I think I'm one of the first people to finish reading this book (one who didn't get an ARC anyway).
Where to start? This book is downright brutal to read. It'll push your boundaries like nobodies business. The book is split in 2. Part 1 is Ash's mortal life. Part 2 is his life in the present. And I'll be honest, I'm going to have spoilers throughout this entire review. If you haven't read it & want to be surprised...DO NOT READ THIS POST!!!!
Part 1 actually starts out via Ash's sister. It is from her journal entries that we witness Ash's introduction to this world. We witness her horror when he is cast out from the family & sent to live with her uncle.
It is sporadic throughout the first few years of his life that she chronicles. We see what happened to him once he was cast out. And let me tell you...it's horrific. She has no clue, until she goes to see him after receiving a letter from her uncle's household telling her she needs to come...now. She makes her excuses and takes off to find her little brother.
Oh, when she finds him. My heart just aches at that scene. What she finds him doing. Can you imagine being 15, a male, and a whore...in your uncle's house? And not only that, but beaten and humiliated every single day? I was in tears reading her horror at what she witnesses.
Ash, that poor, confused little boy, is now anybody's play thing. He is a sex slave and must do whatever is demanded of him, no matter how degrading or horrible it might be. The things she witnesses alone are enough to make your stomach hurt.
Indignant, she releases him and spirits him away. It takes a long time, but she's finally able to get him to trust her.
When she finally is able to get him to eat food and to smile? Tears. *sniffle* I don't think I've ever cried so much.
From the day he was born, he was cursed to never be loved. He can't trust anyone and when something happens, he is always the one to blame. All he wants is to die, but he can't do that because his life force is thoroughly entwined with his identical twin. Styxx hates him. It's horrific.
Raped, beaten, thoroughly degraded by anyone and everyone, Ash's real life is finally revealed to him on his 21st birthday. Drunk and alone, he tries to jump off the balcony, only to be saved by a Charonte demon. His true likeness is revealed, but instead of being happy he's horrified. All he wants, more than anything, is to die in peace.
All throughout Part 1, his relationship with Artemis, the reasons behind his absolute disgust for his brother, and the reason why he so desperately wants to be alone is revealed. Artemis...oh, she's evil. When they first meet, she's intrigued by this human who has no fear of her. In her warped mind, she love him, but she also goes out of her way to torture him. The horrible things she does to him...it's enough to make you want to throw up.
And when he finally dies and is thrilled? She betrays him again. Argh!
Part 2. I was not as impressed by this as I was by Part 1. There are some major inconsistencies that don't mesh with the other stories. I know, Ms. Kenyon is notorious for that. The woman who Ash falls for? I totally dug her. She rocks. She's sarcastic and funny and totally throws Ash for a loop. She's awesome!
Do I believe she's the only one who can save him? Not really. And the end? What happens to allow her to stay with Ash...just really fried me. It was a total copout and bugged me. Still, it made for great reading.
I still ache for Nick. I'm really, really looking forward to his story...whenever that may be.
So, what did I think of the story? Part 1 killed me. It was emotional, heartwrenching and enough to make me want to kill fictional characters. Part 2 was definitely weaker. Weaker in plot and nowhere near as emotional as Part 1. I don't think ANYTHING could be as emotional as Part 1.
All in all I really, really enjoyed this book. If you've been a fan of Acheron throughout the Dark-Hunter series, than I think you will like this too. It gave a relatively satisfying end to this phase of the Dark-Hunter story. Now, I'm really, really looking forward to Fang and Aimee's story (next summer! Whee!).
My Rating: Serious A for Part 1. B- for Part 2. Overall rating: Solid B