Knight of Darkness – Lords of Avalon Series #2 – Kinley MacGregor

This is the second book in the Lords of Avalon series by Kinley MacGregor also known as Sherrilyn Kenyon. I don’t believe there are any more books in the series but the idea and at least one of the characters (Blaise) are continued in the last two books that were released of the Dark-Hunter series, Son of No One and Dragonbane.

Long ago, the realms of Avalon and Camelot were separated from the realm of man. After King Arthur was defeated and killed, the evil Morgen Le Fey took over Camelot while the good guys took over Avalon.

Varian is the son of Lancelot and an evil woman named Narishka who is one of Morgen Le Fey’s minions. Because of his mother’s trickery to get into Lancelot’s bed, Lancelot never treated Varian very well and none of the other knights in Avalon like or trust Varian except for Merlin who uses him as her assassin.

When Merlin learns that one of the six Grail Knights has been killed, Merlin knows she has a spy in her ranks so she sends Varian to find out what happened. The existence of the Grail Knights is only known by a select few and if Morgen learns the identities of the remaining five, she could find the Grail and become the most powerful person in the universe. Each Grail Knight knows a piece of the puzzle to unlock the whereabouts of the Grail.

Merewyn used to be the most beautiful woman on Earth, said to be even more beautiful than Helen of Troy. When her father tried to marry her off, Merewyn made a deal with Narishka to become ugly so that the man would not want to marry her and in return she would become Narishka’s servant for one cycle of the moon. But Narishka tricked her because in the land of Glastonbury, a land that was also sucked up when Avalon and Camelot were ripped from the realm of man, the cycle of the moon never completes so Merewyn has been Narishka’s servant for centuries while maintaining her hideous appearance.

Everyone in Glastonbury and Camelot treat Merewyn with disdain and disgust because of her hideous appearance but when Varian goes to Glastonbury to find out what happened to the Grail Knight, he is kind to Merewyn. Narishka sees this and realizes Varian’s one weakness is compassion and decides to use it against him. Narishka slaps a golden bracelet that negates magick onto Varian and imprisons him in Camelot. She makes a deal with Merewyn to give back her beauty and freedom if she agrees to be nice to Varian and take him food and water.

Varian sees through the rouse though and tells Merewyn that he knows she is the same person as the hideous creature and that he knows what his mother is trying to do. Narishka wants him to come to work for the dark side. Merewyn asks Varian if he will take him with her if she frees him and he agrees so Merewyn gets Blaise to help them.

We met Blaise in the first book. I actually liked Blaise better than any of the other characters in the Lords of Avalon series because of his sarcastic wit and his admitted save-his-own-butt attitude. He is a mandrake which is a dragon mixed with some other species but Blaise was abandoned by his family because of his Albinism. In his human form, he is almost blind but that does not make him any less lethal. He lives in Camelot acting as one of the bad guys but he is a spy for Merlin. The reason Merewyn knew that he would help them is because she saw the mark on his shoulder while he was bathing in the river but never knew what it was until the Grail Knight was killed and she saw the same mark on his shoulder. Merewyn knows that Blaise is also a Grail Knight.

Blaise and Merewyn are able to free Varian but unable to take the bracelet off his arm so he cannot use his magick to flash them out of the realm. They end up having to run to the Valley of No Return which is exactly what it sounds like. Morgen banishes all her lovers there once she gets bored of them. No one has ever returned and it is said that the land itself is treacherous with still water that explodes and trees that start on fire. Varian, Merewyn and Blaise may be stuck there forever.

This book was okay but lacked the wow-factor that I associate with Sherrilyn Kenyon’s writing. It is probably because she wrote it a long time ago…at least I think. If anyone has ever followed my reviews, they would know that Sherrilyn Kenyon is my favorite author of all time so to say anything negative makes me feel like I am betraying her. I think if this were any other author, I might have loved the book but because I have set Sherrilyn on my really ornate and beautiful imaginary pedestal, I hold her to a higher standard than other authors. I know it is unfair to her yet I can’t help it. If I could just believe Kinley MacGregor was a separate person from Sherrilyn Kenyon, I could really like this book because I would not have set my expectations so high.

Dream Chaser – Dark-Hunter Series #13 – Sherrilyn Kenyon

 
Dream Chaser (Dream-Hunter Novels Book 3)

Best book of the series so far…and that is saying A Lot because all of the books in this series are excellent. But the thing is, I know that the next book in the series is even better because I have already read the entire series. That is the advantage of re-reading a series. You know what is coming but also it refreshes my memory because I have forgotten so much that it is almost like reading it for the first time…almost.

