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.

 

Eleventh Grave in Moonlight – Charley Davidson #11 – Daryinda Jones

I love the sarcastic humor in this series. Even in the direst situation, Charley either has a hilarious thought or something smartass to say which has me cracking up a lot.

As usual, Charley is juggling many things at once. She’s the Grim Reaper so she has to deal with the departed who cross over through her but now that she learned she is a god, she has even more to deal with. It doesn’t help that she got in an argument with the Archangel Michael and now angels are watching her every move. She thinks it has to do with her threatening to take over the world or it could be that her husband Reyes is from down under—not Austrailia—the other down under.

When Reyes was born on Earth, he was kidnapped from his birth parents by a creepy couple, the Fosters, who then handed him over to a monster of a man who abused him for most of his life. Charley had investigated the couple and found out that they had another son name Shawn who she was pretty sure they had abducted aslo but they raised him until adulthood. Charley was surprised when Shawn walked into her office and asked her to investigate the Fosters. He told her that he had secretly tested his DNA against theirs and knows they are not his real parents. He also admitted to her that he saw her parked near their home and had run her license plate so he knew who she was. She wasn’t as stealthy as she thought she was.

Charley and Reyes’ still have their daughter in hiding since so many dark forces are after her like Satan and Eidolon, the evil god from another realm. It’s hard for Charley to live apart from her baby but she knows she has to do it to keep her safe.

She also is dealing with a stalker who is stalking her best friend’s daughter and trying to figure out what her Uncle Bob is up to because he has been acting strange.

The one thing that bothers me about this series is the small children who are either ghosts or get killed by either accidents or evil people. I mean, I know this kind of thing happens in the world but this author seems to be obsessed with having creepy children ghosts and having bad guys kill children. For this reason, this will probably be my last Charley Davidson book. It just rips out my soul to see bad things happen to children and to see it over and over again is just too much for me to handle. In this book alone, there was a ghost of a toddler who had died because a dresser fell on top of him, a ten-year-old boy ghost, bones of a child that were found and the little creepy girl who is a regular in the series…and one more near the end of the book. That is the one that made up my mind about booting this series from my reading list. It’s too bad because this is an impressive series that I would have really like to continue but the excessive abused and dead children thing ruined it for me.

 

ACHERON – Dark-Hunter Series #14 – Sherrilyn Kenyon

Acheron (Dark-Hunter, Book 12)

Heart-wrenching and emotional are the words I keep coming up with to describe this book. It was a long book with 728 pages and the first 65% was about Acheron’s first 21 years before his god status was awakened. His entire human life was filled with torture, humiliation and sadness. The next 11,000 years were a little better but he still suffered. If anyone deserves happiness, it is Acheron.

I’m just going to give a short version which will probably be super long anyway. There will be SPOILERS in this summary and I apologize ahead of time but I don’t think it can be helped. I won’t give up the end of the book though.

When Acheron’s mother Apollymi was pregnant with him, her husband Archon, the king of the Atlantean gods, demanded that she kill her unborn child because the Fates, his bastard daughters declared that the child would be the end of the Atlantean pantheon. They were young and jealous but being the Fates, everything they say comes to pass and they knew this. What nobody realizes though is that sometimes, because people put too much stock into a prophesy, they cause the prophesy to come true because of their actions and reactions.

Apollymi birthed her son, Apostolos, in secret then bound his powers so that he could be hidden from the gods until he turned 21 when he could handle them. She hid him in an already pregnant human queen so he could be raised as royalty.

Her good intentions would have worked had she not trusted the wrong gods in her pantheon. When the queen birthed her sons, Apollymi’s half-sister and goddess of desire, Epithymia who was disguised as a wise woman, touched Apostolos, knowing that her touch would cause people to desire him. She smirked as she left the room. When the midwife saw the baby’s swirling silver eyes, she thought he was deformed until another wise woman declared he was sent from the gods. She told them that the twins were bound together, if the eldest should die so too would the youngest. Even so, the queen and king denied him. The twins were named Acheron and Styxx for the underworld rivers of sadness and anger.

While Styxx was loved by his father, the king, Acheron was hated. The only one who loved him was his older sister Ryssa but women had little to no power in those days so she couldn’t do much to help him. When Acheron was only seven years old, his Uncle Estes came and took him away from Didymos, a Greek Island, to Atlantis. His uncle was a sick pig who turned Acheron into a sex slave, beating and starving him to make him subservient. Because Acheron was cursed by his aunt’s touch, people desired him even when they didn’t want to. Nobody past puberty could resist him. Plus he was beautiful which made Estes a very rich man.

