**spoiler alert** This is how the first part of this book goes:
Emotional abuse. Physical abuse (under the guise of caning). Emotional abuse. Underage Rap...more**spoiler alert** This is how the first part of this book goes:
Emotional abuse. Physical abuse (under the guise of caning). Emotional abuse. Underage Rape. More Emotional abuse. More underage rape. Mental abuse followed by a healthy dose of physical abuse. MORE SEXUAL ABUSE. Happy moments. MORE RAPE. MORE EMOTIONAL ABUSE. Happy moments. DEATH. Resurrection. Isolation.
As a reader, if you haven't completely wanted to slash your wrists or cried your eyeballs out by the time Styxx story in Ancient Greece/Atlantis is over, I commend you for being heartless. Kenyon has once again demonstrated that she is the Queen of Angst among the writers I read, and she left me a visceral mess on my floor. Acheron's book was basically the same, but for some reason, Styxx really really left me hollow and numb inside by the time the first half was over. We knew Ash's history of human sex trafficking and being sexually molested and abused as a child up until he was an adult. It was heartbreaking and cruel, and it made you want to reach in and hold the 7 foot tall man and tell him it will be alright. Styxx's book took that feeling and made it the book it's bitch. There were a handful of scenes between Styxx and Galen and Styxx and Bethany that alleviated the heaviness of the first half, but good freaking Lord, the rest was just bogged down with so much sad and horrible stuff, it was like wading through quick sand a lot of the time.
Perhaps it's because we never got a hint of Styxx's story, just from Ash's point of view in his novel. We never see Styxx again for majority of the series accept a book here or there, but he is pretty unknown to majority of us as readers. It surprised me that out of all the Dark Hunters that she could bring into the series, she decided to write about Styxx. I was apprehensive. I wasn't sure how she was going to make me feel for a character I really didn't care nothing about, but man, was I proven wrong about 100 billion times. I should have known better. There has been very few times that Kenyon has left me uncaring after the book is over (I'm looking at you, Stryker) or just disappointed in the book all around (Darling's book in the League series). I should have had faith, because I was properly put in my place as I read about Styxx's awful, horrible no good very bad history.
There are many plot devices that are used and that have a tendency of being exploited more than actually serving a purpose. Child rape/sexual abuse is one of them. There were at times when it felt too much. It was as if Kenyon had to emphasize that Styxx was just as abused (if not more) as Acheron, that they were the same side to the exact same coin. It almost felt gratuitous, even if she never went into great detail about the rapes. I think what set it over the edge for me was when he was in Atlantis after Apollo dropped him off to be tortured by the gods, and they ended up raping Styxx even futher. That felt unneeded. It held no purpose at that point, just another way for the reader to feel completely sorry for Styxx (who would probably have sliced every single one of us open if he saw the pity on our faces). Styxx was raped and sexually molested by his uncle, Apollo, the Atlantean gods, his uncle's friends, noblemen, every body on the planet. I was so happy when he was placed on the Vanishing Isle. Not because he would spend the next 11,000+ years in complete isolation, but because I didn't have to read about his violation any more.
There was 600 pages dedicated to Styxx's history and abuse. There was 237 pages of his life in the present (or as present as you can get back in 2004) where he became the person he wanted to be out in Sahara. There was maaaaaaaaaybe 15 pages in total of him and Acheron actually interacting together in the present, and majority of it was Ash being a complete dick. There was very little discussion of what happened between them, how they became broken and left their families dissolve their brotherhood. 600 pages of watching their relationship crumble to dust, and less than 10 of it trying to be fixed. It felt a bit of a let down. Perhaps it was realistic to the point that over 11,000 years of anger isn't going to dissolve with memory jolts and cheap words like "I'm sorry." I wanted to punch Ash in the face more times than I could count, and I think that was another reason why this book was so much. You saw a side to both Ryssa and Acheron that completely blew your conception of them to bits. This isn't the kind beautiful Ryssa who helped our Acheron. This isn't the wise Ash that we were knew and loved. However, I have to give Kenyon credit, she does a beautiful job showing that not everything is black and white, and that emotions affect everything. No one is perfect, even if they're a god with all these awesome powers and has seen it all.
I will say that I really did love Bethany. She wasn't perfect, she had her moments of stupidity, but she never once lost sight of what was important to her. She was strong, could kick ass, and didn't need a man to protect her or save her. She and Styxx complemented each other beautifully, and I do like that they were together for years before deciding on getting married. They built that relationship (outside of knowing who each other were at first), and it was strong and lasted a few millennium.
Totally called Urian being Styxx's and Beth's son as soon as he thought about how he was drawn to the man, how he knew him but didn't. That should prove interesting on how it effects the rest of the overlying story. Also, I did like that Kenyon is tying into the changes from Nick's books into this series demonstrated by the change in time. I love how this is all going to end up tying together.
All in all, it was a beautiful book, if not a little heavy in places where it didn't need to be. Kenyon once again shows why she's as popular as she is, and why she's my favorite author period. I look forever to her next DH book. Next time, I'll be sure to leave my heart in a steel cage.(less)
**spoiler alert** I've said this before about Kenyon, but for me, reading her is definitely like coming home. There is a way she writes that is just s...more**spoiler alert** I've said this before about Kenyon, but for me, reading her is definitely like coming home. There is a way she writes that is just so familiar to me. That feeling didn't change with this book. I've been a huge fan of Kenyon's for years. I've read her Dark Hunter/Were Hunter books since there was only a handful of them published. I love that series with my entire heart, but I have to say that Kenyon really has found her niche with the League Series. You can obviously tell that science-fiction is a deep love for her. It's not that she doesn't write the other series with the same passion (although, the last few books in the DH series, I've begun to wonder), but she really shines with this genre.