This is the 13th book in the Dark-Hunter series and the 3rd book in the Dream-Hunter series. The series is getting more complex and complicated as the plot carries on. There are now a ton of characters and each one has their own mysterious backstory which gets revealed little by little in each book. All of them somehow tie into each other. I have no clue how Sherrilyn Kenyon keeps track of all of it. I have a picture in my head of a multi-layered glass bulletin board with timelines and places on it and overlaid with multi-colored string tracking characters and events that look like it was spun by a spider who was on a psychedelic trip gone wrong. I know I’m having a hard time keeping track of it all.

string art two

We met Xypher in book #11, Devil May Cry. He was in Tartarus when Kat went down to get him because she needed a Skotos crazy and strong enough to enter a gallu demon’s dreams. When she entered his cell, he was being whipped by skeletons but he was fighting back. He would grab the whip away from the skeletons only for it to reappear in their hands again for them to continue lashing at him. He’d been there for centuries so that showed how some of his determination and character. Kat made a deal with Hades to release him to help her and if he did what he promised, Hades had to make him human for a month. If he proved his humanity in that month, Hades would have to release him from Tartarus forever. Hades tells her after they made the deal that he can’t believe Kat would let something so evil out into the world. He told her that Xypher had went into the dreams of hundreds of people and drove them crazy. Most of them killed themselves. It took eleven Oneroi to kill him.

Xypher did as promised which was to find information about the gallu demon and he even helped Kat and Sin in a battle. In this book, he has been human for about a week. He still has some of his god powers but not all of them because Hades likes messing with him. Since Xypher believes he will return to Tartarus no matter what at the end of his month free, he is determined to make it count and get revenge on Satara by killing her and making her suffer in Tartarus right alongside him.

Satara wasn’t made of sugar and spice and everything nice. No, she was made of sulphur and bile and everything evil. We have met her before and she likes to cause pain and cause trouble. I’m not sure of her ultimate goal but she seems to cause a lot of trouble. She is Stryker’s half-sister and one of Artemis’ handmaidens but she hates Artemis for some unknown reason. Satara summoned Xypher into her dream when he was an Oneroi and seduced him. He became a Skoti because he liked the emotions that he was able to syphon off of her. She then pretended to love and care for him so he taught her how to dream walk and let her use his powers to do so. She used them to destroy her enemies and people she didn’t like and when Zeus and Hades decided to punish her, she ran to Xypher crying. He made a deal with someone named Jaden to give him his soul if Jaden would somehow make Zeus and Hades believe it was he who drove the people insane instead of Satara. Satara promised she would visit Xypher in Tartarus and give him a true death, one that obliterates him from the universe so he wouldn’t be tortured for the rest of eternity, but instead she visited and laughed at him about how stupid he was to believe her lies and fall for her tricks. She even beat him and tortured him. Yeah, so she deserves to have Cinderella run over her with her pumpkin coach…wait, that’s a different tale.

Simone is a medical examiner who teaches at Tulane in New Orleans. She is friends with Tate, the coroner. We have met Tate before. He is a Squire for the Dark-Hunters and covers up certain deaths which could expose the paranormal world to humans. Simone knows about Dark-Hunters and that Tate is a Squire for them. She, herself, is able to see ghosts. In fact, she is friends with a teenage ghost named Jesse who has his own bedroom in her home. She met him when she was eleven, right after her mom and brother were murdered. He helped her get through it but as she has grown and aged, he has always kept the same age. He died in the 80s and is kind of stuck in that era.

Simone has lunch with Tate who shows her a file from the latest odd murders. He thinks there is a serial killer but he doesn’t believe it is a Daimon. The latest victim got up and walked off the table while one of Tate’s assistants still had her heart in his hand after opening her up to do the autopsy. The man is in the psyche ward now, thinking he is crazy. Simone agrees to go to the morgue to see what she can get off of the victim’s belongings. She is a little psychic and can often read or interpret feelings or events from items or a body. While she is having lunch with him, she feels like something evil is watching her but she cannot see anyone so she shrugs it off.

She and Tate go to the morgue and while they are there she meets the ghost of the victim, Gloria. Gloria has no idea what happened to herself but Jesse tells her she is a ghost. They decide to drive over to the crime scene to try to jar Gloria’s memory.

They get attacked by Daimons but get rescued by a gorgeous but hostile man who may not be there to rescue them after all because he grabs one of the Daimons and demands that he opens a portal to Kalosis. Simone has no idea what the loon is talking about but then another bigger and scarier Daimon walks out of what looks like thin air and snaps a gold bracelet on the hottie-hostile-guy and then another matching bracelet onto her arm. He then tries to kill Simone. Hottie-hostile-guy shoves Simone into her car and gets into the driver’s seat and takes off. The Daimon jumps on the hood of the car but hottie-hostile-guy knocks him off while driving. Then the Daimons start chasing them in another car. Hottie-hostile guy tells her it would probably be easier for if he knew how to drive while he slams into parked cars but also manages to do a good job of getting away. Simone is all of the sudden in the driver’s seat without moving but has no time to question it because she has to get away from the Daimons.

