Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Retribution (Dark-Hunter Novels, #20) by Sherrilyn Kenyon

'The hardest part of living is making peace with your past. Most of all, it's making peace with yourself.'

William Jessup Brady (aka Sundown) grew up in another era--the wild west. He was said to be untamed, uncivilized and soulless. One reporter even wrote, "everyone called him Sundown because he did his best and most gruesome work after dark". He was a bad man, but he was willing to change his ways for the woman he loved. On the eve of his wedding, he was murdered by the man he thought was his best friend. His soul cried for vengeance, and his plea was heard by Artemis. She gave him one night to right the wrongs that had been done to him and in exchange he became one of Artemis' Dark-Hunters. For not only had his best friend murdered him, but he'd also raped his bride-to-be and killed her family. While he could never reveal himself to his true love while she lived, he vowed to watch over all her children even the one who was conceived that fatal night by his former best friend.

Abigail Yager started her childhood happily enough until the one dark night all hell broke loose and both her parents were murdered. As the the mayhem took place she hid under her bed and will never forget the face of the man she saw reflected in the mirror in her bedroom. That was the day she decided to dedicate her life to exacting vengeance on the man, and all those like him, who had destroyed her family. She was determined  she'd get retribution.

Who could have predicted that these chain of events could lead to the apocalypse? God save us all!

Sherrilyn Kenyon is one of my favorite paranormal/urban fantasy writers. This was such a change from her usual Dark-Hunter stories. It incorporated some American Indian lore, which incidentally she made up. The only exception was the use of the Time Untime which is a real Cherokee belief that Kenyon couldn't resist utilizing in her story. Most of the Dark-Hunter books include mythology associated with Greek mythology, and I enjoyed the switch. Writing a story which incorporates a lore of an author's making are not easy to do, but Kenyon does it with style and finesse while throwing in some spectacular twists and turns to the story. It's one of the things I love about her books.

Jess was a fun character. A cowboy at heart who likes listening to (of all things) classical music. Mozart and Grieg being his favorites. The contrast made me smile. He's loyal and pretty darn sexy, and while he might not have started out that way, a fairly nice guy. He was first introduced in 'Dance with the Devil' (Zarek's story).  Zarek, by the way, is his best friend and makes a brief appearance in this book. Incidentally, as Jess states, "My real name is 'Manee Ya Doy means 'sundown' in my mother's language.'" ..."It was her favorite time of day. When the sun must make peace with the moon and for a few brief moments, the two touch in mutual friendship and respect. Perfect balance between the light and dark. A time for reflection and for preparation." Hence, that is where Jess' nickname came from.

Abigail was so full of hate when the book began and all of it concentrated on Jess. It was fun seeing her slowly come to grips with the fact she'd been manipulated and all she believed had been a lie. She was strong and owned up to her mistakes when she realized she'd made them.

Two of my favorite quotes:
-“To quote the Tsalagi, you should never allow your yesterday to use up too much of today. The past is gone and tomorrow is at best a maybe. Live for this moment because it may be all you'll ever have.”
- "Acheron always says that our scars are there to remind us of our pasts, of where we've been and what we've gone through. But that pain doesn't have to drive or determine our future. We can rise above it if we let ourselves.  It's not easy, but nothing in life ever is."

Overall, this book gets 4 out of 5 roses. It kept my attention, had a lot of drama, mixed in some humor, incorporated a little Indian lore, had a lot of twists and turns, and had good dash of romance. Plus, it had the bonus scene of Ash and Tory having a baby. So while some of our favorites may have been missing from the main story, we got a good dose of them in the added scene. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one gets a STEAM rating- too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed.

Notes to keep you in the know:
I found a wonderful list of Animal Totem and their meanings at which had the following information on some of the animal totems used in the story:
Butterfly - Metamorphosis, transformation, balance, grace, ability to accept change
Buffalo - Sacredness, life, great strength, abundance, gratitude
Bear - Industrious, instinctive, healing, power, sovereignty, guardian of the world, watcher, courage, will power, self-preservation, introspection, and great strength
Coyote - Trickster, intelligence, stealth, wisdom and folly, guile and innocence

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