I have to say that Kenyon really knows how to make her characters suffer. I mean, REALLY make them wish they had never been born. Darling saw no shortage of horrors in his lifetime. From the time he was a young lad up until his late 20's, he had been tortured, sodomized, beaten to near death, disfigured, stabbed, shot, mocked, humiliated, and everything else that is horrible in the world. By the middle of the book, you kind of just want to go, "Jesus Christ, there's more?" Every time you thought it got as bad as it is going to get, something else happened to Darling to make the last bad thing seem like it was just any other day. I'll be honest, it kind of got tedious after a while, but before it could be come too overwhelming, Kenyon finally puts a cap on the torture porn, and puts on track to getting Darling on the path to healing.
The love story between Zarya and Darling wasn't the best. I like it when it starts fresh, and we can see that love blossom. In this book, the love was already there, it just took severe damage because Z is probably the WORST Resistance Leader on all the planets, and just let her crew do whatever they liked. It was a clear case of letting her emotions rule her job. I kind of have an issue with that, because it seemed like if it had been the other way around, Darling would have been shown as the clear headed hero who didn't let past prejudices get in the way of doing what was right. I guess Kenyon had to have the snag in the love tapestry, I just wish that it wasn't the woman who screwed up ALL the time. Granted, Darling was pretty freaking intolerable after he killed his uncle and decided to take a Swan Dive off the deep end into the crazy pool, but for the most part, it was Z trying to make up for her gross insight. I really wished she had finally told Darling that she made a mistake, yes it did cost him a lot, but he did some crappy things as well. I guess he forgot about the time he indirectly had her sold into the sex market.
The book was rather brilliant in its subtle commentary on gay people. The derogatory terms were a bit much at times, and I wonder if Kenyon was doing that to be a little sensational, but nothing the "bad guys" said aren't anything that I'm sure homosexuals don't hear today. It's still a little saddening, though, that even in an alternative universe, homosexuality is still considered a 'sin' and an 'abomination'. Then again, if it wasn't, then Darling wouldn't have had half of his back story.
All is well, though, and eventually they make up and she gets pregnant (another thing I find redundant in Kenyon's verses), he becomes the Darling the Greatest Emperor To Have Ever Emperored and everyone lives happily ever after...with the League waiting in the shadows to strike. I'm interested to see where she goes with the next book, and if Kyr will finally meet his doom. I hope, above all hope, that is' Maris that finally takes him down.
I don't think I've loved a character as much as I loved Maris. I hope he's featured more in the other books, because he is amazing. A-MAH-ZING.(less)
I think this has to be my favorite of the series so far. I've always liked Caillen when he's mentioned in the other books. He's been the one I wanted...moreI think this has to be my favorite of the series so far. I've always liked Caillen when he's mentioned in the other books. He's been the one I wanted a story on, and I was not disappointed at all with his back story. You can see why he's a badass but can be vulnerable underneath. I really like how Kenyon gives her guys a lot of depth and doesn't make them on extreme or the other. I also have to say that I really like how she writes her women. So far in the series, minus the heroine in Nyk's book (I can't remember her name right now), all the women we've met have been bad asses on their own right. Desideria was no exception. She wasn't infuriating half the time, nor did I want to smack her in the head, and go, "Are you really that stupid?" I really liked her as a character, and I think she's going to rank in my top 20 of Favorite Kenyon's Heroines.
Another thing I have to say is that even though Kenyon is a "romance" novelist, she has strayed far away from using sex as the primary basis of her stories. Yes, it's still in there, and yes the romance is still present, but it is not the sole focus of her stories anymore. I really like how she's becoming move involved with the story, in the League and Dark Hunter stories, instead of relying on sex to sell a book. Don't get me wrong, she writes some of my favorite love scenes ever, but I don't feel slighted because I'm too caught up in the story to even care. (less)
**spoiler alert** Despite the fact that there are 15 different plots going on, I really love this series. And Kenyon didn't disappoint with this this...more**spoiler alert** Despite the fact that there are 15 different plots going on, I really love this series. And Kenyon didn't disappoint with this this latest installment. It's kind of funny how after Ash's book, not all the Dark Hunters know Ash's past. I like that despite everything, they still stand beside him. I missed my favorites from this book, like Kyrian and Talon, and the lot from the earlier books, but I'm interested to see what happens in the next one.
As for the characters, can I just say that I really freaking love Dev? And I loved Sam. I love her badassness and that she could still be vulnerable without losing too much of herself. She was exquisite in the challenge scene with Aello, and I can see why Dev fell in love with her. Same can be said as to why she fell in love with Dev.
The story itself is becoming more and more interesting, and although Nick's book isn't going to be around for another TEN FREAKING YEARS, to see how he progresses to the man that we see in Infinity will be fun to read. Even if he pisses me off to NO END.
I really want Stryker dead. Like, I don't hate a character as much as I hate him, and his book didn't change any of that. However, to see that his father, Apollo, would do whatever he could to break the curse to save him was an interesting twist, and I am excited to see how that plays out. But I still want Stryker and his bitch heifer wife dead. Medea can stay. She's not too bad.
I want Urian to have his happily ever after so bad. Guh, hurry up and fix him, Kenyon.
And because this is a romance novel, Kenyon didn't disappoint with the love scenes. However, I do like that she's starting to get away from that being the sole focus and building her books to the more important plots. But she can still make me a little hot under the collar with her love scenes.
For me, reading Kenyon is like coming home after a long trip. She is my comfort. I read a lot of other paranormal romance novels, but she is the one author I can count on to not piss me off too much. Maybe that makes her predictable, but to me, that's the comforting part. I'm not always guessing at what's going to happen next, but she still leaves me surprised.(less)