When Simone asks him who the hell he is, he tells her, “Xypher, and you are?”

“Pissed off. You wrecked my car, shoved me around, and are a complete and utter dickhead!”

“Dear God.” He said dryly, “What a mouthful—your mom must have really wanted a son. Mind if I call you ‘Pissed’ for short? The rest of that is just too much to say every time I want your attention.”

When Jesse laughs, Xypher tells him that he needs to be careful or he’ll feed him to a Daimon. Simone is stunned that he can see Jesse. I don’t know why she was stunned since he was able to magically switch seats with her. But this is the kind of interactions they had through-out most of the book and they cracked me up.

He tells her that they are probably stuck together for a while because of the bracelets. He is pretty sure that they are meant to bind the two together.

Once they lose the Daimons, they call Tate who refers them to Julian, the son of Aphrodite who lives in New Orleans and teaches Ancient Greek Civilization at Tulane. He tells them that the bracelets were made by the Atlanteans. They are designed to bind a god or someone powerful to someone weaker like a human in order to be able to kill the god by killing the human. So whoever is after Xypher will now try to kill Simone. The other drawback is that they can’t be separated by more than 20 feet without one of them dropping dead. So now they are stuck together for however long it takes to find someone to unlock them.

It doesn’t take too long to figure out that it was Satara who sent the Daimon to put the bracelets on them. She also sent Kaiaphas, an evil demon and Xypher’s brother, after Xypher. Xypher is part dream god and part demon. Kaiaphas has to do what Satara tells him to because she holds his soul.

I absolutely adored Xypher and Simone. Xypher was a real jerk but the things he said were hilarious and he showed some vulnerabilities that just made my heart hurt for him. Simone was just sarcastic as heck and I loved it. I also liked Jesse and his 80’s hang up. I think I went through eight million emotions while reading this book. Who me? Exaggerate? Nooooo!

Xypher is set on getting revenge on Satara but also starting to have feelings for Simone who, while not taking any of his bullshit and could match his sarcasm with her own, was nice to him. She even buys him clothes and food because he had no money and Hades hadn’t given him the power to manifest clothes or food for himself so he had been sleeping on the streets and eating whatever he found. The problem is will Xypher choose Simone or choose revenge?

We got a closer look at some previously mentioned characters and were introduced to some new characters.

As always…or almost always, Acheron made a brief appearance. He gave Simone some sort of cryptic message that came into play later in the story.

Kat helped at one point also. She is pregnant and showing.

The Dimme demon Kerryna who escaped in book #11, Devil May Cry, was in this book. She isn’t as evil as previously believed but she said some of her sisters are so they should be kept locked up. She is in love with one of the Charonte demons who had disappeared in one of the earlier books, Xedrik. He is also Simi and Xirena’s older brother. It turns out that there are quite a few Charonte demons living in New Orleans. They own a bar along with Kyle Peltier, one of the Were-Hunter bears.

The most interesting character we met is Jaden. I’m pretty much in love…again. I still love Urian but I have room in my cheating, two-timing heart to add Jaden. Jaden is a mystery. Kaiaphas summons him by killing a human woman by smashing her onto an oak tree. Apparently, oak trees can be used to summon ancient spirits and other things. Jaden is known by all kinds of different names and is said to be born of the first power. Whatever that is. He is not a demon, nor god, nor human. He’s a go-between for the higher powers and demonkind. Xypher called him evil but I’m not so sure he is totally evil because of some of the things he did. After he spoke with Kaiaphas, he bent down and did a sort of blessing for the dead woman, telling her to “sleep in peace” and thinking what an unnecessary death it was. He did a few other things that seemed not so evil too but it would spoil the book if I mentioned them. Nobody knows who or if he even has a master but he has what looks like a gold collar on his neck.

This was such a good book! It was one of those that I was sad to see end. You would think that Sherrilyn Kenyon couldn’t top this book but I know that the next book is about Acheron and aptly named Acheron and it’s the one all her fans rave about…that and a future book called Styxx…so I’m off to read that now.

List of 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.

Atlanteans – A race of people who are stronger than humans. They have their own set of gods.

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.

Squire – someone who takes care of a Dark-Hunter. A Squire does everything from running errands to running the household. They are sworn to protect the secrets of the Dark-Hunters.

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.

D’ – are assigned to immortals and gods. They help Dark-Hunters with their nightmares and help them transition from their past mortal life to their new immortal life. These Dream-Hunters are the only ones who can revisit the same person more than once and usually stay with the same Dark-Hunter forever.

M’ – are the enforcers of all Dream-Hunters. They police the Oneroi to keep them from turning into Skoti and are the ones who pass judgement on any who break the rules.

V’ – are the Dream-Hunters who help humans with dreams and nightmares, usually caused by Skoti feeding off of the human’s fear and emotions.