When Acheron was sixteen or seventeen years old, Ryssa discovered what her uncle was doing to Acheron and stole him away from him and hid Acheron at the family’s summer home. Ryssa had good intentions but she did not have the power to back it up. Throughout the years, Ryssa would try to help Acheron but ended up hurting him worse. When she first stole Acheron, he was subservient and was too afraid to even look at her directly. Estes had him addicted to drugs so he also had to go through withdrawals. She was finally able to get his hopes up and get him acting almost like a normal human but then her father found them and sent him back to Estes.

A year later, Estes died and war was getting ready to break out between Greece and Atlantis so Ryssa, her father and Styxx went to go get Acheron. His father kicked Acheron out naked onto the streets. Ryssa chased after him and gave him her cloak but Acheron was angry and told her to go away. Less than a year later, she saw Acheron in the market place in Didymos. She followed him and found out he was working in a stew, a whore house. He told her that it is all he knows how to do and at least he gets to eat at the table and not the scraps on the floor like he did with their uncle and he only had to sleep with ten to twelve people a night and even had one day off a week. It was really sad.

His father had him arrested and beat. He threw him into a cell and let him starve but his father forgot that if Acheron dies, so does Styxx so when Styxx fell over one day, Ryssa reminded them about that little tidbit. They force fed Acheron until Styxx felt better.

Ryssa was offered to Apollo to be his mistress to gain favor with the god. Her father thought he would back the Greeks against Atlantis if he gave his daughter to him but Apollo wanted his Apollites to take over the human world. He laughed behind the Greek’s backs and said they could lavish him with gifts and beautiful women but he would never back them.

Acheron’s life just got worse with public beatings and humiliations.

He met Artemis and wanted her to kill him so he kissed her but instead of killing him, she was intrigued. They became friends…sort of. It was more like Artemis found a new toy or pet. He told her that he didn’t like anyone to pull his hair or be behind him and breathe on the back of his neck and she told him that she would never do that. She soon wanted him to have sex with her and after initially resisting, he finally gave in. As soon as they were done having sex, she regretted it and took it out on him by throwing him into a wall and telling him that she would cut his tongue out and kill him if he ever told anyone about it. Yet she kept coming back to him. She would apologize and then do something mean to him. She’d pull his hair and breathe on the back of his neck every time she was mad at him.

At one point, the king found Acheron in Artemis’ temple on her feast day, paying homage to her by leaving pearls and white rose petals. His father had him chained and beaten in the temple. Ryssa, who had figured out that Artemis and Acheron were sleeping together tried to plead with her father to let him go and told him they were together which, of course, no one believed. Artemis was too ashamed of Acheron to admit it and was too afraid of what everyone else would think of her so she didn’t rescue her…in fact, she told the punisher to beat him even harder because she thought Acheron had betrayed her by telling his father they were together.

What I think Acheron looked like in his years before he became badass.

What I think Acheron looked like in his years before he became badass.

Later, Ryssa told Artemis that it was her who said something, not Acheron so Artemis teleports herself into Acheron’s bedroom (he now is allowed to live in the palace but only so they can keep an eye on him) and apologizes like it was no big deal. Acheron forgives her but his heart hardens against her. Artemis develops a sick obsession with Acheron.

The book goes on and on about how the king and Styxx and Artemis torture Acheron. I have to say, I really despised Artemis the most out of all of them though because she claimed to love him.

Acheron had just turned 21 and just learned he was a god. He told Artemis and hoped that she would now accept him and not be embarrassed of her but she became frightened because she knew he was more powerful than she was and she thought the other Greek gods would kill her for bringing in someone who could destroy them. She told him that nothing could change his past, that he was still a whore so she couldn’t be with him in public. She was so frightened that she went to his room and fed him ambrosia, saying it was a gift but she had drugged him. She tried to stab him with an Atlantean dagger to kill him but she chickened out.

Because of the other books, we know about the Apollite curse and anyone who reads this series knows what happened to Ryssa…at least, if they had put two and two together. The Atlantean queen, an Apollite, was jealous of Apollo’s new mistress so she sent some men out to kill Ryssa and her son. She told them to make it look like animals did it and shred them to pieces. You would have thought by the severity of the curse that Apollo gave to the Apollites because of Ryssa’s death that Apollo loved Ryssa dearly but that wasn’t the case. He thought of her as nothing more than a pet.

