Monday, September 10, 2007

"Devil May Cry" by Sherrilyn Kenyon

This is the 11th entry in Kenyon's Dark-Hunter series (the 12th is you include "Fantasy Lover" which the author herself does). Alas, as with all long-running series lately, this one has a lot of misses for every hit.

Our hero for this tale is Sin, a Sumerian ex-god. He's bent on revenge against Artemis, the goddess who stole his powers. Of course, it doesn't help that she's the one responsible for creating the Dark-Hunters. And as if things weren't already complicated enough, he's battling to save the world against demons rather than Daimons. The gallu have been increasingly able to escape their underground prisons, mostly thanks to nuclear testing (perhaps a bit of an environmental message from Ms. Kenyon?) The gallu are hoping to release the Dimme who will in turn destroy the world. Add to all this mish-mash the guilt that Sin feels over the mere existence of the gallu; his family are the ones that created them eons ago in hopes of saving their pantheon from destruction.

Enter our heroine, Katra, who is requested by Artemis to locate and kill Sin. Artemis is afraid that Sin is preparing himself to finally kill her and she's not about to let that happen. Katra, one of Artemis's hand-picked handmaidens (and a bit something more, it turns out), flashes herself to Sin's location, only to become entranced by his appearance. For such a bad guy, he's incredibly hot. Then again, all the heroes in Kenyon's DH world are stunning!

Of course Kat decides not to kill Sin. Of course she decides to help him save the world. And of course they become romantically involved and have lots of really hot, awesome sex. What, you thought this one might finally be different? Not a chance! Kenyon has a hot product going; she wouldn't be wise to deviate from her winning formula. Except she has done just that over time. This novel is probably the most blatant in its differences. First, there are no humans in it, at least, none that aren't fodder for the gallu. Sin is an ex-god, Kat is almost a god, Artemis is a goddess, Ash is - well - ASH. Sin's casino employees aren't even human! Help is offered from various other beings including Simi and her sister, both of whom are Charonte demons. (But we love Simi and she provides some much-needed humor in this book!) Sin isn't really even a Dark-Hunter; as he puts it, he's a guy that Ash felt sorry for and gave a job to. Sigh.

There are some good things, namely explanations (finally!) of the true relationship between Ash and Artemis. The goddess comes out looking much better at the end of this book. Of course, she may go back to her usual ways by the next entry, in which case we can only hope that Ash will finally give Simi permission to eat her!

Here's where I found myself getting upset. Sin and Katra are immortal pretty much. Each has been around for a very, very long time; Sin is something like 11,000 years old. Neither has truly been in love until they meet each other. Romantic, right? WRONG! It totally depressed me. I mean, if immortal beings can't get their act together for centuries upon centuries, what hope is there for us mere mortals? Why not just cut our losses now?

Will I continue reading the series? Yeah, probably. The books are fairly short and I'm not ready to throw in the towel yet. But I would suggest to the author that she go back to some of what worked in the first place - a human woman being swept off her feet by a Dark-Hunter, all while battling/running from danger. That formula totally got me hooked because it's exactly the sort of fantasy that most of us mere mortals have. That and a hot guy to do the housework!

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