The Dark-Hunter series of books by Sherrilyn Kenyon is my new favorite obsession! Kenyon has created a modern myth world featuring her deranged army of delectable dark heroes. The Dark Hunter books strike me because they feature the supernatural, paranormal, legendary, magical, mythical and fabled. She writes about the deities of ancient civilizations, the people of epochs past, demons, vampires and mortals (with or without superhuman gifts) living in a dangerous convoluted world full of adventure, betrayal, romance, love, sex, passion and redemption. Allow me to share the Dark Hunter world with you.
In the time before time, Apollo (Greek god of the light) created his own people in a bid to one-up his father Zeus and his creations the humans. His Apollites- named after their creator-were superior to mere mortals vis-a-vis physical beauty, height and psychic abilities and like Apollo, they were all blonde. They matured to full adulthood by age 13 and could have their children then. In a twist of fate, the woman Apollo loved (Ryssa) was brutally murdered by a group of Apollites influenced by Apollymi (Atlantean goddess of destruction aka “The destroyer) and his fury he cursed them into despair. Apollo banished the Apollites to only ever be able to exist in darkness as the light he commands was now forbidden to them. When they exposed themselves to sunlight, they would die! In addition, he sentenced them to an agonizing 24 hour death on their 27th birthday as that was Ryssa’s age when they killed her. He gave the Apollites fangs and made it so that they had to feed on each other’s blood for survival. Many Apollites resigned themselves to this fate but more still resorted to suicide in order to avoid the excruciating pain of their demise at 27. Desperate to find a way out, one Apollite by the name of Strykker found salvation.
Apollymi, in her quest to anger Apollo divined on Strykker the secret to avoiding the Apollitic death: human blood. She enlightened him on the dark knowledge that by taking a human soul (through drinking blood), an Apollite would be able to avoid imminent death and prolong life. And so Strykker did and became the first Daimon and the leader of all Daimons to follow. Creatures that look exactly like the Apollites but who are enemies of mankind, stalking them and killing them in the night like vampires. Creatures who, unlike the neutral Apollites, have chosen a sinister existence. However, the Daimons cannot reproduce because they are now undead.
Daimons can but do not feed on each other for it serves them no purpose. They have “ink-blots” on their chests where the human souls they have consumed accumulate. They exist in different classes: Spathi, their most fiersome warriors; Agkelus that are considered cowardly by the rest as they’ve made a “moral choice” to only kill evil humans (criminals and murderers); and Trelos – those Agkelus that have turned psychotic after consuming to many evil souls and are hunted down even by the other Daimons as they are now indiscriminate in their killings.
On realizing the presence of Daimons and their feeding rituals dangerously tipping the balance of the universe (less humans) Apollo approached his twin sister Artemis (Greek goddess of the hunt and chastity) to help restore cosmic equilibrium. She in turn sought Acheron aka Ash (the last of the Atlantean gods, the Final Fate) to help, and 11 millenia ago, he became the first Dark Hunter and she later created an army of them. Dark Hunters were created from individuals that lived a most terrible life and suffered a horrendous death. Upon their death, Artemis barters their soul in exchange for a single act of vengeance 24 hours within their rebirth. After this, she keeps their souls and they are to forever live in servitude to her until someone worthy passes one of her tests and wins a dark Hunter’s soul back for them. She commissions them to protect mankind by hunting down and killing the Daimons and all other forces that threaten mankind (including a few deities). Artemis made sure that each Dark Hunter is the embodiment of physical beauty,seduction and carnal pleasure (although love is forbidden to them ). Most of the Dark Hunters have special abilities such as telekinesis or the control of the elements and she pays them very handsomely on a monthly basis. Most of them even get Squires; mortals that know who and what they are and are dedicated to protecting their identities and helping them live conveniently and comfortably.
Dark Hunters have a double-bow and arrow tattoo on their delectable bodies where Artemis touched them to immortalize them. Unbeknownst to the Dark Hunters (only Artemis & Ash are privy to this info) stabbing this mark is fatal to a Dark Hunter. The only other ways to kill them are through beheading, dismembering them or exposing them to sunlight. They are otherwise invincible; supernaturally strong and fit with the ability to heal and regenerate in a very short time. They are sometimes helped to heal during their sleep by the sleep gods called Oneroi. When two or more Dark Hunters are close to each other, they drain each others’ powers and so most of them are stationed relatively far apart. Artemis also made it so that when one Dark Hunter attacks another, s/he feels the pain ten-fold!
Dark Hunters have excellent senses and are fanged as well. they suffer blood-thirst but are forbidden to ever drink from a human though one by the name of Zarek is a known feeder.
In Addition to the Dark Hunters, there are also Were Hunters in the fight against evil (Daimons). Were Hunters comprise two groups of shape-shifters: The Arcadians who have a human heart and can shape shift into animals at will after puberty; and The Katagaria who have an animal heart and can morph into humans at will after puberty. These two groups of shape-shifters are descended from King Lycaon of Arcadia who did not know his queen was an Apollite until her sudden death at 27. Deciding to save his two sons from the same ill fate as their mother he used his magical powers to splice animal essences with theirs. Every time he did this there would be two beings created: The Arcadians (human heart) and the Katagaria (animal heart). He spliced them with different animal essences including Wolf; Tiger; Lion; Bear; Dragon; Jaguar; Hawk; Snow Leopard etc.
The Fates, livid over King Lycaon out-smarting them by prolonging his children’s lives, cursed them to forever war against each other. And so it has been over the aeons, Arcadians and Katagaria fighting each other. The Arcadians are aggressive because they feel superior as humans and that they need to exert control over the animals while the Katagaria fight because it is in their animal instincts to do so. Furthermore, The different patria (species class) within both halves of Lycaon’s children feud against each other i.e. Arcadian Wolves vs Arcadian Dragons or Katagaria Lions vs Katagaria Bears.
And so it is that the Dark Hunters and the Were Hunters are confined to a life of being the guardians of humankind, protecting their lives, annihilating evil and restoring the world’s balance while dealing with their dark painful pasts through their infinite years roaming the earth until someone worthy can come and save their immortal souls and give them redemption, love and peace. The story-lines Kenyon pens are amazingly action packed, sexually charged, twisted and interrelated. They keep you hooked from the first few pages with their witty dialogues, kick-ass fight scenes, exciting plot development and sizzling tormented romance. After reading the first book I was enthralled and after the second I am completely absorbed! As they put it on the website: it’s not just a series, it’s a world. I welcome you.