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Saturday, September 7, 2013

Review: Styxx by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Format: .mobi (purchased)
Release Date: September 3, 2013

Just when you thought doomsday was over…

Centuries ago Acheron saved the human race by imprisoning an ancient evil bent on absolute destruction. Now that evil has been unleashed and it is out for revenge.

As the twin to Acheron, Styxx hasn’t always been on his brother’s side. They’ve spent more centuries going at each other’s throats than protecting their backs. Now Styxx has a chance to prove his loyalty to his brother, but only if he’s willing to trade his life and future for Acheron’s.

The Atlantean goddess of Wrath and Misery, Bethany was born to right wrongs. But it was never a task she relished.

Until now.

She owes Acheron a debt that she vows to repay, no matter what it takes. He will join their fellow gods in hell and nothing is going to stop her.

But things are never what they seem, and Acheron is no longer the last of his line. Styxx and Acheron must put aside their past and learn to trust each other or more will suffer.

Yet it’s hard to risk your own life for someone who once tried to take yours, even when it’s your own twin, and when loyalties are skewed and no one can be trusted, not even yourself, how do you find a way back from the darkness that wants to consume the entire world? One that wants to start by devouring your very soul?

Maybe I'm in the minority but I never hated Styxx. I felt sorry for him because I imagined how it would be to have your life screwed with by selfish gods before you were even born. From the minute he walked onto the pages of Night Embrace I knew he wasn't just another "bad guy" and that he too had dark secrets, much like Acheron. After all, if Ash's looks drew trouble to him, then surely as his twin, Styxx's did as well. So it was with child like delight (and a little drool) that I snagged my copy as soon as it was available and I found out one thing right off the bat.

Styxx is a monster of a book.

I'm not joking. It's long and it's detailed, showing every single act that destroyed Styxx's innocence, his joy, his trust, his life, even his very soul. I know some people will complain that it's too long and that author Sherrilyn Kenyon got too "wordy" with this one but let me tell you something: I have waited for a long time for this book, just like I did with Acheron and the LAST thing I wanted was for Styxx to be an epic letdown in terms of the overall story AND the length. Especially if it was going to be a hardcover book. For that price it had better be a long story! Sherrilyn gave me, as a reader so many details about Styxx I truly felt like he was real, and that's what matters to me. I love these characters and want each and every one of them to seem as real to me as possible. Did I think his human life went on and on? A little, but frankly I think it needed to be stressed how horrible his human life was. Remember, a lot of people hated this guy, both in the books and in real life. There needed to be a true sense of sympathy created for this character if he was ever going to be anything other than "Acheron's Bad Twin" to readers.

Styxx had no one, until he meets a blind woman named Bethany, who is really a goddess in disguise. Styxx and Bethany are each unaware of the other's true identity, and over a short period of time, fall in love. Even through the horrors of his human life, Styxx continues to fight and survive just to see his beloved Bethany smile at him.

His human life in my opinion was more tragic than Acheron's. At least Acheron had a sister and mother who loved him. Styxx didn't until Bethany. Chapter after chapter was filled with brutal punishments and humiliation for Styxx and this went on for years while every single person on the outside despised him for seeming spoiled, selfish and stupid. He was judged solely on appearances and rumors and that was painful to read. At times I had to take a break from reading how traumatic his human life was, but as the saying goes "What doesn't kill you makes you stronger."

After years of being subjugated to the cruel whims of others Styxx finally makes a decision to have a better life with Bethany, unfortunately the fates have other plans for him and on the day Acheron is murdered, Styxx dies as well. When Acheron is resurrected, so is Styxx, but when he discovers his beloved gone he turns all his pain and anger at Acheron.

So begins the second part of Styxx.

Fans of the series will notice that the second part of Styxx rehashes some of the events of the second book, Night Embrace, this time from Styxx's point of view. In this second half of the book, readers see a new side of Acheron. One that doesn't paint him in the most flattering light. Acheron isn't a monster, just terribly, terribly misinformed and like many rash youths, prone to taking gossip as truth instead of investigating for himself. Acheron doesn't remember events the way Styxx does, sometimes he doesn't remember them at all. With over 11,000 years of misunderstandings between them, it doesn't look like they'll ever be able to forgive one another for their sins. Yet Styxx doesn't hesitate to step in to help Acheron when he needs it (Not that Acheron will ask Styxx for help, it's Urian and Savitar who are the go betweens for them).

