I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Stygian by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Genres: Paranormal, Romance
Published by Tor on August 28, 2018
Source: the library
Buy on Amazon
Also by this author: Son of No One, Dragonbane, Born of Vengeance, Deadmen Walking
Twenty-seventh in the Dark-Hunter paranormal romance series and revolving around Urian and his crappy life over thousands of years from the start of Apollo’s curse to today. It also means that events in other stories are part of this story’s background. (It’s also seventh in the Lords of Avalon series, third in Dark-Hunter: Dragons Rising Trilogy, twelfth in Were-Hunters #12, and forty-third in Hunter Legends.)
The description for Stygian claims you should read Dragonsworn before reading this lest you suffer from spoilers. I don’t see how anyone could suffer from any spoilers. There’s so much in here, you’ll be overwhelmed.
This got a “2.5” simply because it’s another epic novel of humongous proportions with huge chunks of text that feel very repetitive, more chunks that impart obscure information that I finally gave up on trying to understand, convoluted chunks that carried such a range of information I couldn’t figure out where some of it fit in or how it related to other characters…and then there were some good bits.
No kidding…”The meek only inherited earth six feet beneath their feet.”
Another reason Stygian is so big, is Kenyon is pulling in the histories of other characters who have already been in other stories, particularly from Styxx‘s story (22). There’s one section jumps from one idea to “hours later” and provides absolutely NO clue as to what happened between. I thought I’d missed a page… In fact, I’m wondering if she didn’t simply do a copy-paste on some of this and maybe didn’t grab a chunk that should have come with. As you read, you’ll definitely wonder as Kenyon leaps from what could be one completed story to the next. Sure it all, eventually, leads to a conclusion, but that’s what the series does too. Ahem. If this were meant to be a story about Urian, it didn’t have to take this many pages to give us the background on Urian’s family and his relationship with his father.
I did appreciate how Kenyon pulled so many different characters together from her Dark-Hunter universe, and it feels as though she’s leading up to at least one major resolution, even as she sets us up for more. Then again, I get so confused with the thousands of characters many of whom have some sort of alias or alter ego. Even Kenyon gets confused over which name is married to which other name.
“…he was so allergic to stupidity that it caused him to break out in rampant sarcasm.”
I’m sure glad we don’t deal with gods in our world. What a backstabbing bunch of creeps they are! And they’re not any better at accepting their own faults, as they rage at what other gods do to them.
“…loyalty given is seldom returned.” That the gods will use who they will and never reward them nor fulfill their promises. The gods’ supporters will be thrown aside like garbage, for the gods are “no better than the ones they’d hated, and for all the reasons they hated the other side”.
The Apollites are nasty people at the start and incredibly cruel to Urian. Their feeding method is quite arousing, and sex becomes an essential part of it of which Kenyon makes quite the graphic point the first time Urian feeds from a living Apollite.
“I’d sooner trust my enemy than a friend, as I can afford to lose an enemy.”
I did like and respect Urian. He did the best he could with what he had and how he managed to be such a decent person when everyone treated him so very, very, very bad, I don’t know. Maybe it was the cutting that helped? What was with his family, joining in on the derision of the rest of their people? Why wouldn’t they stand with him against outsiders?
It is so weird to read this side of the Apollites and Daimons. In spite of this need to drink blood and eventually souls, turns out that Apollites are the same as any other group of people, nice guys, well, other than that whole soul-eating thing. They love, hate, harass, tease, abuse, just like everyone else. And with Kenyon emphasizing how they eat bad people…bring it on, baby.
This prophecy from an oracle saying that if the Apollites all die, the curse will lift. So if there are no Apollites, who cares about the curse? Why on earth would one branch of Apollites think culling another would be enough?
Why does Cassandra think Stryker is Apostolos and that they’re screwed? Apostolos is Acheron and the leader of the Dark-Hunters, like the guy Cass is married to.