Skoti – an Oneroi turns Skoti (Skotos is the singular form of the word) if they become obsessed by a human’s dreams. They revisit an individual either because they get a high from the human’s emotions or they become infatuated by them. The Dream-Hunter becomes an incubus or succubus. The result drains the human emotionally and physically from lack of sleep and often drives the person insane. Most Skoti are children of Phobetor but not all of Phobetor’s children turn Skoti. Oneroi hunt down and punish Skoti but many of them escape justice and prey on the emotions of humans for centuries.

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.

Dimme – seven female Sumerian demons (sisters) who a powerful and uncontrollable even by the gods. They are locked away in a tomb somewhere is the Nevada desert. The seal weakens every few thousand years so the Sumerian gods have to reseal it but there are only two Sumerians left, Sin and Zakar. If the Dimme are ever released, they will destroy the world.

Seize the Night – Dark-Hunter Series #6 – Sherrilyn Kenyon

Seize the Night (Dark-Hunter Novels Book 6)

Terms and Definitions are at the bottom of the review.

Holy Pooperstickers! This book was sooo exciting and chocked full of major events that will impact the rest of the series for good…or bad. The sad part is that I can’t tell you most of what happened because it will spoil the book for you but I can tell you that there are some heartbreaking deaths of recurring characters. I just can’t tell you who or why.

When I read this book for the first time, I didn’t really get the significance of some of the things that happened in the book so when I read subsequent books in the series, I couldn’t really remember what exactly happened that was important but now that I have the knowledge that certain events are important, I recognized them right away. Does that sentence even make sense? I’ll try to explain without giving too much away but this next paragraph will have some spoilers so don’t read it if you don’t want to know.

SPOILER ALERT!

One of the side stories in the book…and this author’s side stories are important because they are continued in later books so you have to pay attention to them…is about Nick Gautier who is a Squire. He’s gorgeous, fun-loving, kind of geeky, sarcastic and you just can’t help laughing at his antics and loving him. He grew up in New Orleans and has a Cajun accent which only adds to his personality and sexiness. He’s one of Acheron’s closest friends or as close of a friend as Acheron allows himself to have. For those of you who don’t know who Acheron aka Ash is he’s the star of the series and the leader of the Dark-Hunters. He has a lot of secrets and when certain secrets are revealed to others like the time he turned into something freaky-looking and yielded godly powers, he erases it from everyone’s memories. He oozes sexuality and danger. Acheron and Nick get along great together and Nick treats Ash as a regular guy.

In this story, Tabitha Devereaux is walking with Simi, Acheron’s adopted demon daughter, to the Sanctuary bar. Simi can change shapes and sometimes appears as a sexy goth chick and other times she is downright scary looking like a dragon with horns and wings. She also lives connected to Ash as a tattoo on his torso. He usually keeps a close watch on her because she likes to eat people and demons and such but actually obeys Ash in everything he says, literally. She finds loopholes in some of his orders. Simi is kind of child-like and speaks of herself in the third-person and has a sing-songy voice. She and Tabitha meet Nick outside of the bar. Simi greets Nick like she knows him and Tabitha has an emergency so she leaves Simi with Nick but Simi only knows Nick because she lives on Acheron and hears and sees whatever Acheron does.

Nick and Simi end up having sex. For some reason Tabitha thinks Simi is Acheron’s girlfriend so when Nick tells Tabitha what happened, she tells Nick that. Nick tells Tabitha that he didn’t know any of that and he will confess to Acheron. When Acheron does find out, he freaks out and throws Nick through a wall. He tells Nick that Simi is his daughter and she was never to have carnal knowledge which I thought was weird but whatever. Some fathers are just overprotective. But it’s more than that. It has something to do with the way women and even men treat Ash. They all, anyone who has gone through puberty to old ladies, have a sexual connection to him. He seems to have sexual pheromones that attract women and they can’t help but feel that way towards him even if they don’t want to and I think this bugs him. I think that he believed if Simi never had sex, she would never feel that way towards him. When he tells Simi this, she tells him that he has a mighty high opinion of himself and that she didn’t even like the sex so he has no worries. She said it in a way that cracked me up though. Ash is still too mad at Nick and says, “You’re dead to me, Gautier. If I were you I’d kill myself to save me from the trouble of doing it later.” I never really got the implication of those words until I read later books in the series and by then, I had forgotten the intensity of the moment and Acheron’s words. I just remembered that they had fought. My lesson and point is that when Sherrilyn Kenyon writes something and doesn’t edit it out, it usually has some significance in future books and storylines.

END OF SPOILER

Okay…And now I will get to the main storyline.

