Series or Stand Alone: Dark-Hunter Series, Book Twenty-Six
Synopsis: [from back cover]
In the world of the Dark-Hunters, all hell's breaking loose...
Stryker has sent word and is gathering his forces.
While the world carries on unawares, Stryker, who leads an army of demons and vampires, is plotting an all-out onslaught against his enemies - which, unfortunately for us, includes the entire human race.
To avenge his sister, Stryker prepares to annihilate the Dark-Hunters. But things go awry when his oldest enemy returns. Enter his ex-wife, Zephyra. Just when he thought nothing could stop him, he's now embroiled in a centuries-old war with a shrew who gives new meaning to pain.
New battle lines are being drawn as the Dark-Hunters rally for a final showdown on One Silent Night.
I've come to not like Stryker very much over the years. He's relentless in his mission to cause the human world grief. And he's easily one of the biggest enemies of the Dark-Hunters. But this book really puts Stryker in some different light.
Of course, I knew terrible things have happened to Stryker throughout his life. He was cursed (like all Apollites) by his father, Apollo, to painfully die at the age of twenty-seven. He lost his son Urian (by his own hand) and he's had to deal with the recent death of his sister, Satara (even though she was a cruel wench). Stryker has also lost many other children and fellow-Apollites to Apollo's curse. Many of them didn't want to become Daimons - where they would have to steal the souls of others frequently to continue living. And now it seems that eleven thousand years ago he had to leave the love of his life in order to save her from Apollo's wrath.
Seeing Stryker like this, I had to cut him some slack. No wonder he hates the world. But still that's no excuse on waking one of the most powerful creatures in the world - War, in order to seek revenge on both Acheron and Nick Gautier. He really opens up a can a worms with that one.
War seems unstoppable as he pummels Acheron and Nick. Other characters come together to give both men some reprieve to gather their thoughts and find out what's going on. And of course, Artemis isn't pleased with her beloved Acheron in danger (even if he's no longer hers). Here enters Zephyra, Stryker's ex wife and the one he left eleven thousand years ago. She sends her to kill Stryker after learning he was the one who sent War after Acheron.
Zephyra is strong in her bitterness and hatred towards Stryker at first. She fully intends to kill him. But Stryker being slick as ever ends up delaying his death wish and gets Zephyra to agree to give him two weeks to win her back. In her mind, he's only putting off the inevitable - Stryker will die by her hand.
The story goes on with Zephyra's heart slowly melting all over again for the one she gave it to years ago. It's really a hot, steamy, and tension filled ride that I absolutely loved. I think her character development was just right. I fully understood the pain she felt over Stryker's actions. And I sympathized with her as her feelings became confused as she remembered why she once loved him. But could she really trust him again? Especially after leaving her pregnant after promising to love her forever?
Other than Zephyra and Stryker, there are a multitude of characters that pull together to win this battle, ally and foe alike. Jared is a new character introduced that I'm very excited about learning about. His character has a lot to do with Nick and what he has now become. I don't want to go into detail because: (1) If you haven't read the series, it wouldn't make much sense, and (2) I don't want to spoil it for the ones who haven't read the book but are familiar with the series. This book won't really do as a stand alone.
A couple things I wasn't too thrilled about:
My copy has large print for some reason. And no, it's not a large print edition. At first it bothered me because I'm used to small print. It just wasn't something I was used to. You might be thinking why that matters? Well, it really doesn't. It's just something that irked me lol.
Another thing that just kept nagging at my brain was the fact that eleven thousand years ago both Zephyra and Stryker was 14 years-old. It just seemed so hard for me to grasp that. Especially when there was references to them sleeping together and what not at that age. (I mean Zephyra got pregnant right before Stryker left her). Just gave me the heebie-jeebies.
But all in all, the book was good. I really enjoyed it and I can say I kinda like Stryker now. He may still be an enemy, but I understand him better. I definitely like Zephyra (except for the Jared issue). Read the book and you'll see what I mean.