It’s simply a re-hash of the other stories with a number of the prime characters reflecting on themselves and the past, and they learn that they’re horrible at communicating, indulge in petty jealousies, and how selfish they are. Yeah, it’s a good use of third person global subjective point-of-view, since we’re hearing the inner thoughts and emotions of so many of the characters.
Braith, Verlyn, Cam, and Rezar were siblings and the first of the copiáns, time wardens and keepers of portals, setting the perimeters of the worlds and designing the portal gates between them. They use zeitjägers who steal and guard time. After the Primus Bellum (First War of the Gods), Braith got Atlantis as her part of the earth.
Braith married Kissare, a Siphirii who was betrayed by his brother Tisahn (Cam, Braith’s sister, stole Tisahn’s body away so Braith couldn’t resurrect him and kill him again). I’m guessing the Siphirii are a servant class; males aren’t allowed to impregnate a goddess, although gods can impregnate Siphirii females. They had had a son, Monakribos, a.k.a., Kree, and I think Kree was the original Malachai, created by Mavromino to calm Apollymi.
The Atlantean pantheon was…
…created by Braith who became Apollymi the Destroyer (Apollymi was an endearment of Kissare’s people). Apollymi believed Archon was the resurrection of Kissare, and so took him as her king. Symfora is the goddess of death, sorrow, and woe. Akeon, god of bravery, and Koalemos, god of stupidity, were twins. Epithymia was the goddess of desire and a right bitch who lived to hurt others. Dikastis is the god of justice. More include Ilos, Isorro, Asteros, Nyktos, Paidi, Teros, Phanen, and Demonbrean. Misos and Thnita are the rulers of the underworld whose daughters were Diafonia, the Atlantean goddess of discord, and Pali, goddess of strife.
The pregnant Bet’anya Agriosa, a.k.a., Bethany or Bathymaas reborn, is Symfora’s half-Egyptian, half-Atlantean daughter and a goddess of divine justice, balance, and life (seems she’s also the Atlantean goddess of misery and wrath), married to Styxx of Didymos who was the human twin Apollymi had bonded Apostolos with at birth. The original Bathymaas had been a gift to Set from Kalosum, the Source, to teach him compassion for others. Her heart broke in half when Aricles was murdered. In 2017, Bethany and Styxx have another son, Aricles Jr.
Somewhere in here, Apollymi has a second son, Apostolos who was supposedly killed by Apollo (see Styxx). I suspect that Apostolos’ death made Apollymi crazy, and she put all the Atlantean gods into stasis, using ypnsi sap, and losing most of the Atlantean pantheon. Her attack also devastated most of the world.
She was then tricked by Artemis and imprisoned in Kalosis by the gods.
Charonte demons serve Apollymi and include Xedrix and Sabine.
Kalosis is the…
…Atlantean hell where Apollymi is imprisoned, so that she can see the human world but not participate in it. She invites Stryker and his people to Kalosis when Apollo curses them all, for the Apollites can no longer stand in the sun and can only feed by drinking the blood of another Apollite. When they reach twenty-seven, they die a horrible death unless they take the soul of a human and turn Daimon. They still need to drink blood, but the Daimon must track the soul’s existence within them, as each soul has a different half-life. The soul’s voice speaks within them. When the soul is about to disappear, they must take another soul. If they want to live. Trelos is when the Daimon goes mad because they can no longer stand hearing the voices and kills indiscriminately. There are different cults within the Apollites: the Spathi are Stryker’s people, willing to go Daimon to live, loyal only to Apollymi, and hell-bent against the human race and anyone who threatened an Apollite or Daimon; the Cult of Pollux believes in dying at twenty-seven; the Angleikos vow not to use their psychic powers or superior strength to harm humans; Kassandrians will prey on anyone, including pregnant women and children; Akelos only prey on corrupt souls; and, Anaimikos split a soul with their partner. Thanatogori is the death watch vigil for an Apollite who chooses to not turn Daimon. Suntribó is suicide from not replenishing the soul needed to continue “life” as a Daimon.
