August 31, 2008

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Back Cover:
Eleven thousand years ago a god was born. Cursed into the body of a human, Acheron endured a lifetime of hatred and spent a lifetime of shame. However, his human death unleashed an unspeakable horror that almost destroyed the earth. Then, brought back against his will, he became the sole defender of mankind.

Only it was never that simple...
For centuries, he has fought for our survival and hidden a past he never wanted revealed. Until a lone woman who refuses to be intimidated by him threatens his very existence.

Now his survival, and ours, depends on her and old enemies reawaken and unite to kill them both.
War has never been more deadly... or more fun

Ever since I finished this book I have been wondering how to set about with the review. Should I review both parts separately? Should I make a summary of the stories?
Would I even be able to write a decent review that portrays my feelings on this book?
I decided to wing it and start typing and I would see what the outcome would be. So here this is me winging it.

Though many readers were anticipating this book something fierce, I didn't catch the fever until the book was actually in my hands and I read the Author's Note by Kenyon in the book. True, Ash has always been a fascinating character in the previous books but for me there was too much mystery surrounding him and I don't connect to characters until I know what makes them tick and why they are as they are. Well, Kenyon delivered big time on this for me. I was touched to the depth of my heart by Acheron's past and by his journey to find that one person he could love and trust unconditionally and I'm so glad he found her in Tory.
I remember when I heard how many pages this book would be, I though it was a lot of pages but now that I’m finished I feel I could have gone on reading Ash’s story endlessly.

After reading part One I understood so much of his comments to the Dark-Hunters and his attitude towards the world in the previous books. I really and truly understand Acheron now. However, I still can't grasp how he dealt with being rejected, abandoned, abused, tortured, degraded and humiliated the way he was in his human life and still came out of it the person he is. Every event, every meeting, every interaction formed Acheron into the man/god he would become in the future.

Unwanted and rejected he still held on to his dignity and took his suffering in stride.
The way he was treated in human life can only eat away at one's humanity but he still bounced back from every form of hurt and betrayal.
How much can a soul take before it gives up?
Well apparently Acheron's can take a lot and still he is compassionate and loyal and always looking out for others, making sure his actions don't hurt them.

I also understood his reluctance to interfere in the Dark Hunters' destinies. He knows firsthand what interference, as well meant as it might be, can do and how it can deteriorate things. Ryssa's POV (point of view) of Ash's youth in the form of her journal in Part One was heartbreaking. Her determination to save him from harm only made things worse, even in the future she inadvertently causes trouble for him, but she was also the first person to show him love.

This book blew me away! Part One was marked by tears with a tiny, tiny hint of the Kenyon humor, Part Two was marked by laugh-out-loud wit and banter Kenyon style, spliced with emotional, heartrending moments. It took me a while to get through Part One but this had nothing to do with the writing style because it was as fast-paced as Part Two and read easily. The delay was because of the many times I had to put it away because I couldn't bear to read about Acheron's suffering and had to get a grip on my emotions. And even in those moments I wanted to go on reading the moment I put it down.

Kenyon found the perfect way to tell Ash's story. In the other books he was the unreachable, untouchable and detached godly leader of the Dark-Hunters, surrounded by mystery and I couldn't quite empathize with him, or get where he was coming from. But in Part One she made him human, both literally and figuratively speaking, less untouchable and I was captivated by the strength in him. This prepared me for how he dealt with Tory in Part Two. The way he accepted and relished her attitude towards him.

Tory was a delightful mix of sarcasm, brains and clumsiness. She was the perfect match for Ash. Any other woman or personality just wouldn't do. The chemistry between them was sensual and endearing. The way they reacted to each other was so much fun to read. I loved the running gag of with the hammer comments and savored how Tory wasn't at all intimidated by Ash. The romance between them made my romantic heart burn with passion.

My opinion of Appolymi has changed totally. She had already started to grow on my in DEVIL MAY CRY, but in Ash's book she truly earned my respect and admiration. I got why she wants to destroy the world and the other Gods so much better now. She will do anything to save her son and those he loves. Her actions haven't always been the most sensible ones but she always had Ash's interest in her mind.

Contrary to my newfound admiration of Appolymi, Artemis has lost any credit she ever could have gotten from me, which already was very, very little. There is no way that goddess can ever redeem herself in my eyes. I understand her actions also made Ash into the man he is now but she is one cold-hearted, selfish, malignant being, not capable of loving anyone else but herself. I don't think she's ready with Tory and Ash but I can't say I'm anticipating her antics. She was the character that irritated me most in this book and she was linked to the one small thing I thought wasn't cleared up in the book and I hope this will be done in future books, preferably in the next, ONE SILENT NIGHT.

Part Two was also kind of a homecoming, seeing all those former Dark-Hunters and other familiar characters (Talon, Zarek, Sunshine, Tabitha, Nick, Julian, Valerius, Wulf) make an appearance. I was thrown back to the feeling I had with the first Dark-Hunter books I read and I loved that feeling.

Where Kenyon didn't enchant me with DEVIL MAY CRY, UPON THE MIDNIGHT CLEAR and DREAM CHASER she has more than made up for it with what I see as one of her best (if not the best one) books yet! This book was so much more than the sum of its two parts. It was the only way to deliver Acheron's story and do him justice.

Ryssa and Acheron:
"Will you not speak to me?"
"And say what, Ryssa? I think my actions speak loudly enough for even a deaf man to hear. But no one ever listens to me either."
"This is so unfair to you."
"Life isn't about being fair," he breathed. "It's not about justice. It's all about endurance and how much we can suffer through."

And an illustration of the relationship between Artemis and Acheron:
She leaned down to kiss his cheek. “You always make me feel so special."
And she always made him feel like shit.

Rating: 10 out of 10


Anonymous said...

I just found your blog and I wanted to let you know you're review system is wonderful! Thanks for these.

Pearl said...

Hi Kelseylynne,

Thank you so much for visiting my blog and complimenting my reviews!


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On My TBR Shelf

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