Sins of the Night
I have only read Fantasy Lover and two short stories in Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter world. Since I can’t ever seem to read a series in order, I figured Sins of the Night was as good a place as any to revisit the world Kenyon created. I wasn’t disappointed and am glad I’ve been glom-buying this series, but Sins of the Night does seem to be building more on the back-story and has a “file away – you will need this information later” feel to it.
Kenyon does provide an Author Forward, instructing readers that The Beginning, a short story about Acheron (aka Ash, and the first Dark Hunter ever created), should be read as the second in this lengthy series – reading it prior to Sins of the Night really helped. (the short story is actually printed following the book, or you can read it at her website). I like it when an author tries to make things easy for me, and hey two stories for the price of one, so score! It does let the cat out of the bag regarding who Alexion is, although honestly since the author does it, I can’t see that it was a big secret.
Alexion is Ash’s right-hand man, Dark Hunters who break the “code,” written by Ash, answer to Alexion. Every Dark Hunter made a deal with the devil, or in this case, Artemis. Each was betrayed when they were human, resulting in their death, at which point Artemis, hearing their souls scream, offered them a chance to take vengeance. The catch is that from that moment on, Artemis owns their soul. Dark Hunters spend the rest of forever protecting humans by fighting Daimons. They are the pawns Artemis uses to keep Ash on a leash, at least as much as anyone can keep Ash – so really, no matter how you look at it, any Dark Hunter you run across is gonna have issues.
On Katoteros, Ash and Alexion watch over the Hunters on a mystic scroll thing – think real reality T.V. (it had me hmmming Somebody’s Watching You). Alexion is about to be sent down to take care of the Mississippi Dark Hunters because a few of them are trying to get the entire group to turn against Ash. Since Ash can see the future, it sort of ruins the surprise.
But Alexion has a history with one of the Dark Hunters, and because of that past frienship, he wants the chance to change Kyros’s mind. Fate may already be written, but that little something called “free will” can and does shake things up at times…so off to the human world he goes.
Ash very nicely shacks Alexion up with the female Dark Hunter, Dangereuse St. Richard aka Danger (you can see the Alexion is in Danger jokes from here, can’t you?). Danger is very much a smartass, so I liked her but really we are told more about her than we ever get to see her in action. This is why I think this book’s main purpose is to move Kenyon’s fantasy world forward more than it is to give us a love story. Although Alexion and Danger do generate some flames and heat up the sheets, I was more focused on what was going on with the Dark Hunters and who was going to save them than I was focused on Alexion and Danger’s HEA. The ending surprised me…at first I was a little miffed on how Ash decides to handle things even though I understood the reasoning.
What struck me as particularly fascinating was the love Ash and Alexion have for each other, and for Simi (Ash’s demon). They know it, they acknowledge it, but don’t feel the need to qualify it – they don’t need to say, “Yes, I love him, but not in that way.” It drives home that family can be blood but it can also be what you create. There is a strong sense of home here and I hope to see more of these characters together in the future.
I am not certain how all the pop culture references will hold up over time, but for the most part they are amusing. And how can it not bring a smile to a reader’s face when the villain refers to the Dark Hunters as too stupid to live?
This book is more of a place-holder story than anything else…it’s not the best in the series, nor is it at the bottom of the heap. If you are already a fan, it is a must read. If you are on the fence and can deal with starting a series well after its start (Kenyon places it 12th in the series on her website) – go for it. Otherwise, sit yourself down and read them in order. If you are looking to lose yourself in a fantasy, I highly recommend this world. There is a little something for everyone.