Valerius Magnus is the grandson with the same face and name of the Roman general who tortured and killed Kyrian, the Dark-Hunter from book #1 of the series. Kyrian was a Greek commander who was tricked and drugged by his wife who then gave him to his enemy. Valerius was only five years old at the time but he remembers it well because his father and grandfather forced him and his brothers to watch the torture and crucifixion. Valerius tried to run away but he was beaten and made to return to watch the torture. Even though, Valerius was a boy and had nothing to do with the torture. Kyrian hates him. He hates all Romans but he hates Valerius most of all.

When Kyrian received his soul back, the goddess Artemis needed a replacement Dark-Hunter to watch over parts of New Orleans so for reasons only known to her but probably for pettiness and to get back at Kyrian for daring to get his soul back, she replaced him with Valerius. But it seems more of a punishment to Valerius than to Kyrian because unlike Kyrian, Valerius just wants peace between them but Kyrian wants to kill him.

Because of his harsh upbringing and because he has so many people who hate him, Valerius has learned to be distant and cold. His Squire says that he has a stick up his butt and thinks he is too good for anyone else and in a way it is true. Valerius is sophisticated. He came from nobility and one of the most respected families in Rome. He has maids and a full staff to run his household and would never think of eating off a paper plate or using a microwave. He even dresses in Armani to go out Daimon hunting instead of looking like a biker like most of the other Dark-Hunters. Yet he has a soft side to him and even though he doesn’t show it, hurts that he is alone.

Tabitha Devereaux is the twin to Kyrian’s wife, Amanda. People think she is crazy because she is a self-proclaimed vampire slayer. She doesn’t keep it secret but she knows that most people think she is insane so she isn’t revealing any paranormal secrets to other humans. Despite the vampire-slaying part, people generally love her once they get to know her and she has friends all over New Orleans. She has a big heart and helps out her friends whenever possible.

Valerius meets Tabitha while out patrolling for Daimons. He sees a woman who looks like a beautiful Amazon warrior fighting with superior skill, surrounded by Daimons and doing a pretty good job of killing them. He goes to help and she accidentally stabs him in the chest as a Daimon slices his back open. When the fight is over, Tabitha gets Valerius to her place to take care of him. She figures out who he is but he has no idea who she is.

I practically rolled on the floor laughing when he wakes up and sees a large woman with a pronounced Adam’s apple sitting in a chair in the room. He looks around and the room that could only be described as ‘tacky’ with its nice antiques covered in Mardi-Gras beads, a giant toy-car road map rug and a cuckoo clock with a bird with a red Mohawk. Oh, and he is naked. Then Tabitha asks him if he is hungry and if he wants Italian food. He goes downstairs and she hands him a can of ravioli with a spoon. He sneers at it and goes back upstairs so she made him pasta with sauce. When he goes to take a bite, he notices the pasta is in the shape of penises. Hilarious!

They are two people who are opposites in class and sophistication but they fall for each other anyway. The problem is, is that he is a Dark-Hunter who isn’t allowed to have a relationship and everyone she knows hates him. Her sister would have a conniption if she ever found out.

But there is more trouble than that brewing.

Someone is after Tabitha and she thinks Desiderius is back even though he was killed when he tried to murder Kyrian and Amanda. Unfortunately, Ash tells her that Desiderius is a Spathi Daimon and they can be reincarnated. Apparently, Desiderius is a ghost right now but looking for a body and out for revenge on Tabitha and Amanda.

This time, Desiderius has help. Stryker, the son of Apollo, is the most powerful and ancient of the Daimons. He is over 11,000 years old and has the backing of a goddess in everything he does. He wants more power over the world and is using Desiderius to do his dirty work. Getting rid of Acheron and his Dark-Hunter is just the beginning of his nefarious plans but the goddess, his adopted mother Apollymi, won’t let him touch Acheron so he has to be sneaky about it so he is using Desiderius.

There are so many things that happen in this book but I can’t tell you what they are and it’s killing me. If there is one book in the series that is a must read, it is this one because this is where a lot of future events begin. It just gets more complex and complicated from here and you have to…well, you don’t have to because the author does a great job of briefly explaining everything in each book…know the full story.

Terms and definitions

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.

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.

Acheron – main character of the Dark-Hunter series. He has lots of secrets and until you get to the book named Acheron, he is shrouded in mystery. He was the first Dark-Hunter ever and is over 11,000 years old. We know he is the son of Apollymi, the Atlantean goddess and he has unimaginable powers but he hides most of them and erases anyone’s minds of any events that have revealed powers that he doesn’t want anyone to know he has. He also oozes sexuality and danger.

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.

Stryker – the leader of the Spathi Daimons. He is a demigod, son of Apollo. He hates Acheron with a passion and wants to see him dead. He lives in Kalosis under the rule of Apollymi who won’t let anyone hurt Acheron but Stryker thinks he is clever and finds ways to go after Acheron, thinking Apollymi is none the wiser.

Night Play – Dark-Hunter Series #5 – Sherrilyn Kenyon

Night Play (Dark-Hunter Novels Book 5)

This is the 5th book in the Dark-Hunter series and the 1st official book of the Were-Hunter series. I am re-reading the series and enjoying the books just as much the second time around as I did the first.

