I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
It is part of the , series and is a paranormal romance that was published by St. Martin's Press on September 3, 2013 and has 836 pages.
Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.
Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Blood Trinity, Man of My Dreams, Invincible, Born of Shadows, Retribution, Big Guns Out of Uniform, Tapestry, Deadly Promises, In Other Worlds, Dream Warrior, "One BAD Night", Dark Side of the Moon, Alterant, The Guardian, Whispered Lies, Infamous, Born of Silence, Aftertaste, The Curse, Inferno, Rise of the Gryphon, Dangerous Women, Son of No One, Dragonbane, Born of Vengeance, Deadmen Walking
Twenty-second in the Dark-Hunter paranormal romance series. The focus is on Styxx, his life from birth to death after death after death.
The “3”. I’m torn in describing Kenyon’s writing of this tale. Technically, it’s very well-written but an editor needed to stop her. It’s too much. Way too much. So, that “3” is a compromise between the “5” of the pathos of Styxx’s life and the “1” of the horrific repetition.
Jesus. I can’t begin to say how incredibly, awfully, disgustingly depressing this one is. And I think Kenyon needed an editor to say stop. It goes on FOREVER on how awful Styxx’s life is. And it is. I don’t know how he managed to stay alive. I don’t know why he never ran away. His life would have been 1,000% better if he had.
It’s taken me a week to get 536 pages in. Mostly because I had to keep putting this down as it was so god-awfully depressing and disgusting. Once you hit page 536, it’s like reaching the hilltop of despair with that turn-of-event which changes everything. Compared to what’s gone before, it’s not the worst. Which I can’t believe I’m saying, because it is awful, just not as incredibly awful as the life Styxx led in the previous pages.
What’s good about this story is the background it provides on Acheron and Styxx’s beginnings. We finally learn what Acheron has been hiding from us for tens of books. And I thoroughly understand why. Jesus. It also explains why Apollo curses the Apollites (talk about senseless!! and we never do learn who commits the murders), how Acheron becomes a god, and Styxx gets stomped yet more into the dust.
Acheron and Styxx are twins and psychic; they can hear each other’s thoughts while only Styxx hears everyone’s thoughts. Styxx also feels any pain that Acheron has. And as long as Acheron lives, so will Styxx. If Styxx dies, Acheron will live.
How can Xerxes believe that Styxx is his son but not Acheron when both look exactly alike and people comment on how much Styxx looks like his father? How can that asshat of a father not see how Styxx is treated by everyone? Acheron must know about the drugs. What about their pyschic abilities? Acheron ignores this completely?
I can’t believe it takes Styxx this long to deal with Estes. Thank god, Bethany steps up for Styxx to Apollo and forces him to admit to what Apollo considers Styxx’s hubris. Any country would be thrilled to have him for a native son. Then there’s the trip to Egypt. If it’s so frickin’ important, and Bethany can blink him there, why is it necessary for him to pack up and plan to head out on a horse? Bethany can blink in and blink out with him. No worries.
Y’know, considering what Apollymi did to the other twin, I haven’t any sympathy for her.
What I really want to know is why Styxx hung around at all.
Atlantean gods have to keep their promises or they die?
It’s brutal. It’s disgusting. Be very sure you can handle this.
I can’t. I just can’t summarize this, so I’ll use the book’s description — none of which sounds anything like what’s happened so far in 536 pages when there are only 300 to go…
Centuries ago Acheron saved the human race by imprisoning an ancient evil bent on absolute destruction. Now that evil has been unleashed and it is out for revenge.
As the twin to Acheron, Styxx hasn’t always been on his brother’s side. They’ve spent more centuries going at each other’s throats than protecting their backs. Now Styxx has a chance to prove his loyalty to his brother, but only if he’s willing to trade his life and future for Acheron’s.
The Atlantean goddess of Wrath and Misery, Bethany was born to right wrongs. But it was never a task she relished. Until now. She owes Acheron a debt that she vows to repay, no matter what it takes. He will join their fellow gods in hell and nothing is going to stop her.
But things are never what they seem, and Acheron is no longer the last of his line. Styxx and Acheron must put aside their past and learn to trust each other or more will suffer.
Yet it’s hard to risk your own life for someone who once tried to take yours, even when it’s your own twin, and when loyalties are skewed and no one can be trusted, not even yourself, how do you find a way back from the darkness that wants to consume the entire world? One that wants to start by devouring your very soul?
Prince Styxx Aricles is the heir to the throne (in name only) and Acheron’s twin brother. He led the Stygian Omada, a legendary army that wages war against Atlantis. His desert animals are Jabar, his horse, Wasima the camel, and Skylos the dog. Aricles Galen is another son. Galen is his hoplomachos, fighting instructor, who goes from bestial tyrant to loving father figure. Philip is Galen’s son who died in a senseless battle. Antigone is Galen’s daughter.
Bethany is the blind girl (Bet in disguise) who befriends Hector. Dynatos is the protective dog that Hector buys for Bethany.
His gods-bedamned family
King Xerxes of Didymos is Acheron and Styxx’s father, but he doesn’t believe he is. It’s the eyes that give it away. Ryssa is their bitch of a spoiled sister. Their mother, Aara, is a drunken sot who despises everyone and Styxx and Acheron the most. Apollodorus is Ryssa’s son.
