Monday, September 15, 2008

Review: Acheron

Title: Acheron
Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Dark Hunters/Book 12

The anticipation of this book for many readers has been years in the making. For myself, I started reading the Dark Hunter(DH) series last year. Having read all the DH books there were some that I found less than stellar and a few that I consider favorites. But overall this is one of my favorite series.

While I have been looking forward to Ash's book it was with hesitancy and some trepidation. Would the book live up to all the hype? Because there was a hell of a lot of it. 2008 was proclaimed as "THE YEAR OF ACHERON". MySpace, websites, ComicCon and even TV commercials were all plugging the book.

Now for those of you that aren't familiar with Acheron (that would be you two in the back) here's the synopsis:
The most anticipated story in the blockbuster Dark-Hunter series. The never-before-revealed story of the Dark-Hunter leader, Acheron. He was made human in order to escape death, but in death he was reborn a god. . .

Eleven thousand years ago a god was born. Cursed into the body of a human, Acheron spent a lifetime of shame. However, his human death unleashed an unspeakable horror that almost destroyed the earth. Then, brought back against his will, Acheron 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’ll do anything to keep concealed. Until a lone woman who refuses to be intimidated by him threatens his very existence.
Now his survival, and ours, hinges on hers and old enemies reawaken and unite to kill them both.

War has never been more deadly... or more fun.

Ash has made an appearance in most, if not all of the DH books. He is one of those characters that readers feel they know well and yet know so very little. His book is divided into two parts. Part I deals with Ash's life and death as a human and his early years after he acquired his god powers and became a DH. Part II occurs in present day and is the story of Ash and his heroine and what they must go through to get their HEA.

Part I

Hell, hell and more hell. That pretty much sums up what Ash went through as a human.

Part I starts out as told from Ryssa's point of view as she writes in her journal. Ryssa is Ash's sister and is the only human that really cares about him. While there were some short periods of almost normalcy or what could pass for it in his screwed up existence, overall his life was filled with pain and suffering. Ryssa did attempt to give Ash affection and love but she was limited in what she could do. Her father, a Greek king and her brother Styxx, Ash's twin, hated Ash and would do anything to degraded and punish him.

I won't go into details of the numerous abuses Ash suffered. And they were numerous. Too much at times for this reader. This for me was not a "sit and read for hours" type of book. There were times when I simply had to put it down and read something else. Kenyon does mention in the Author's Note that she "pulled no punches" when writing the first part and she wasn't kidding.

Ash's human existence is a very brutal, often graphic display of the cruel treatment he suffered at the hands of those who should have loved and cherished him. From his human father, uncle and brother Ash received nothing but horrendous treatment at their hands. Even Artemis asked to be friends with him but then showed him that she was also capable of using and abusing him.

The stark reality of what he survived made me wonder how he managed to survive intact. How strong he is to have become such an honorable man. His abuse was so horrific that he did beg to be killed a number of times. Since his life was tied to Styxx's the king dare not allow Ash to die. Instead he had him nearly tortured to death. All of this happening at a very young age. He was only 21 when he died.

When Ash dies as a human he is brought back to life and given his god powers. He now has to figure out how to use those powers. This is where Savitar comes in to help. He also must hunt the Daimons that Apollo helped create with his curse. We find out how Artemis tied Ash to her and convinced him to help with the Dark Hunters that she created to fight the Daimons.

Part II

Fast forward to present time and we find Ash in Nashville listening to a woman lecture on her search for Atlantis. It turns out this woman knows too much and has uncovered evidence to prove the existence of Atlantis. Ash must stop the rest of the world from finding out what new evidence has been uncovered and discredit the lecturer.

The word gets out about the new evidence and it seems like everyone is after the it. Ash must now not only stop the world from finding out the secrets of Atlantis but also keeps his enemies from hurting the only woman who won't be intimidated by him.

There are characters from previous books that come to help Ash as well as long time enemies that are out to get him and his heroine. There are some unexpected twists and answers to many of the questions readers have had about Ash. We find out what's in his backpack that he always carries and where his soul is.

The characters of Jaden and Savitar also get more page time. We've seen bits of them in previous books but have very little knowledge of their background or what they are really capable of. The series is set to continue with Jaden's part next, then Savitar's then an unknown character for the fourth part of the series.

So now the question is did I like the book? It's not an easy answer. While Ash's back story was critical to understanding him and did answer some questions about his relationship with Apollymi, Artemis and Savitar, it was just too long. I think it could have been done with fewer pages of the details of his abuse and still given the reader a very good understanding of him and what shaped him into the man he is. The other problem I had with Part I is the language. I didn't get any sense of historical setting from the language. It came off sounding very modern day. Now I don't know how people spoke 11,000 years ago but I expected it to sound less 21st century.

The second part set in present day was an easier read and I found myself far more interested to find out what would happen. It read and felt more like the other DH books and by itself I would consider it a good addition to the series. But this is Ash's book and because he is so much more than just a Dark Hunter I was expecting something extra special, something epic.

Rating: A-


  1. I read the first 5 or 6 Dark Hunter books then started getting tired of the fact that she spent too much time setting up future books then on the one I was currently reading. Plus she has a tendency to make her heroes TOO tortured. From what I've read, I don't think this is one to start up again with the DH series. I don't like the sounds of the first half. Plus I couldn't stand Simi - that character drove me nuts!!

  2. Kristie ~ Ash is the king of the tortured hero. The first part was hard to read. Even when things were going well I just knew it wouldn't last.

    This is one series that has so many characters you almost have to read all the books IMO. Even then it's hard to keep everyone straight.

    Simi, lol, I can see how she'd drive you nuts. She hasn't change. : )

  3. A friend of mine sent me this book for my birthday. Because I had a column where I am a movie/book/music critic for the local paper she thought I could do an article on it. My editor loved the idea.

    I've read the book six times since I got it and that was two weeks ago. I don't see how you can say something like "Too much torture" the characters seem real and if you think of what life was like when they were supposed to be human (the first time around anyway) that is how brutal and terrible things were. Don't knock the books because you can't understand how times were back then.

    If you had read the opening acknowledgments then you'd learn that Kenyon set up the basis for Atlantis to be technologically more advanced than the rest of the world. And once Apollymi sank it into the ocean, the world was essentially knocked back to the stone age in some areas.

    Acheron is a tale that touches on all emotions and feelings. It experiences everything you can experience on each side of the scope of good and evil. It's natural and human and taps a lot into our inner selves. Aside from the prostitution and beatings, I can honestly say that for mostly emotionally I understood what drove Ash's actions to react the way he does. Don't read it as expecting it to be top of the world. Read it as if learning about his experiences and finally - FINALLY - learning about the past that is Acheron. *smiles* Almost like Jesse poured over Lestat's journal in the Queen of the Damned movie. So too must we go into Acheron with reverence and eagerness.

  4. I realize that every reader can have different responses to a story. This review is simply my response to Ash's story. I certainly don't expect everyone else to agree with me. Reading is a very personal experience and I would never tell someone how to go about reading a book or what their reaction should be afterwards.