When the men came and murdered her and her son, Acheron was still drugged. He woke up and heard their screams and tried to crawl towards them but passed out again. When he woke up again, they were dead. One more reason to hate Artemis. The king and Styxx were devastated. When Apollo showed up, Styxx told him that Acheron let them die so Apollo sliced Acheron open with an Atlantean dagger and killed him. As he lay dying, he saw Artemis cringing in a corner out of the view of Apollo. She just let him die. I’m screaming at the book, “How much more can you take? Kill the bitch goddess now!”

That is when Mommy Dearest goes crazy. Apollymi hadn’t known what kind of life Acheron had lived. She was too afraid to look into the human world and find him because she was afraid that the other gods would find him through her and kill him. After she had birthed Acheron, they had locked her in Kalosis, the Atlantean hell realm, and the only way she could ever leave was if her son came to her or he died. On his 21st birthday, she sent her most trusted friend, a Charonte demon named Xirena to him to unlock his powers. Then Xirena came back and told her what his life had been like. Apollymi was livid. When Acheron died, she was freed. Heartbroken and in a rage, she went to the Atlantean pantheon. She destroyed and killed every one of the gods there because they are the ones who could have made his life better if not for them believing the Fates. Then she sank Atlantis and started across Greece, annihilating everything.

The Fates ran to Artemis and told her that Apollymi was going to kill them and her unless she stopped her. In order to stop Apollymi and imprison her again in Kalosis, Artemis had to bring Acheron back to life. She went to Tartarus and found Acheron and tricked him into drinking her blood which not only brought him back to life, it bound him to Artemis for eternity. In order to live and not become a killing machine, he had to drink her blood.

For two thousand years, Acheron ignored Artemis. She sent servants to him with her blood to nourish him. Apollymi had given him a baby Charonte demon, Simi, to take care of so he traveled with her fighting Daimons. Artemis would try to speak to him in his head but he would ignore it. Then one day, she told him she made Dark-Hunters to help him fight the Daimons. She told them they needed someone to train them or they would die. Acheron was suckered into helping them because of his compassion. He made a bargain with her that they should be paid for their work and have servants. She agreed. When he met them, he felt sorry for one of them because he wanted to go back to his wife so he bargained with Artemis to get the man’s soul back. He knew he was stuck with Artemis forever. She’d found a way to entrap him again.

The book finally gets to the present day.

We met Tory in book #10, The Dream-Hunter. She was fourteen or fifteen years old then. Now she is all grown up. She is following in her father’s and uncle’s footsteps and searching for Atlantis. She is a genius and received her doctorate at just 20 years old and is using her contacts to try to get funding for her project. She is in Tennessee getting ready to give a speech when she first sees Acheron. She looks out at the audience and sees a gorgeous man dressed like a Goth sitting in one of the seats. A beautiful redhead sits next to him, looking at him adoringly but he sneers at her and tells her to fuck off. Tory is disgusted with him. She thinks he is a jerk for treating a woman like that. Then when she starts speaking, he heckles her and puts doubt in the other audience member’s heads. He puts down her life’s work and humiliates her.

She chases after him after she is finished speaking and yells at him, calling him a spoiled frat-boy and asking him if it felt good to humiliate her like that. When she leaves, she is glad that she will never see him again or she might run over him with her car.

Acheron can’t believe his eyes when he attends Dr. Soteria Kafieri’s lecture on Atlantis. He half expects her to be a crackpot but when she shows photographs on the overhead screen of pieces from Atlantis and underwater pictures of the actual site of Atlantis, he knows he has to discredit the woman and does. He feels bad but nobody can find Atlantis. There are just too many secrets there that could ruin too many people, including him. Also, there is an underwater seal that if opened could release Apollymi from Kalosis.

When Tory returns to New Orleans, she goes to Julian Alexander who we know is a Greek god but she has no clue. She has one of Ryssa’s journals and needs to translate it. He refers her to a friend who lives in town part-time but is in town for a few weeks working on a project for Habitat for Humanity. He takes her to the site. When she sees Acheron, she yells at him and throws a hammer at his head but he ducks and it misses him. He laughs which just pisses her off more. She leaves and drives off, forgetting the journal which Julian hands over to Acheron.

Acheron sends the book back to Tory with olive leaves and a rose, apologizing for being rude. Tory needs the journal translated so she visits the site where Acheron is working again and asks for his help. She tells him she’ll do anything and when one of the men working with him overhears that and suggest that she be a sex slave for Acheron, she says, “Ew” which baffles Acheron. Nobody thinks of him as “ew”. He agrees to translate the journal and teaches her the ancient Greek language. He likes being around Tory because she doesn’t grope him. In fact, she doesn’t seem to think of him sexually at all which is a relief to him.