I’ve included some terms and definitions at the bottom of this review.

Once again, Sherrilyn Kenyon has outdone herself with her story-building and plot lines. I have a hard time keeping track of it all. I mean, there is a lot to the Dark-Hunter world and there are so many different characters who tie into the ongoing plot in the series, that it is sometimes difficult to keep it all straight. But the one thing I have going for me in my favor this time is that I know what to expect for certain events like when a certain background character is mentioned, I know to pay attention to them because they are probably going to be important to the plot in later books…or not…but they mostly likely will be important. (I’m pretty sure that was the worst run-on sentence ever)

We briefly met Vane Kattalakis in book #2, Night Embrace, when Talon asked him if he would be Sunshine’s bodyguard for the day while she worked at her booth selling her artwork. He was bored out of his gourd and didn’t pay much attention to anyone who interacted with Sunshine unless they seemed like a threat until Bride McTierney came up and asked if Sunshine had any new painting for her shop. I could tell Vane was interested in her because he asked Sunshine about her.

Vane is a Were-Hunter wolf. His family is beyond dysfunctional. Four hundred and sixty years ago, his father’s Katagaria pack kidnapped his Arcadian Sentinel mother and took turns raping her. His father, Markus, turned out to be her mate. He kept her for weeks, trying to force her to accept him as her mate but she refused. She escaped but gave birth to six children. Three were Katagaria pups and three were Arcadian human babies. She kept the human babies and gave the Katagaria puppies to Markus. Vane was one of the puppies. His father raised them and although he seemed to love Anya, he hated Vane and his brother Fang for some reason and was less than kind to them.

At the beginning of this book, Vane and Fang are hanging from branches of a tree above the swamp. Because they had helped the Dark-Hunters, Daimons came and attacked their pack, killing his sister and her unborn pups. Markus used this tragedy as an excuse to get rid of Vane and Fang and called out for a ‘timoria’ which means ‘punishment’ and the pack agreed. Markus put metriazo collars on them and left them to die….but Markus didn’t stop there. Markus has very little magickal powers so in order to keep ahold of his pack as the leader and keep his pack safe, he makes deals with Daimons. When a Daimon kills a Were-Hunter, they get the Were’s powers for a time. Markus sacrifices one of his pack mates from time to time, in the name of ‘timoria’ to cover it up, to the Daimons. In return, the Daimons share the power with Markus and leave his pack alone. So, as Vane and Fang are hanging from the tree, a group of Daimons comes to kill them and take their souls.

Vane’s powers are dampened by the collar but he is able to fight back and actually breaks the collar from his neck but the Daimons nearly kill Fang. He saves Fang but he is in a near comatose state and will not communicate with anyone. Vane takes him to Sanctuary and they agree to let them stay there while Fang heals, if he ever does.

Bride just read a breakup letter sent to her by her boyfriend of five years via her FedEx account. She knew it was coming but it still upset her. Her ex had never really loved her and kept trying to put her on diets because he thought she was too fat. He also used her contacts to get a job at the local television station as an anchorman and now that he got what he wanted, he drops her.

Vane had thought he would never see Bride again but he spots her in her clothing shop crying. He goes in to comfort her but has no clue how to comfort a human. He does the sweetest thing ever. He smells her scent all over one of the necklaces in her shop. He can tell that she has tried on the necklace and likes it so he tells her that he wants to buy it for a special person. When Bride asks him if it is for his girlfriend, he says, “I should be so lucky.” He purchases the $623 necklace and then starts to leave without it. Bride says, “Wait! You left your necklace.” And he tells her, “No, I left it with the woman I wanted to have it.”

Then they somehow ended up having sex in one of the dressing rooms. They each think it is a onetime thing but the Fates have other plans. Vane leaves to go see his brother Fang and feels a burning on his hand. When he sees the geometrical design burned into his hand, he realizes he is mated to Bride and he needs to protect her from his enemies. If his enemies learn Bride is his mate, they will use her to get to him.

Bride is out with a few friends when she feels the burning sensation on her hand and sees the strange design on her hand. She has no idea what it is. When she leaves the restaurant, a white wolf befriends her and she takes it home with her. The wolf, of course, is Vane. He couldn’t figure out any other way to protect her without freaking her out.

Vane has to choose between telling Bride about himself or not. If they don’t complete the mating ritual within three weeks, he will be left impotent for as long as she lives and she will be left sterile and not be able to ever have children. But he doesn’t want to bring her into his world with all his enemies yet by her just being his mate, it puts her in danger whether or not they choose to complete the ritual. He will have to guard her for the rest of her life.

