Night Embrace (Dark-Hunter Novels Book 2)
I am re-reading the Dark-Hunter series and enjoying it although I find myself taking my time instead of gobbling it up like I do when I read a book for the first time.
There is always so much information and story-building packed into Sherrilyn Kenyon’s books that I feel like I have to lead with some definitions and terms before I get started or everyone will be confused.
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.
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.
Were-Hunter – A long time ago, a king 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.
Arcadian Sentinel – soldiers, chosen by the Fates, who hunt down Slayers. Only a few are born to each patria. A Sentinel knows he or she has been chosen because when they reach maturity, geometrical shapes appear and cover one side of their face. Many choose to use their magick to hide the markings to blend in with humans and so other Weres don’t know what they are.
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.
Slayer – Katagaria who are lost to their animal impulses and attack Arcadians. More violent and vicious Slayers are referred to as True Slayers. Slayers and True Slayers are hunted down by Sentinels. Even other Katagaria look down upon Slayers.
Talon is an ancient Celt who was cursed by the god Camulus to lose everyone he ever loved. After he lost his beloved wife Nynia when she bled to death after giving birth to their stillborn son, he was heartbroken but had to lead his tribe and take care of his younger sister. His cousin, wanting leadership for himself, turned the clan against Talon and killed his sister right in front of him and then killed Talon. With his last breath, he called out to Artemis and became a Dark-Hunter.
Talon is now one of the Dark-Hunters for the New Orleans area. He used to share it with Kyrian Hunter but since Kyrian won his soul back from Artemis, she decided to replace him with Kyrian’s enemy, Valerius. And since Mardi Gras is coming up, she called in temporary help but she chose the most psycho Dark-Hunter of all, Zarek of Moesia. He has been isolated in Alaska for the last 900 years because he does not play well with others. Talon is not looking forward to Mardi Gras at all.
He meets Sunshine when she is attacked by a group of Daimons and he helps rescue her. One of the Daimons pushes him in front of a Bacchus Mardi Gras float and Sunshine ends up taking him home to her flat above her father’s bar.
I cracked up at how he woke up naked with pink tie-dye curtains surrounding the bed and how Sunshine and her mother talked about him like he wasn’t there. The things they said were hilarious like how they had no qualms talking about his body and his private parts. He thought they were certifiably nuts.
Meanwhile, Camulus has teamed up with the god Dionysius aka Bacchus and someone named Styxx. They seemed to have engineered the meeting between Talon and Sunshine for some reason. Camulus and Dionysius want their god statuses back and have plans along with Styxx to release the Destroyer, the goddess Apollymi, on Mardi Gras when the veil between worlds will be at its thinnest. To do this, they need to kill Acheron, the leader of the Dark-Hunters.
Each one has their own additional motives for doing this. Camulus wants to hurt Talon. Dionysius thinks he can be a powerful god and Styxx wants revenge on Acheron. The trio stir up all kinds of problems to keep the Dark-Hunters busy. They use Zarek’s reputation against him and make it look like he murdered a woman and shredded her with the metal claw he wears on his hand. Then they sic Daimons on him and call the police so they see him attacking the Daimons. He escapes but his picture has been shown on television and is now a wanted man. Artemis wants him killed because she thinks he is psycho and will expose Dark-Hunters to the humans. They use Kyrian and his best friend Julian’s hatred of Valerius to stir up trouble and keep Acheron busy playing referee between them. And they keep Talon busy with Sunshine.
Sunshine starts having dreams about Talon and his earlier life. She believes Nynia’s soul was reborn in her but Sunshine is nothing like Nynia who was timid and did everything that Talon wanted. Sunshine is outspoken and a free-spirit. She would never let a man dictate how her life should be or be second best in a relationship. She’s been there and done that already with her ex-husband who she has not told Talon about.
Talon starts falling for Sunshine but knows he can never be with her because of his curse and because he is a Dark-Hunter. He knows that if he falls in love with Sunshine, Camulus will kill her.
This book introduced a lot of characters who we will see in future books in the series and it introduced Sanctuary, a bar where a lot of action happens in future books. Sanctuary is a bar owned by a family of Were-Hunters but, as of yet, we do not know what kind or what animal. It is a place where humans, gods and Were-Hunters all gather…not that the humans know this. They just think it is a cool biker bar.
We are introduced to and/or learned more about:
Vane and Fury Kattalakis – two Katagaria Were-Hunter wolves. Vane stood in as bodyguard for Sunshine as a favor to Talon for a day while she sold her art in Jackson Square. He seems very unsociable and was bored the entire time until he saw Sunshine’s friend, Bride. He seemed interested in her.
Acheron – We know very little about this man except that he has unimaginable powers and that he was the first Dark-Hunter. His eyes are swirling silver and he likes to dye his hair different colors. He has a strange bird-like tattoo and the goddess Artemis has a strange obsession and attraction with him that he doesn’t seem to share.
Styxx – He looks just like Acheron except for the swirling eyes. He hates Acheron.
Artemis – She is….well, I don’t know what to think of her. She is a goddess so she is spoiled and selfish. She has a weird obsession with Acheron like she is attracted to him and wants him even though it is obvious he doesn’t feel the same way and she abuses and torments him. Yet she seems to be on the side of the humans and wants to protect them…sort of.
Valerius – He is the grandson and spitting image of the Roman who tortured and killed Kyrian of Thrace. Julian also hates him. Zarek, from comments Valerius made to him, was who his father used as a whipping boy. He is arrogant and haughty and thinks he is better than everyone. He doesn’t seem to have a lot of friends.
Zarek – He is totally anti-social and scary. He isn’t even nice to people who try to be nice to him. He keeps himself closed off from everyone yet I see some good in him…not much but some. I can understand why he is like this because he was used as a whipping boy all his life for Valerius’ family. When Ash met him, he was disfigured, scarred and blind in one eye. Acheron removed all of it and restored his body.
There were also a lot of other appearances of some characters who will be in future books and some who will not or have not been yet but they had very minor roles in this book so I am not going to mention them here. I don’t think I could remember them all and I didn’t jot them down as I was reading.
With each book I am amazed at how much I missed or have forgotten but now I know what to look so I am trying to keep it all organized and straight in my head. This series is already complex and it will only get more so as it continues. It keeps me on my toes and intrigued.