Bethany was an unexpected surprise. She and Styxx have a history and while she is a main character in the first half of the book, she's absent through most of the second. I liked her a lot. She's a goddess but she recognizes the flaws in herself and of the other gods around her. She also doesn't hesitate to get in another god's face if they piss her off and unlike Artemis, Bethany was never ashamed to claim Styxx as her own. She was ruthless and dangerous when crossed and yet, she was tender, kind and understanding towards Styxx.

Of course, I'm not going to deny it was great to see some of the old gang again, Savitar, Tory, Kat, Sin, Danger, Urian, Alexion, Xirena and the every lovely Simi. And in true Sherrilyn Kenyon fashion, even in the most dire situations, there is humor to be found. Especially when Savitar, Urian and Simi are involved.

Styxx was a fully engaging story that brought to light side of the much maligned twin brother of the series' most beloved character. I just couldn't get Syxx's story out of my mind, I had to make it my primary focus and set every other book aside to read it.

Technically it can be read as a standalone but let me tell you, there's quite the twist involving one of the characters from previous books and unless you've read the series from the beginning, you won't get the full impact of that particular reveal.

Was Styxx worth the wait? Certainly. Is it worth the cost? That's for you to decide. I personally would not and do not buy hardcover books, they're just too expensive, but I found the e-book price reasonable and as long as it stays at $7.99 I find no reason to complain simply because of its length. Were Styxx the length of the previous Dark Hunter books well then I might just rant a bit about the price, but because it is a rather long book, I didn't object to it.

So there you have it, a few of my biggest points I wanted to discuss about Styxx. I hope that if you haven't read Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunter series, that you will decided to do so. Either way, whether you're a new fan or old, leave me a comment, if you've read Styxx what did you think about it?, ask a question or just chat with me about you're favorite Sherrilyn Kenyon character.

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  1. Totally agree. I never hated Styxx but I didn't like him either. Now though I like Ash a little less and Styxx a whole lot better. I am curious not where it goes because Styxx/Ash combo is a hard to beat one.

    I need to write a review for this but it is so hard without talking about the things I loved because it all seem so spoilery. Then again, I did get on conversations on twitter so maybe I already did that LOL

  2. I agee...I didn't nessarily dislike Styxx. I mean in the other books, he did come & assist Ash when needed, so he couldn't have hated his brother that much. Im reading this now & am getting a better understanding of these brothers. Your review did justice to Styxx, it as great.

  3. I hope you'll let me know what you think of the book when you're done! I really hope we get to see more of Ash and Styxx and see how their relationship is going along. I don't think they've solved even half their issues with each other and they're so different so I do expect some bumps on the road in their relationship. That and when they do get along they'll probably drive people crazy.

  4. I knew Ash wasn't as perfect as he seemed. With the past that he had I was sure he did things he shouldn't have. What I am surprised at is the level of denial he had going on. I mean, the thought never crossed his mind that he could have been wrong. Ash had the same mentality as those gods he claimed to hate. The "Me god, you pathetic human" mentality. He kinda threw his weight around.

    I want to see where the series goes next. I would love to see another big a** book with Styxx and Ash because 11,000 plus years of hating each other isn't going to go away over night and they are completely different in personalities so I expect a few tiffs now and again as they learn to trust each other.

    It is hard to write a non-spoiler review! Last week on the blog's FB page I posted a link to a song that I thought fit Styxx's feelings for Beth after he lost her but I couldn't say WHY it fit them!!! Ugh it was so frustrating!

    Let me know if you write that review, I'd love to read it.

  5. I expect them to tiff a bunch as the series goes forward. I still don't think Ash gets quite what he did. I mean I know he has the memories but I think he still has a chip. As far as I am concerned, Styxx is the only one allowed a chip and oddly I don't think he will hold it against Ash.

    I am guessing out next big ass book will be one of the ones we don't have. I don't see Savitar getting a story anytime soon--he works better as undefined. I am just excited all around. I feel like this was a reboot!

  6. I still love Ash but he did get one thing right, Styxx was always the better man of the two. No matter what he always loved Ash whereas I think that for many years Ash genuinely hated Styxx.

    I feel like Styxx was a reboot too. I love this series but for me it kind of went downhill after Valerius' book. It created such an awesome buildup and then the next book kind of fell flat after that. Granted I missed the two books prior to Styxx (which are sitting on my Kindle now) but I think that Styxx has revived the series for me.


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