a dragon instead while Linus was joined with a wolf. Linus was jealous of this. Long story made short. Maxis ended up being branded as the Dragonbane, physically marked and branded. The story that everyone has been told and handed down for generations was that Maxis killed one of the princes which made an avalanche of problems, the biggest being the gods made a curse on all of the Were-Hunters pitting Katagaria against Arcadian and forever warring against each other. For that, all Were-Hunters hate the Dragonbane but they have no idea it is Maxis.

The book starts off with the bar, Sanctuary, closing at 4am. It closes to the humans at that time but is open to the paranormal clientele for the remainder of the night. A group of female Arcadian Amazon dragon-slayers led by their queen, Nala, comes down the stairs holding a knife to one of the Peltier brother’s necks and demands to have the mate of their tribeswoman handed over to them. Of course, no one knows that Maxis is the one who they are referring to so they tell Nala to basically bite the big one. Then another Amazon woman walks down the stairs and tells them that her mate is not there so all of the other Amazons teleport away.

The Amazon woman ends up being Maxis’ mate, Seraphina, who he has not seen in thousands of years because she betrayed him. One part of the curse against Were-Hunters is that they don’t get to choose their own mates. The Fates choose them instead. When two Were-Hunters meet and if the Fates decide they should be mated, sometimes it seems just to be cruel, both Were-Hunters receive a tattoo on their bodies. Usually, the mark is on their hands and it burns when appears. After the mark appears, the two are forever tied to each other. The male can never have sex with another female again because it renders them impotent for all other women and makes them physically sick and in pain if they attempt to have sex with anyone but their mate. So Max has been abstinent ever since he left Seraphina.

Maxis met Seraphina in a tavern just after his brother Hadyn was killed. He was there mourning. Seraphina was there because two times a year her kind go into heat and need to have sex so they go into the nearby towns and search for lovers. She seduced Maxis, thinking it would be a one night stand but then the Fates mated them. In their passion, they didn’t ask anything about each other but then Sera saw the Dragonbane mark on Maxis’ thigh and she knew he was…or she thought…he was a Katagaria dragon, her enemy. She and her tribe hunt and kill Katagaria dragons. When she was a child, a group of Katagaria dragons killed her whole village including her mother. She believes they are unfeeling animals.

They work it out and he agrees to go live with Seraphina and her tribe but the tribe is awful to Maxis. He endures anyway. Sera always sided with her tribe and queen. She was also demanding. Amazon’s believe the female is the boss and expect the male to do as they say and she demanded that Maxis be waiting for her in camp when she returned from battle and for him to have her dinner waiting for her. But while she is gone, the tribeswomen paw him and touch him inappropriately along with treating him poorly.

Once while she is gone, Nala tries to force Maxis to have sex with her and when she got forceful with him, he physically removed her from his tent. When Seraphina returned, Nala lied to her and said Maxis attacked her and demanded that Seraphina put a special magickal collar on him that would prevent him from shifting fully into his dragon form and bring him to her for punishment. And Seraphina did! Nala and her tribe almost killed him, cutting up his wings and beating him. He told Seraphina that he never wanted to see her again. His brother, Illarion, rescued him and took him away.

Now, Seraphina wants Maxis’ help. She tells him that his children need him. What children? Yeah, she was pregnant with his twins when he left and due to a long series of events, including a Zeus turning her tribe into stone, she never got around to finding him to tell him. Their son and daughter were taken by the gallu demon, Kessar, who is demanding the Dragonbane in exchange for the children (young adults, Were-Hunters age more slowly and plus they were entombed in stone for a long time). Kessar has gotten ahold of The Emerald Tablet and with the Dragonbane’s heart can do some sort of spell that will help him kill Stryker and the daimons he leads. Stryker is Kessar’s enemy but once was an ally until Kessar betrayed him. The daemons have learned that if they feed off of gallu souls that they can walk in daylight so Kessar wants to kill them.

What Sera doesn’t know, is that Nala is in league with Kessar. She made an agreement with him to hand over Seraphina’s children if Kessar released her tribe from the stone. And that Kessar has discovered that Maxis is the father of the children and he knows something about Maxis that he could use to destroy the world and even rule it. Kessar begins making plans that could release The Destroyer otherwise known as Apollymi, who would destroy the whole world and only leave darkness behind.

I gobbled up the pages of this book because I am such a fan of this series. I was lost in the drama, politics and history of the story which can get downright confusing and complicated. I found myself having to look up a few things to try to remember certain legends and why a certain law or curse happened or who certain people were. I mean, I know the characters in the books but there have been 26 of them so far and I forget who is related to which god or demon and so forth. Luckily, Sherrilyn’s website is FANTASTIC. It’s not just a page that shows her books and upcoming events or releases but she has a list of characters and their basic backgrounds, a family tree for one of her series and even a playlist to go along with each book. I am not sure she has a list of terms or if she does, how to get to them but I Googled some of the terms which brought me to that particular term on her website but I didn’t see an actual page that had the terms. That is okay though. Her website is better than any other author that I have seen.

I am currently reading a book that I have somehow missed. How the hell did I do that? It has multiple Dark-Hunter short stories or novellas in it. I read the first one, House of the Rising Son and then took a quick break to read this book but will continue reading the rest of the stories. I’m also thinking about re-reading the series, something I have never done with any series before except for Narnia when I was a kid. That should take me a good chunk of time and keep me busy until the her next book comes out…I read her other series too so I know the next book in The League series comes out in about three months.

I recommend this book series or any of her book series to everyone who likes paranormal romances. Even if you aren’t so into the romance part, the plot and storyline with all the myth and creatures is so interesting that it is worth it.

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