**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)
I have been waiting for Paris' book for a long time. It didn't disappointment in the slightest. I read a lot of reviews about how the relationship bet...moreI have been waiting for Paris' book for a long time. It didn't disappointment in the slightest. I read a lot of reviews about how the relationship between Sienna and Paris seemed 'forced', but I actually really liked how natural they seemed together. It's a romance novel, folks. People don't fall in love and want to be married/mated/bonded to each other in a few weeks' time. I read romance novels to suspend belief and enjoy the...well...romance of it all. A few of Gena's couples seemed forced to me, but I think it's because I just never really cared for the females. Gena hasn't always done a very good job writing her female characters, so despite what Sienna was, I actually really liked her. She had her flaws, but so does everyone, but she was still a head strong female who didn't let the big tough 'hero' fight her battles for her. She held her own, and I think she fit Paris very well. I was surprised at the ending book, that Gena went there in that respect, but I'm interested to see where she goes from here. At least I hope she continues the series so that Torin, Kane, and Cameo can finally have their stories. The only person's background that I want finally answered is William's. I'm not particular if he has his own book, just that Gena finally reveals his true self. (I have a theory that he is the angels' One True Deity.)
Personally, I loved this book. I think it's writing was far superior to her others, but I think it's because she made it bigger and allowed herself to actually expand on the story and not try to fit all this plot into 300 pages. I'm interested to see where she goes with her new angels series. I have a feeling that Kane's story will be intertwined with one of the angels', so perhaps we'll get his book through that. Only time will tell. (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)
**spoiler alert** I have so many feelings about this book, I don't know even know where to start. I have been waiting for Tohr's book since Lassiter b...more**spoiler alert** I have so many feelings about this book, I don't know even know where to start. I have been waiting for Tohr's book since Lassiter brought him back in Phury's book. I feel like Manny and Payne's book was a filler to introduce No'One/Autumn, because this book was written far better than that book. I also had no emotional attachment to Manny or Payne, so that book didn't really keep with me. Ward brings up back to the Brotherhood where the last brother (so far) has his story told. If Ward does anything right, it's that she writes heartache and angst with so much gumption, that she leaves my heart breaking in half every five seconds. Tohrment's book was no exception.
I think I have to say that I have a tie between Vishous and Tohr being my favorite Brothers. There is something about them both that drew me to them over the others. I don't really have a lot of feelings about Autumn. I'm just glad that Tohr finally found his peace and his happy ending. I think my favorite part in this book was during Wellsie's Fade Ceremony where all the Brothers were giving Tohr personal items to show that they were with him. The bond between all of them is so incredible tangible, that I swear you can feel it inside your chest. These Brothers just aren't there for each other. They love each other like honest to goodness brothers, and you know they would all die for each other. Mated or not, at the end of the day, these males have been through a lot of tragedy together, and they are as bonded to each other as they are to their mates. I love how throughout this entire series, Ward never lost sight of that. They all did some pretty screwed up stuff, but they never gave up on each other. I cried like a baby during that scene. It was just so beautifully written, and honestly, I liked it better than any Autumn and Tohr scene combined.
I also really love how we go back to John Matthew and Xhex, and how they are dealing with being mated. I love that Ward's couples aren't all happily ever after. Xhex is one of my favorite characters. I love how strong she is yet at the same time, she can just be as vulnerable as any other female. I loved that she wasn't going to sit around and let the Brotherhood dictate what she, as a female, could do. She doesn't need a man to do her fighting for her, and I love that she didn't back down just for the sake of her "marriage". In the end, both she and John had to work out their issues, and I'm glad it was resolved in a realistic manner.
BLAY AND QUHINN ARE FINALLY GOING TO GET THEIR OWN BOOK. I have watched them become the males that they are, and watched as they continued to fight the fact that they are in love with each other. Well, more of Quhinn fighting it, and Blay trying to fight his own feelings. The end of the book where they look at each other, really look at each other for the first time in months, my heart did a little dance. I'm excited to see how Ward is going to approach this. Homosexuality has always been prominent in Ward's books, and there's always been the homoerotic subtext to the relationship between the brothers. Look at Vishous and Butch. Homosexuality isn't a really popular subject in adult romance fiction, but I'm glad that Ward is going there. I just want these two to finally have their happy ending with each other. And Ward better as hell pair them together or I will rage and never pick up another book of hers.
If she gives Xcor a book of his own, I think I might be a bit peeved that she's wasting paper and ink on a character I care nothing about. I had to force myself not to flip through his chapters because I just could not care at all. And the fact that Layla is probably going to be his HEA just makes me want to vomit. We shall see, though. Maybe it will be a story about redemption, and hell, after Quhinn and Blay, she won't have any other Brothers to write about. I'd prefer Throe over Xcor, though.
One final thought: Ward never skimps on the sex. Thank you for that, lady. Thank you.(less)