Soon he really starts to care for her but there is no way Artemis would ever allow a relationship between them, not to mention that he is a god and she is a human with no knowledge of anything paranormal.

Meanwhile, Tory’s crew in Greece has discovers another one of Ryssa’s journals. It was preserved in a sealed container and is in perfect condition. Unfortunately, this journal was written while she and Apollo were together and has secrets about how Apollo and Artemis drink blood to survive and the secret to how to kill them. It also has things written about Acheron that could expose that he was a sex slave which would humiliate him.

Artemis has followers who are out to find the journal and kill Tory because she has become too much of a pain and gotten too close to Atlantis. Also, Stryker and Satara want the journal because they need ammo against Apollo and Artemis and Acheron. They send out demons to grab Tory. While she is riding on the back of Acheron’s motorcycle, the followers of Artemis find them and start shooting at them. One of their cars clips the back of the motorcycle which wrecks the bike. Then one of the cars runs over Acheron’s legs. Tory slides across the pavement and slams into something hard. Acheron flashes her to the emergency room. She dies but they resuscitate her and take her to the operating room.

Acheron has to try to save her life from everyone who wants the journal…that is if she makes it out of surgery.

The book was pretty heavy and heartbreakingly sad until Tory enters the scene. Then there was humor which was badly needed by that point. I think by the end of the book, I was ready to murder Artemis myself. Who cares that she and Apollo are connected to the sun and the moon and if they die, the world would end. It would be worth it. Okay, no it wouldn’t be but there has got to be a way to get that “bitch heifer” as Simi calls her.

I think I slept very little while reading this book because I was so into it and when I did sleep, I dreamt of it. I know, that is weird but you have to realize that I have been re-reading the books of this series, one right after the other so they are making a pretty big impression on my mind and my subconscious must be affected by it.

The last time I read this book, I had to wait almost a year for the next book but I remember thinking nothing could top this book. I’m getting ready to read the next book in the series and I wonder if I will be let down a little because this books was so stellar. I know there is another book in the series called Styxx that made a big impression on me but that is still a few books away.

There were so many things that happened in this book that were vital to the story and to future stories of the series but I couldn’t put them in this review/summary because it would have either taken too long or ruined the ending.

I’m off to read the next book in the series.

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.

Dance with the Devil – Dark Hunter Series #3 – Sherrilyn Kenyon

Zarek of Moesia has never had an easy day in his life. He was the child of a slave and the Roman Senator Gaius Magnus. His mother gave him to a slave to kill when he was first born but the slave took pity on him and gave him to his father but his father used him as a whipping boy for his legitimate children. Any time one of them did something wrong, Zarek would be whipped. They disfigured him so badly that one leg was shorter than the other and he was almost blind. His father finally paid a slaver to take him. The slaver used him to clean out the cesspits because he was so disfigured no one wanted to be around him.

When he was killed, he became a Dark-Hunter. Acheron took away his disfigurement and scars and made him whole again. That was over two thousand years ago. Nine hundred years ago he was banished to Alaska for doing something terrible. He only remembers bits and pieces, the village he protected on fire, people of all ages dead and an old crone dying and telling him he did this to them.

In Alaska, he lived alone for nine hundred years. Unable to go out in daylight when the summer sometimes had no night, he was stuck in his cabin starving and in winter, freezing.

Because of his life, Zarek has a bad attitude. He is the epitome of antisocial. He hates everyone and doesn’t hesitate to show it. Recently, he was granted a short reprieve from Alaska to help out in New Orleans during Mardi Gras. He ended up in a lot of trouble thanks to some trouble-making gods who were up to no good. Now, the goddess Artemis wants him dead. She has unleashed Thanatos to kill him but when Acheron finds out, he makes a deal with her to call off Thanatos until Zarek is judged by the goddess Themis. Themis chooses her daughter, Astrid, to judge Zarek. She’s given two weeks to judge Zarek. If it takes less time then she can come home early. Artemis is happy because in all of history Astrid has never found anyone innocent. Acheron trusts Astrid to do the right things.