One of the things that I liked about this book was how Sherrilyn Kenyon made a full-figured woman a leading lady. A lot of authors make all of their heroines skinny and the truth is…there are a lot of men who just don’t like skinny women. Granted, most of them do but not all of them. Bride was a size 18 and the author made her sound gorgeous and Vane thought she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. Kudos to Sherrilyn Kenyon for having a voluptuous woman as the heroine!

There was so much going on in this book and we learned a lot about Were-Hunters and some of the other characters in the series.

Of course, Acheron was in this book. He has been in all of the books so far as he is the star of the series. He seems to have unlimited powers but we still don’t know a lot about him. He knows the past, the present and the future but never reveals very much because he doesn’t want to mess with free-will and the outcome of anything.

Simi has become a lovable but strange character. She’s a demon who lives part of her life as a tattoo on Acheron’s torso. She dresses kind of between Goth and punk and has a child-like sing-songy voice and loves to eat and put barbecue sauce on everything. She usually wants to kill things and devour them but Acheron doesn’t let her unless they are an enemy.

We get a closer look at the Peltier family who own the Sanctuary bar. There are Mama and Papa Peltier and their twelve children, eleven males and one female. Mama Peltier or Nicolette explains to Bride that she and her husband opened Sanctuary after two of her cubs were killed by Arcadian Sentinel warriors as a safe place for all who enter. Four of her children are quadruplets who looks completely alike. Aimee is the only female and she seems to be the only one who is getting through to Fang. There could be a possible love story going on there but I don’t think any of the Peltiers will be happy about it.

We get a closer look at Valerius. Because so many of the other characters in the series hate him, I just assumed that he was a bad guy. Valerius is the grandson of the Roman general who tortured and killed Kyrian who we met in the first book. His grandfather was also the enemy of Julian who is Kyrian’s best friend and who was featured in the prequel to the series. I didn’t understand why Kyrian and Julian would hate the grandson but I guess Romans and Greeks are just enemies as a rule.

Also, in the third book about Zarek, we learned that Zarek was the whipping boy for Valerius and his brothers. Any time they did something wrong, Zarek would be whipped. Zarek happened to be Valerius’ brother but Valerius never knew this until Zarek revealed it to them in New Orleans about a year or so ago. Zarek was born to a slave and Valerius’ father. It seemed like Valerius had a soft heart compared to the rest of his family which they scorned him for. Whenever Valerius tried to help Zarek, it made it worse for Zarek and once, his father made Valerius whip Zarek. Because he didn’t know how to control the whip, it landed on Zarek’s face and blinded one of his eyes. Zarek still hates him.

Nobody seems to like Valerius because of his arrogant attitude but I think he is like that to guard himself from being hurt by others. Even his Squire, Otto, who is usually quiet and one of the best Squires, lives to get a rise out of Valerius because he thinks Valerius is a pompous ass. But Valerius was very nice and polite to Bride. I think there is more to Valerius than meets the eye.

And let’s not forget Fury. He starts off in this book as part of Vane and Fang’s pack. He warns Vane that his father has sent out wolves to kill him and Fang but then he goes to Stefan, one of the wolves who are after them, and tells him that he is just messing with Vane’s head before he kills him.

There were a lot more characters in the book who may or may not have an impact on the future story but I think I touched on the most important ones…for now.

Terms

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.

Aristos – the rarest of Arcadians. An Aristos is the most powerful of their breed and can wield magick effortlessly. They are considered the gods of their kind and are usually guarded and revered. Unlike any other Were-Hunter, Aristos can time-travel any time even when the moon is not full.

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.

Note: When Were-Hunters have mixed parentage, an Arcadian mother and a Katagaria father or vice-versa, they can be born either as Arcadian or Katagaria. It is rare but a Katagaria can be born in human form so they are thought to be Arcadian but when they reach puberty, their true or natural form will turn out to be their animal and the same goes for if a Were-Hunter is born as a pup, his or her true form as a teenager could reveal him or her to be an Arcadian.

Metriazo Collar – a collar that Were-Hunter, usually Arcadians, use to dampen the magickal powers of a Were-Hunter. Electrical pulses are sent from the collar into the body of the wearer which keep them from shifting shapes and keeps them in a weakened state. The collar can only we taken off by magick or extreme strength.

Mating – Were-Hunters do not get to choose their own mates. The Fates choose them and the Fates often seem to be cruel about it. Were-Hunters have to have sex in order to find their mate and when they are assigned their mate, matching tribal or geometrical designs are burned into their skin (usually on the palms of their hands but not always). Once the mark appears, the couple has three weeks to complete a mating ritual or the male is rendered impotent for as long as the female is alive. The female can have sex with others but will never have children. Even if they complete the ritual, the male can only have sex with his mate.

Bonded Mates – a mated couple can choose to complete a binding ritual which will tie them together forever. If one dies, the other one dies.

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.

Night Embrace – Dark-Hunter Series #2 – Sherrilyn Kenyon

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.

