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Zarek's Point of View:Dark-Hunter: A soulless guardian who stands between mankind and those who would see mankind destroyed. Yeah, right. The only part of that Code of Honor I got was eternity and solitude. Insanity: A condition many say I suffer from after being alone for so long. But I don't suffer from my insanity-I enjoy every minute of it. Trust: I can't trust anyone...not even myself. The only thing I trust in is my ability to do the wrong thing in any situation and to hurt anyone who gets in my way.Truth: I endured a lifetime as a Roman slave, and 900 years as an exiled Dark-Hunter. Now I'm tired of enduring. I want the truth about what happened the night I was exiled-I have nothing to lose and everything to gain.Astrid (Greek, meaning star): An exceptional woman who can see straight to the truth. Brave and strong, she is a point of light in the darkness. She touches me and I tremble. She smiles and my cold heart shatters.Zarek: They say even the most damned man can be forgiven. I never believed that until the night Astrid opened her door to me and made this feral beast want to be human again. Made me want to love and be loved. But how can an ex-slave whose soul is owned by a Greek goddess ever dream of touching, let alone holding, a fiery star?
Back in the cruel Alaskan tundra, Zarek, one of the most hated and feared Dark Hunters, is aware he’s about to be hunted by squires and emissaries of Artemis and Dionysus. He’s aware his behavior in New Orleans means his immortal life will be spent in the loneliness of the tundra. What he doesn’t know is the pleading and paying on his behalf by Ash to keep Zarek from being killed and becoming a shadow.
Grudgingly, Artemis agrees to abide a judgment of Zarek to satisfy Ash. They agree on Astrid. To be as fair as possible and as usual to make justice truly blind, Astrid forfeits her sight. Astrid’s gentleness was exactly the balm needed to calm Zarek’s savage beast generated excellent chemistry.
Never has this reader’s heart been broken into so many pieces or so shed so many tears for a character as Zarek is welcomed home until a stroll through his heartbreakingly painful formative years called for a box of tissues. Soon Astrid understands the core of Zarek as the thousands of years of denial, of betrayal, deceit and deception are paraded against a decree for judgment.
This installment had several interesting characters that will hopefully come again. Anything said about Simi takes away the enjoyment of discovering her for the first time. Canine lovers had Sasha to hang onto. Thanatos was a deliciously wonderful, unstoppable, maniacal and diabolical villain and not to be outdone Artemis was in her deceitful, demanding godhood glory.
The foundation was strengthened with Ash-y insight and bits on the squires helped clear the overall arc as well. While tragic and heartbreaking this read was flawlessly executed for this readers taste with great pacing, characters, plotting and action set pieces. Though several years have passed since the original read, the tale was just as enjoyable and remains a favorite. Kudos Ms. Kenyon!