Dance With the Devil

Dark Side of the Moon

Dream Chaser

Kiss of the Night

Man of My Dreams

Naughty or Nice?

Night Embrace

Night Play

Night Pleasures

Unleash the Night

by Sherrilyn Kenyon
(St. Martin's, $24.95, R) ISBN  978-0-312-36215-7
So, anyone who's read even one of Sherrilyn Kenyon's nearly countless Dark Hunter series books knows who Acheron is: baddest of the bad-asses, hottest of the hunky Dark Hunters, and perhaps the most tortured of the bunch. Definitely the most mysterious; and personally, with his Goth clothes and never-far-from-reach backpack, I always thought the quirkiest man in paranormal fiction.

The first half of Acheron's self-titled book would lead one to believe the same. A god implanted in the womb of a human queen, and all but banished from his mortal family, Acheron had no idea who or what he really was – all he knew was how to be, literally, a whore, because that's what his human father made of him. One member of the royal family, his sister Ryssa, always tried to make him part of the family, and though Acheron's reactions to her affections varied, he suffered violently for them from his father the king or his brother, Prince Styxx.

Though he comes into his Atlantean god powers at the age of 21, Acheron is killed by the god Apollo. Acheron's on-again, off-again lover, the god's sister Artemis, pulls him out of the Underworld to save her own skin, much to Acheron's dismay. She binds Acheron to herself with blood, which is probably the worst of her many, many sins against him in the course of their eleven-thousand-year relationship. Another of her better plans to keep Acheron her loyal pet is to create the Dark Hunters – and hold their souls, unless Ash chooses to pay for them by whatever means Artie sees fit.

So, fast forward several millenia, and enter Soteria Kafieri into the formula. She's an archaeologist whose family has spent several generations searching for Atlantis. Since Ash doesn't want anything from his past to surface, fearing what the other Dark Hunters will think of him (yeah, gimme a break – like he gives a damn after over a thousand centuries), he does his best to discredit Tory when she finally does unearth some physical evidence – including Ryssa's journals, which also contain the secrets to killing Greek gods, namely Apollo (who had been Ryssa's lover – the story for the destruction of the Apollites and the creation of the Daimons exists in Acheron as well) and Artemis.

So, now, Ash isn't the only one involved, and the other guys are just a little meaner – or so they think. And Tory and Ash have some adjustments of their own to make on their respective perspectives on life, love, and how to deal with all of the above.

Whew. That's a mouthful. What I have to say about my impressions of Acheron is not. I was severely disappointed.

All these years of build-up, then the revelations into his young life and then ... it fell totally flat. I'm sure I'm not alone in feeling that Acheron's love story should have been something special. It is understood that many "miraculous" things have happened in previous Dark Hunter novels, and they would be hard to surpass, but if nothing else, Ash should have been a bigger man. Who cares if he's a god? The insight into the modern-day man is minimal, his feelings for Tory are pretty superficial, and the blow-out ending totally fizzled. Not to mention the fact that a guy should learn to cope after a gazillion years. Great, Ash is just like one of the other guys. But he isn't. He never has been. And he shouldn't have been portrayed that way.

--Sarrah Knight

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