The Story

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.

 

Night Pleasures – Dark Hunter Series #1 – Sherrilyn Kenyon

Night Pleasures (Dark-Hunter Novels Book 1)
I am re-reading the Dark-Hunter series, starting with this book. There is another book before this one called Fantasy Lover which has a few of the same characters but it is more of a prequel to the series and this one is the first book that introduces Dark-Hunters so that is where I am starting.

This book was packed with information so I am going to start with some terms to make it easier to read the review.

Dark-Hunter – when a man or woman, usually a warrior, is killed or murdered, he cries out for one single act of vengeance so the goddess Artemis appears to them. She takes their soul in exchange for their oath to serve her, to hunt and kill Daimons. Wherever she touches them to remove their soul, she leaves a double bow mark that looks like a tattoo. She only takes the strongest and best warriors. Dark-Hunters cannot walk in sunlight and they have animal-like senses and fangs. They are not vampires nor do they feed off of humans. They are meant to walk alone and not have relationships other than one night stands.

If a Dark-Hunter dies before while Artemis has his soul, he or she becomes a Shade. A Shade is trapped in a corporal body but has no real form or substance. They can’t touch anything or be heard by anyone except for the Oracles. They thirst and hunger but cannot eat or drink.

DH mark

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 exiled them to Atlantis.

When the Apollite queen became jealous of Apollo’s beloved human mistress, Ryssa, she ordered Ryssa and her newborn’s son to be killed and ripped apart and to make it look like animals did it. 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 Apollite 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. Once they have taken a human soul, they become Daimons.

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Amanda Devereaux’s family is a little on the weird side. She has seven older sisters and a twin who all are into the paranormal. One sister is a voodoo high priestess and another hunts vampires. Even her mom does spells. But Amanda likes her boring normal life and wants nothing to do with the paranormal. She is an accountant whose fiancé just broke up with her because he met her family and he couldn’t handle their weirdness.

When Amanda gets mistaken as her twin and gets kidnapped and handcuffed to a gorgeous blonde man, her life gets thrown right into the paranormal and it will never be the same.

The blonde man ends up being a Dark-Hunter, Kyrian of Thrace. He was the commander of the Greek army against Rome until his wife betrayed him and he was killed by his worst enemy. He cried out for vengeance as he died and became a Dark-Hunter and has been one for over two thousand years.

Amanda and Kyrian have been kidnapped by a Daimon named Desiderius who likes to play games with Dark-Hunters, preying off their fears and weaknesses before he kills them. Desiderius lets them go but tells Amanda and Kyrian that he’ll be hunting them.

Kyrian takes it upon himself to protect Amanda and they end up falling for each other. The problem is that Dark-Hunters are not allowed to have permanent lovers. They are allowed one-night stands and that is all. Now, Amanda wants to find a way to get Kyrian’s soul back from the goddess Artemis but they have to kill Desiderius first.

The Dark-Hunters have never encountered any Daimon like Desiderius. He’s stronger and has god-like powers that he shouldn’t have. He has already killed other Dark-Hunters and has lived for hundreds of years which is odd for what they know about Daimons. And now the Oracles are saying that only the Dark-Hunter with a soul can kill him.

It was weird to re-read this book. I have never re-read a book except for Narnia when I was a child so this was a new experience for me. I had forgotten the details and what exactly happened since it has been about ten years since I have read this book and it was like reading a lot of it for the first time. But at the same time, I knew most of what happened in the book and actually knew more than what the characters in the book knew because I have read the rest of the series. It is kind of like when you read a series and then it becomes a movie. It is still interesting and you pick up things you missed but you still know how it ends yet you are glued to you seat, not wanting to miss a thing. This book was still great the second time around.

I knew what to look for and was happy when certain characters were introduced. I had forgotten about how most came into the story. Also there was a lot of story building going on in this book

We (I say, “we” as in “we readers” even though it was only me who read it just because I feel a kinship with other Dark-Hunter fans…weird, I know) meet a bunch of beloved characters in this book.

We meet Talon, a Dark-Hunter who is the star of the next book, Night Embrace.

We meet Nick Gautier who is Kyrian’s Squire. I had forgotten that he was already 24 years old at the beginning of this series.

We hear about someone named Acheron who was the first Dark-Hunter and is the unofficial leader of all of the other Dark-Hunters but we don’t actually meet him until later in the book. He has green hair in this one. He tells Amanda that he is over eleven thousand years old and that he has unimaginable powers. Amanda notices his bird-like tattoo on his shoulder which we now know what it is but not at that time.

We briefly meet the goddess Artemis. She is scary. Acheron had welts and bruises on his back from a beating she gave him. She also has a hard time with colloquial phrases. Instead of saying, “You would be toast.” She says, “You would be baked bread.”

And we hear of other names that will come into play in later books.

I loved the book the first time and I loved it the second time.