Archeron

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

 
One Silent Night
by Sherrilyn Kenyon
(St. Martin's, $6.99, PG-13) ISBN 978-0-312-94706-4
****
In Sherrilyn Kenyon's world, even the bad guys get a love story, and Stryker's probably won't melt the hearts of the Scrooges out there, but what do you expect from a guy who's spent several millennia feeding off of humanity?

Stryker is the bastard half-Apollite son of Apollo. Those of you who read Kenyon are familiar with Apollites, but for those of you who aren't: they're basically vampires cursed by Apollo himself to either die at the age of twenty-seven or live on human souls, which are consumed through the taking of blood. When an Apollite chooses to start feeding off of humans, they become Daimons, which Stryker's advanced aged proves he did.

He's pretty much a bitter guy, even toward himself. His father always found fault with him, and failed to exclude him from the aforementioned curse when it was laid (thus leading to the deaths of most of his children and wives). His adoptive mother, the Atlantean goddess of distruction, Apollymi (who happens to be the perennial favorite, Ash's, biological mother), has punished him severely for attacking her son, but he remains tied to her life force, so he can't take her out. The list goes on, but right now, Stryker's primary concerns are Ash and Nick Gautier.

What's a guy to do? He can't seem to track Nick and Ash is a pretty much all-powerful Atlantean god. Stryker decides to release a god made for destruction, even of other gods: War. He does this knowing it will lead to his own death (War's M.O. is to destroy the one who called him), but figures it's his time.

Naturally, this ticks the other gods off. For one thing, the pantheons had to band together to subdue War the last time he got out. Artemis, in particular, is annoyed, because she still has a thing for Ash. So Artemis sends one of her most trusted assassins after Stryker, the half-Daimon, half-demon Zephyra, so fierce she drank the blood of a demon as a bargaining chip to save her daughter and wreak havoc on humanity.

Stryker's in for a bit of a surprise. Not the assassin; he and his aunt have never been on the best of terms. However, he had thought Zephyra long dead. As in, eleven thousand years' worth of dead, since he was married to her in his human lifetime. Zephyra's never forgiven him for leaving her, poor and pregnant, at the grand old age of fourteen. That's a really long time to hold a grudge, but as Stryker's still carrying a torch, perhaps not so out of line. Maybe when you're immortal those little human failings haunt you more. So, the two end up working out a plan to join forces for two weeks, and then Stryker will submit to Zephyra (big of him, seeing as his death is imminent anyway). Zephyra shows Stryker and his band of merry Daimons a few nifty demon tricks, Stryker reveals the depth of the feelings he still has for Phyra, and things are looking ... well, as okay as they can when you're an evil supervillain with a scary thing named War after you. Then War kidnaps their daughter, and Stryker is forced to appeal to his archenemies, Ash and Nick, for help saving her.

Though the name suggests it, One Silent Night isn't what you'd consider a holiday novel. It happens to take place around Christmas, but individuals who are parts of various pantheistic cultures don't really celebrate this particular holiday.

Since Stryker's not playing for the good guys, One Silent Night is missing one thing that's usually pretty important in Kenyon's books: whining about all the bad stuff he's done or that's been done to him. Thank goodness, Stryker's outlook on life is pretty much no apologies, no regrets.It gives the reader an opportunity to look at the guy as a man instead of a victim. It's also a nice change from the norm, especially for those of you who have kinda started to think that each Dark Hunter book is not unlike the one before it..

Also spoiler alert! for Nick fans out there, there are some BIG changes in his character in this book, and in the foreword, Sherrilyn mentions that he has his own series developing.

--Sarrah Knight


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