The Apollites were…
…named for their creator, Apollo, the Greek god of the sun. This means that Stryker’s aunts are Aphrodite and Artemis. Satara is another of Artemis’ handmaidens, and Strykerius’ evil sister.
Strykerius “Stryker” Apoulos (he can change into a red dragon and a black) is the son of Apollo and leader of this band of Apollites with the blood of two gods in him; Apollymi treats him as her son. He takes over Thnitas’ palace as his home. The Illuminati are Stryker’s personal attack force with Trates as his second-in-command, and Zolan is his third. Allegra, Icarus, Jason, and Bryan.
Zephyra “Phyra” was the woman Stryker loved, but Apollo made him give her up and marry Hellen, a Greek human. Their children include Dyana (named for Artemis, Apollo’s twin) who will change her name to Tannis and marry Erol (Tobias is her only son and Helena and Rhoda are her daughters); Archimedes (marries Hagne, and they have four children, including, Jason, Abiron, and Melissa); Theodorous (he marries Praxia and has kids); the twins Aklimos and Telamon (Natassa is his wife, and their children are Elias and Thesally); Ophion; Alkimos and Telamon are twins; and, Atreus and Patroclus who are also twins.
Urian is a twin with Paris. Urian will have a variety of “titles”: Urian Kleopas, (His Father’s Glory), a Spathi as he is a warrior; a Rigas because he leads groups into battle; for his fierceness and skill in battle, Urian becomes known as Urian Deathbringer, Thánatago, and he will forge his own Thánati team to hunt the Dark-Hunters. Spawn is his second-in-command, and Eleni is one of his Thánati.
Davyn will be Paris’ lover and wife. Davyn’s family is part of the Cult of Pollux. Jensen is one of Davyn’s friends and on a strike team in AD 2004. The blind Xanthia and her children, Geras and Nephele, were part of Davyn’s family’s village and are rescued. Iolus is Theo’s friend. Daphne and Idora are some of Nephele’s friends. Other Apollites throughout the centuries include Manades. Darius was a friend who died, and then he adopted his children, Ida and Mylinus. Turns out Medea is a half-sister with Zephyra as her mother. She had children, including the five-year-old Praxis who died in agony due to humans.
The Peterses are…
…the last living line of Apollo. Phoebe Peters is the woman with whom Urian falls in love. Her sisters include Nia and Cassandra (who marries Wulf). Jefferson Peters is their human father. Uncle Demos went trelos.
The Amazons are…
…a group of Apollites who serve the northern goddess Marzanna who is wife to Koshchei the Deathless; Marzanna bonded them to fire demons. This means they can still have children, and they are not immortal. They had been Atlanteans in service to Artemis who refused to help them when her brother cursed the Apollites. Bethsheba is their current queen and wants to buy Urian. Niva is her servant girl. Nero and Leo are the oversized lions Sheba keeps in her throne room. Birgit and Kisha are some of her guards. Ruyn Widowmaker is Sheba’s half-brother and the son of a demon (a former ally of Apollymi’s who turned his back on her). Ruyn is also a survivor of the Primus Bellum, and he introduces the Spathi to bloodwyne.
…an underground bunker Urian and Davyn helped build in colonial America when Theo’s daughter fell in love with an Apollite who followed the Cult of Pollux. Braden and his family have been civic leaders ever since; Shanus takes over as leader later. Millicent and Dr Lakis are doctors (they might be the same person). Donita has a bookstore and sells Apollite fairytales.
…born of a magic that spliced animal DNA with that of the children of King Lycaon VI of Arcadia who unknowingly married an Apollite bride, Mysene. Lycaon’s sister, the goddess Shala (their parents are Erebus and Nyx, Night and Darkness) is married to Dagon (the god who did the splicing). Dagon’s mother is Hekate the daughter of Helios.