On the flight back home, he overheard the Squire, Mike, piloting the helicopter talking over the radio. He didn’t think Zarek could hear him since Zarek was in the back with thick steel separating them. Zarek already knew that the god Dionysius had paid Mike to lighten the windows and let the sun shine in on Zarek so he could burn up and die. The helicopter came equipped with windows that darkened to keep out the sun. He could hear another Squire asking Mike if he did it and Mike said that he decided not to because the Blood Rite Squires were going to kill him. He said, “Don’t worry. I’m going to dump him out and leave him for the others to track down, then get my butt out of Alaska faster than you can say ‘Rumpelstiltskin’” I assume Blood Rite Squires kill rogue Dark-Hunters.

When they land, Mike and Zarek get out. Zarek gets on his snowmobile and says, “Mike.” And when Mike looks, he says, “Rumpelstiltskin” then throws a grenade under the helicopter, and races off leaving Mike throwing a fit over Zarek ruining a twenty-three million dollar Sikorsky helicopter.

When Zarek rides his snowmobile into town to get a new generator for his cabin, he gets a big surprise…well, not too big of a surprise. He knew the Squires would try to kill him but he didn’t expect the Daimon on steroids nor that his friend, Jess aka Sundown, someone he met in the Dark-Hunter chat rooms online and the only other Dark-Hunter who would speak to him, would be there along with the Squires. He saw the Squires who all shot at him and he saw Sundown and then a Daimon started beating on him. This Daimon was unlike any other he had ever seen. He said his name was Thanatos, meaning ‘death’, and Artemis sent him after him. Someone shot him in the back with a shotgun and he thinks it was Sundown. He thinks Artemis lifted the ban where if a Dark-Hunter hurts another Dark-Hunter, they feel the exact pain and have the same damage. Meanwhile, Thanatos is practically killing Zarek.

He runs and finally loses everyone but he is so exhausted and beat up that he collapses in the snow by a cabin. He wakes up four days later in a comfortable bed and a warm home. He has been rescued by a beautiful tall blind woman and her pet wolf.

Astrid chooses to be blind while judging anyone because eyes can be deceiving. She has a Were-Hunter wolf named Sasha who she can touch when she wants to see through his eyes if necessary. She finds Zarek in the snow outside her cabin and brought him in and tended his wounds. He’s slept for four days so she only has ten days to judge him.

Although Astrid rescued Zarek, his antisocial ways and his suspiciousness can’t be helped. He is super rude and snarly towards her and the wolf…well, the wolf deserves it since he is always growling at Zarek but Astrid is nothing but kind and patient to him so she doesn’t deserve it. All Zarek wants to do is leave so that whatever is after him doesn’t hurt her or the wolf and because he is just an asshole who likes to be alone. But Astrid has made sure a blizzard is outside so that he can’t leave.

To understand him more, Astrid calls in M’Adoc, an Oneroi Dream-Hunter, who gives her some sleeping potions so she can enter Zarek’s dreams. In the dreams, she finds out a lot about his past and it ain’t pretty. His dreams are of his past and all nightmares so she puts herself in the dreams so he can have a good dream. They end up having sex in one of the dreams.

Meanwhile, Jess learns that Thanatos is a Daimon with superpowers. Artemis created Thanatos from a Daimon. She made him to kill Dark-Hunters, thinking she could control him. He’s supercharged and can walk in daylight. He can also summon Apollites and Daimons to come to him from hundreds of miles all around. He’s like a beacon and none can resist coming to him. Two other Dark-Hunters, Bjorn and Syra, have found their way to Alaska because they were following large groups of Daimons who were traveling to Alaska.

Jess isn’t there to hurt Zarek. He’s there to help him and he suspects one of the Squires named Otto is there for the same reason. He and the other two Dark-Hunters follow the Squires to Zarek’s cabin. While they are there, Thanatos shows up and stabs Bjorn with a strange-looking golden knife where his Dark-Hunter brand is and Bjorn disintegrates. Then another Dark-Hunter named Spawn shows up and helps everyone get away. Spawn is almost more hated than Zarek because he was an Apollite in his human life.

Jess wakes Zarek and Astrid up and tells them about Thanatos and that he is on his way to kill them. Thanatos wants to kill Astrid because 900 years ago, Zarek supposedly killed Thanatos’ wife and he wants to take away something that Zarek loves. Now, Zarek has to find a way to save Astrid from Thanatos who cannot be killed by anyone except for Acheron.

Even though I had read this story before, I did not remember anything about Thanatos. It is weird what my mind chooses to remember from the stories I read. I remembered the love story between Astrid and Zarek but just the basics. The strangest thing is that Zarek is one of my favorite characters from the series so I would have thought that I would remember more but I didn’t.

This book was yummy all the way! It is definitely the best so far in the series. I am glad I re-read it.

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.

 

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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