Saturday, September 6, 2008

"Acheron" by Sherrilyn Kenyon

After slogging through a couple of not-so-great offerings by Kenyon in her continuing Dark-Hunter, Dream-Hunter, etc series, I was excited to see Ash's story. At last! She'd been promising for a long time to give us the low-down on our favorite uber-tall DH leader, and here it was. I ordered myself a copy through work and anxiously awaited its arrival.

Then it got here. My first reaction wasn't a good one - this thing is HUGE! I was a bit shocked, to say the least, seeing as how most of Kenyon's latest works had seemed to be getting shorter and shorter. This thing is over 700 pages long! Sigh. Not to mention the last 700+ page book to hit my hands was the debacle that was "Breaking Dawn" by Stephenie Meyer. Oh dear, I thought, this is not looking good.

I went ahead and started reading, hoping that this would turn out to be at least OK. It was more than "OK"; this is probably the first one of her books in a long time that I found myself not wanting to put down. The story is told in two parts, the first being Ash's human life, some 11,000 years ago. The second part is, of course, Ash as he is now, all big, bad, and still adorably hot. The author warns readers in an "author's note" at the very beginning of the book that the first part might be hard to read; Ash was an abused child. And I do mean abused in every sense of the word. Part one is a little over 400 pages long, and it was hard to read. Every little detail is revealed - Ash's parents' reaction to him and his twin brother, his very lonely childhood, his sister (maybe the only one who loves him), his abuse at the hands of his uncle, etc. It's not a pretty picture, and it was very, very tempting to skip ahead. Except that skipping this section would also mean that you don't get to see his initial interactions with Artemis, which I found very interesting. Believe it or not, at one point, I truly believe that Artie did love Ash. Being a goddess, of course, means she's got a reputation to protect, which leads to a lot of their later feuds and arguments. You find out why Ash spends time with Artemis even when he doesn't want to. You learn about Simi's origins, too. All in all, the first part IS important to read because it gives you very much needed background info on a lot of people, not just Ash.

The second half of the book is where you get to meet Soteria "Tory" Kafieri, Ash's true love. She's related to another character from another book, so she seemed very, very familiar when introduced. She is, of course, a scientist "babe" who's searching for the lost city of Atlantis, basically carrying on family tradition (sound familiar?). And she's found definitive proof, which is something that Acheron cannot let out into the world. It would mean the release of his mother, which means the destruction of the world, not to mention it would expose Ash's history to all who know him. It's the typical sort of love story from Kenyon, so I wasn't as impressed by this half of the book. It's good, but not "oh my god" good, if you know what I mean. Even though I did like this part of the book, the last few chapters could have been scripted by Hallmark; cue the many, many revelations for the main characters, the power of true love, the bonds of friendship, etc. Almost over the top, but luckily, not.

Overall, yes, it was worth the wait. And yes, it was even worth the length of the book!

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