There are two breeds of shapeshifters: Arcadians have human hearts so that is their natural form and they shift into their animal form at puberty, and Katagaria have animal hearts and that is their base form. Neither dies at the age of twenty-seven nor do they need blood. They can live for hundreds of years and their magic remains intact. The downside is that the Arcadians and Katagaria must battle each other forever, and the Fates choose their mates. Nicander, son of Simonides, is a Katagari Tsakali, a jackal, and a Were-Hunter.
Helios was the Titan god of the sun, and Kenyon states that he is also “the god of sorcery and the blackest craft”. The third generation of Titans became the Olympians, a.k.a., the Greek gods. Leto is the mother of Apollo and Artemis. The Fates are Dikastas’ half-Greek nieces. Psyche is goddess of the soul, and she’s hooked up with Eros.
Katra, who has the powers to drain a god, is Apollymi’s granddaughter (through Acheron and Artemis) and is her Abadonna. Katra serves both Apollymi as her spy and Artemis, her mother. She’s also Urian’s cousin. Somehow, Kat’s powers are the same used to create the Dark-Hunters. Sin is her husband (Devil May Cry, 10), a Sumerian god, and they have a son and a daughter, Mia. Sin calls his mother-in-law, Artemis, Yaya. Sin has a few brothers including, Set, the Egyptian god of evil, darkness, and chaos, and Zakar who is Sin’s twin brother. Seth is Set’s son and had been the High Guardian for Noir in Azmodea. Maahes was called the lord of the massacre and protector of the innocents. Ma’at is the tiny goddess of justice and truth.
Dragon and Mandrake Gods
Sarraxyn, a.k.a., Xyn, is a silvery orange dragon (drakona) trapped as the guardian of the Atramentian Falls in Kalosis. Her brothers include Falcyn is a war god, a.k.a., Veles (Maddor, the leader of the mandrakes, is the son taken from him through Falcyn’s fault); Max who will end up working at the Sanctuary in New Orleans; Illarion; Hadyn; and, Gadryn. Malstrom is the brother who sold Xyn to Misos, the Atlantean war god. Xyn’s parents are Helios and Lilith. A dragon’s egg is not a child, but an artifact they use to heal. Blaise du Fey is a mandrake chosen by the sorceress Merlin to be a Grail knight; he’s also Maddor’s son and Ormarra his mother. Varian du Fey is sneaking around with Kaziel. Aeron.
…originally created to be the check-and-balance on the gods with the power to kill a god without destroying the universe in the process. After the Primus Bellum, the gods divided the world up and created their own pantheons with a Chthonian on oversight. When Apollymi destroyed the Atlanteans, the Chthonians are at each other’s throats on how to restore the balance of the universe and realign the gods and their territories. While the Chthonians are absorbed in this, the other pantheons are vying for power. Savitar is the Omegrion (the leader of the Were-Hunters??) and lives on an island and surfs.
…the island home of the Atlantean gods where Acheron, a.k.a., Apostolos or Elekti (Apollymi’s second son whom she thought dead) has his home base. Simi is his Charonte protector who lives as a tattoo on his body; Xirena “Xixi” is Simi’s sister. Alexion, one of Artemis’ first Dark-Hunters, is his steward and married to Danger. Soteria “Tory“, an archeologist, is the woman Ash loves. Sebastos is their son. Geary is one of Tory’s cousins. Theo had been Tory’s grandfather. Pam is Tory’s best friend. And terrible at keeping secrets.
Styxx of Didymos was Acheron’s twin and the reincarnation of Aricles of Didymos. He was also Protostratelates, a general, of the Stygian Omada, the only army that ever fought on Atlantean soil and won. Estes had been their disgusting uncle. Galen had been his mentor. Selinius, a war hero, had been Styxx’s trainer. In the Sahara, his dog is Skylos, Jabar is the horse, and Wasima is the camel.
Princess Ryssa was their spoiled rotten sister and Apollo’s mistress who was assassinated and caused Apollo to curse the Apollites. She adored Acheron and hated Styxx.
