I’ve been merrily working my way through Kenyon’s Dark Hunter back catalogue. Most of her books to me are what I’d call ‘holiday reading’ – books you can read quite quickly, enjoy and then put to one side for the next time you just want something to read to pass the time. They’re reasonably short, sexy, and fun.
Both Acheron & Styxx however are beasts! Both over 750 pages each. Not something that could comfortably stash away in your suitcase unless you want to pay for excess baggage. The whole tone and message of these stories are worlds away from the rest of the books. While all Dark Hunters & their friends’ have traumatic backgrounds – indeed that’s how they end up with their role having been betrayed by loved ones. These two tales however are even darker. They cover child abuse, torture, pain and suffering on a mass scale. They’re definitely not for the faint hearted. I’m a fan of horror but children suffering however fictional makes for a difficult read.
BUT they are also tales of hope, forgiveness (of each other) and redemption. Of overcoming odds and finding love.
I actually read the books back to front. Acheron’s story is the first of the two released. Apart from a couple of opening chapters his story kicks off around the age of 16 with references to an abused past. In Styxx we learn what that abuse was with each brother not really knowing the extent of the others suffering until several millennium later. I found that actually reading them back to front worked well for me as I was able to fill in those missing years for Acheron while reading his story and it gave me a deeper understanding of some behaviours.
Kenyon is on record as having been a victim of child abuse herself so you can only wonder how cathartic writing each of these stories must have been & if it was. I haven’t read enough of her interviews to know fully.
Despite the heavy subject matter I loved these books. I think the writing is of a much better quality than some of the shorter stories in the series. Some to me have felt like fluff pieces to pass the time for fans while she worked on something else. I would recommend them especially if you have the time to devote to a longer book. Now it’s time to go back to the ‘fluffier’ pieces and quick reads. I can only cope with so much heartbreak in one go 🙂