Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon
Read copy: Mass Market Paperback
Published: November 4, 2008
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks
While the world carries on unawares, Stryker, who leads an army of demons and vampires, is plotting an all out onslaught against his enemies—which, unfortunately for us, includes the entire human race. To avenge his sister, Stryker prepares to annihilate the Dark-Hunters. But things go awry when his oldest enemy returns. Enter his ex-wife. Zephyra. Just when he thought nothing could stop him, he’s now embroiled in a centuries old war with a shrew who gives new meaning to pain.
Well, Stryker is definitely one of those evil baddies I love to hate. This book merely confirmed why I can't truly hate his tight, sexy butt. I always suspected there's more to Stryker than we've glimpsed so far, and I was so right it's scary. Deep down he has a certain integrity, and a (twisted as it may be) sense of honor. Also, when a bad guy, no matter how evil he might be, shows he's capable of deep and true love, I just can't hold a grudge...Until the next time he does one of his evil deeds.
The bad guy getting his book ploy was an interesting, bold, and possibly damning move, yet Kenyon marvelously nailed it with panache. I hesitated with picking this book up, because I was truly afraid it would be a total bust, but in reality it was a really good read.
We got interesting glimpses into the life, psyche and heart of the series' leading villain, which explained some of the rather ambiguous and mind-boggling moves he's pulled along the story-arc.
I'm glad he got his HEA, though it'll be a rocky road with that hellion at his side, but if I know something about Stryker it's that he doesn't back from a challenge.
The last couple of chapters were an almost masterpiece in plot-twistage. Since the book was released around Christmas, the big whopper of a twist might come through as sappy and overly touchy-feely, but Kenyon once again showed her true mettle and pulled an ending that was fitting and poignant without any seasonal sappines, but instead filled with her signature sarcastic undertone and kick-ass action. Beautifully done.
There are three things that prevented me from fully enjoying this story, though.
One was Nick's usual blame-game that's really getting old by now and just made me roll my eyes and skip those passages. For someone who used to brag about how manly and butch he is, he apparently can't be man enough to admit to his own blame...It's much easier tossing that blame around and get angry at the whole world. I really wish someone would pummel some sense in the little cretin.
The second was Zephyra. I love tough, kick-ass chicks, and I'm glad she's there to give Stryker some grief, but the hate-you routine was dragged for too long and at the end the loathing act was more out of habit that real anger. For someone who's lived as long as she has, she acted a bit childish in that department.
And the third was the whole life-source-bonding thingy. It started with Ash and Styxx, but now everybody is somehow bonded to someone like one big hippy family. It's a bit too convenient for my taste, and it's slowly turning into a cheap party trick instead of tension and drama increasing plot device.