Uncle Estes is the brother Xerxes will hear no evil against. The perverts with Estes include Lords Noe and Nestor of Athens, Leon of Macedonia, and Xan of Atlantis (Prince Zericles is Xan’s cousin). Lenas is his uncle’s manservant.
Dorus is the only man in Didymos Styxx has ever met in friendship besides Galen. Gaius is a soldier who befriends the prince. Darian is a soldier whose life Styxx saved. Nefertari is an Egyptian princess Xerxes intends Styxx to marry. What. A. Bitch.
Senators, Xerxes’ advisers and friends, are Barax, Krontes, and Peles who chortle gleefully as they run Styxx and Acheron down.
King Kreon of Halicarnassus is an ally of Didymos.
The Atlantean pantheon
Katateros is the main temple from which these gods rule. Archon is the king of the Atlantean gods, husband to Apollymi, goddess of destruction. Apostolos, a.k.a., Acheron, a.k.a., Ash, is the son she bore him that Archon (yup, his dad) and all the Atlantean gods are hunting so they can kill him. Well, prophecy does say that if Apostolos grows to adulthood, he’ll kill the Atlantean pantheon and its people. Zenobi, the North Wind, is Acheron’s grandmother. Basi is the drunken goddess of excess who had hidden Apostolos. Misos is Archon’s brother and rules in the Hell realm, Kalosis. Chara is the goddess of joy and happiness. Epithymia is the goddess of all desires and Apollymi’s half-sister. Diafona is the goddess of discord; Pali is strife; Hephaestion is a messenger god; Dikastis is the god of justice and Apollymi’s beloved step-grandson (he’s kind of a weak jerk); Asteros; Demonbrean is the size of a horse; and, Teros and Phanen are Bet’s cousins and the gods of fear and panic. The Fates are Lachesis, Atropos, and Clotho; they screwed up. Acheron is their half-brother due to Archon’s misbehavior.
Bet’anya Agriosa is the goddess of wrath and misery, a.k.a., Princess of Thebes; her mother is Symfora the goddess of sorrow while her father is Set, the Egyptian god of chaos and evil and her great-grandfather is Misos.
Xiamara is Apollymi’s best friend and protector, and I get the impression that she was masquerading as Ryssa?? No, Xiamara was Simi’s mother, a Charonte demon (if anyone can figure out who she was masquerading as in the palace at Didymos ???); Simi shows up in Katateros, looking for her akri. Xirena is here as well with a mention of their brother, Xedri, and his club in New Orleans.
The Greek pantheon
Apollo is one I’d like to stake out on a cold, dark ice floe. His “children” are the Apollites, who live among the Atlanteans. Leto is his and Artemis’ mother, and a right bitch. Athena is the goddess of wisdom and just warfare who attends the queen at the birth of Acheron and Styxx. The one who proclaims Acheron’s godhead and condemns him. It won’t help Styxx either. Dionysus is Apollo’s brother. Poena and Eris serve Apollo and provide the deception that tears the Aricles family apart even more. Artemis is the cowardly goddess of the hunt and fertility and Apollo’s twin (she’ll die if he dies) who takes Acheron as a lover but refuses to help him in any way. Hades is the god of death and the Underworld, and he’s irked. Persephone is his beloved wife; Demeter is his gods-bedamned mother-in-law. Mnemosyne is the goddess of memory.
Strykerius is the son of the Atlantean queen and Apollo who gets taken in by Apollymi when Daddy Undearest accidentally curses him along with the Apollites. He leads the Daimons who attack Ash’s Hunters. Davyn is Stryker’s second-in-command; Zolan is third-in-command. Zephyra is Stryker’s wife. Satara is the daughter of Apollo and Stryker’s sister.
The Egyptian pantheon
Maahes is Bethany’s cousin and the god of war, Aunt Ma’at, Osiris, and Horus swear to Bet that they’ll help protect her husband-to-be from Set. Seth is Set’s son and High Guardian for Noir in Azmodea. Zura seems to be Noir’s wife.
Camulus is a Celtic-Gallic war god conspiring with Dionysus.
Nick Gautier‘s life spans from friendship to hatred in this story. Sunshine Runningwolf, Talon‘s wife, is used. Zarek. Danger is a spirit who married Alexion. They live in Ash’s temple. Urian was a Daimon, Stryker’s son, and now Ash’s second-in-command.
Soteria, a.k.a., Tory, is Ash’s wife. Sebastos and Theron are Ash and Tory’s sons. Arik is a former dream god who is married to Tory’s cousin Geary.
Savitar is a Chtonian, the man who trained Ash to use his god powers. Katra is Acheron’s daughter with Artemis and married to Sin, a Sumerian god? They have a daughter, Mia. Zakar is Sin’s brother.
The Bedouin encampment
Sheikh Saif rules the tribe Styxx visits; Rahim is Saif’s cousin who is married to Yesenia. Sadur is the child who takes the reins. Dima is Saif’s daughter and interested in Styxx. Mindy is the tourist with the inhaler.
The Cover and Title
The cover has a background of the deepest purple with a phoenix of flames spanning the front against a round shield border. Styxx’s personal emblem.
The title is all about Styxx, Acheron’s twin brother.