The Dark-Hunters were…
…created by Artemis somewhere around 7383 BCE to kill Daimons and release the souls inside them before the souls perish completely. They can’t go out into daylight, so they have squires to do their daylight work. Acheron is Artemis’ choice to lead the Dark-Hunters. Erik and Wulf Tryggvason are Varangians, a.k.a., Rus. Wulf is a Dark-Hunter married to Cassandra Peters whom Urian calls the Muppet Dark-Hunter and Phoebe calls Sasquatch. Their children will include Erik, Phoebe, Tyr, and Jeff. Chris is Wulf’s squire. Zarek, a.k.a., Z; Cuthbert Ruriksen; Lucian, a.k.a., Spawn, had been a Daimon (his father had been a Dream-Hunter); Kyrian is Julian’s best friend (he’s married to Amanda Hunter and they have kids); Julian of Macedon is a long-time friend of Ash’s; Valerius Magnus is married to Tabitha; Rafael Santiago and Celena had baby Ephani; Samia had been an Amazon and murdered many of them (he’s also related to the gods who cursed and abandoned the Apollites); and, Xander is part sorcerer who deals with transmutations and is the only non-demon who can bargain with Jaden and Thorn (Brynna Addams and Kit Baughy can talk Xander into most things).
Jaden is a demon-broker. Thorn, a.k.a., Akantheus Leucious Forenus of the Brakadians, a.k.a., Death Collector, was born to lead an army, to be his stepfather’s heir; instead he leads an army of hellchasers who fight demons and send them back to their hells. Nick Gautier is the Malachai (his father, Adarian, died) and bears a Dark-Hunter bow-and-arrow mark on his cheek. Loki gets a mention. Kessar is a demon.
The Shadows are…
…where you can venture anywhere. Past. Present. Future. In all the worlds. Just don’t get lost. Shadow is a demon who simply cannot be insulted.
…Sumerian demons and the ultimate in evil. Their bites turn victims into mindless drones.
Val Sans Retour is…
…the Valley of No Return is where Brandor, Brogan’s brother, is stuck, and he knows where Xyn is imprisoned.
Brogan is a kerling Deathseer, a conjuring witch who sees death. She was sold by her mother to the Black Crom, a headless Death Rider seeking the souls of the damned or cursed.
…a nether realm where the fey practice their magick. Morgen is a fey queen who’s sleeping with Apollo. The Adoni are her soldiers. Lombrey de la Mort, a.k.a., Death Shadow, is Shadow’s prince underling but who is made up of all the innocent victims of Morgen’s dungeon, and he/it “works” for Morgen. Camelot is in Myrkheim.
Back on Earth
Memnus is Hellen’s lover who once served under Styxx of Didymos in the Stygian Omada as one of the Stygiai. I think Abiron and Kylas are his and Hellen’s children??
In 2004, Dante Pontis, a Katagari, owns Inferno, and Sal is his brother and a Spathi informer. Sanctuary is a bar for the supernatural set in New Orleans that’s owned by the Peltier Were-Hunter bear clan. Dev Peltier is at Ash and Tory’s wedding. Tony is one of the few humans who work at Sanctuary. Colt Theodorakolpolis is one of the bears who live and work there.
Solren is the more formal version of father, while baba is the children’s version. Matera (formal) and mata (informal) means mother. M’gios means my son. Xōrōn are blood whores. Erini Laws are peace laws. Limanis are portals. The Eye of Verlyn will deplete the powers of any god with which it comes into direct contact.
The Cover and Title
The cover is a deep blood-brown that radiates out into a more chocolate brown. A huge circle sits slightly off-center with an outer border of a Greek key in an even darker brown with an inner border that morphs into a curling wave for almost half of the border. Within its center is an embossed dragon with holes in his wings and his head in a marbleized black and chocolate. Info blurbs at the very top and above and below the title are in white — the series information has a double bow with arrow to the left of the series info. At the top is the author’s name in an embossed gold with a copper shading and the same for the title at the bottom.
The title is all about Urian, the Stygian heir. Of course it could also relate to the darkness in which the Apollites grew up…or the extremely dark and gloomy contents of the story.