Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Review: Devil May Cry by Sherrilyn Kenyon, book 8 of the Dark Hunter Series

Sin was an ancient Sumerian god – before Artemis betrayed him and stole his magic. Now relegated to the Dark Hunters, he now goes his own way and is left alone to his own devices, his own plans and his own goals

Except Artemis still fears him as an enemy – and he does hate her more than anything. So she sends Katra down to finish him off altogether. Except the man Katra sees is not the man Artemis described. Certainly not the evil, cruel person she imagined – even if he is suffering

And she also discovers his quest. The Gullu demons were created by the ancient Sumerians to fight the Charontite demons of the Atlanteans. But now both the Atlanteans and the Sumerians are dead – and the prison the Gullu were sealed in is weakening with only Sin left who knows how to fight and defeat these creatures that are so much worse than Daimons.

Even worse, there are still more demons out there that the Sumerians imprisoned. And these demons could devastate humanity if they were ever allowed to run free – and their prison is weakening.

One thing I do love about this book is how much of the world building has been blown open. There was a lot I guessed and a lot more I suspected, but this put everything down clearly – exactly who Acheron is, exactly who Katra is, clarifying the relationship and history between Artemis and Acheron, fitting Appolymi in with all of them, more information on the Cthonians and generally just so many blanks filled in, so much information put together and developed

And, again, I am deeply impressed with the depth and knowledge of this world. The sheer amount of the Greek pantheon included, not just the big deities, but the minor deities and less well known gods like the Dolophoni are included. There’s a huge amount of Greek mythology here. And while I’m not exactly an expert on the Sumerian mythology, there’s clearly a lot of knowledge and research gone here as well – even little touches like Sin being known by 2 names depending on what era he was worshipped in.

There’s also a continuation form previous books. Even though we’re now focused on the gallu demons, we haven’t completely forgotten than the daimons existed, we still have references to people, places and events that happened in other books and what implications they have for this one. We’re also  touching issues that were raised well in earlier books as well – like the unfairness of the curse levelled on the Daimons and the curse on the Oneroi - there is still that meta ongoing.

I like the inclusion of another pantheon as well – before now we’ve seen the Greek pantheon, the Atlantean pantheon and 2 deities from the Celtic pantheon – it’s nice to see more pantheons out there and I really do wish I could see more of them. The Sumerian pantheon was a fun addition and suggested that there is more to come and I can hope for other pantheons raising their heads now and then.

I also liked the story – it was tense and while I never for a second through the world would end I did wonder how exactly they would fix it and what would happen along the way – and was very happy to see the answer wasn’t just “throw Acheron at it! Yay fixed!” There’s also enough loose ends left in this book to make me think it will be part of the greater ongoing meta-plot and not just a side-one off as the last few books have felt. This is going to have some impact in the rest of the story and not be an interlude.

Sadly, I didn’t care for the romance again. Partly it’s the usual problems – Sin and Katra have more than enough other problems to deal with but quickly get consumed by their love – which happens extremely quickly, it’s another acquaintance to love leap. There’s a lot of sex, a lot of maundering about love, a lot of lovey-dovey monolguing about how perfect and wonderful the other is (as well as a lot of lusting) and it builds up very quickly to be hip deep and a little tiresome. Especially since there’s a totally unnecessary, ridiculously short and altogether clumsy scene where Sin chases Katra off because he needs to be strong and love makes him weak!

But I also don’t particularly like Sin or Katra and Sin’s relationship with each other. Especially his angst and her pity.

We start with learning Sin had his powers stolen from him and everyone he knew from his pantheon killed and destroyed and he has been living as a shell for centuries. Yes, Katra, I can understand you feeling sorry for him for this.

When he was a god, the rest of his pantheon regarded him with contempt and derision. Ok, perhaps a little overloading the angst – but Katra is certainly reasonable

His wife also cheated on him and regarded him with contempt. Ok, this is just unnecessary at this point – but yes, Katra has reason to pity him for this

He doesn’t have people around him who are sympathetic when he is sick. So when he has the sniffles he has to endure alone!!!! Katra… no. Really. No. He has a tortured existence and you feel sorry for him but feeling waves of pity because he has had to endure illness without someone to pat his hand is making a mockery of the whole thing. Yes it’s one incident but it pretty much sums up Katra’s eternal worshipping/pitying internal monologue.

There is also a problem of the constant horrendous pasts so many of the Dark Hunter’s have – Sin’s is bad but not really worse than that suffered by so many of the others – and it makes the surly “don’t trust anyone ever” thing he does seem less justified. It would be justified if we didn’t have a queue of people behind him who have endured as much – or more – and handled it with far better grace. It’s not as bad as Upon the Midnight Clear but it still made it hard for me to like Sin

And this adds to the problem of Sin being out on a pedestal – Katra regards him with so many superlatives about how brave and noble and honourable he is hat it feels almost caricaturish. I can’t identify Sin as a person because he’s too wonderful, too tortured and seen through Katra’s far too rosy eyes

I am all kinds of uncomfortable with Katra being an 11,000 year old virgin. 11,000 years old. Eleven Thousand Years Old and still a virgin, not even had a real kiss before. Paranormal romance has a habit of having sexually experienced men and inexperienced, innocent or even virginal women – but this is setting a new record here. Especially when the epicly, millennially pure Katra is, of course, following in the steps of the promiscuous, adulterous Ningal

We do finally have some deities who actually resemble the region they came from – and the Sumerian pantheon is all dark skinned and black haired. They’re also nearly entirely dead. I feared we’d have another lot like the blond haired, blue eyed Greeks (Olympus via Valhalla). The only GBLT inclusion

All in all I like this book – and I liked it all the more because I felt the last few books in this series had taken a wrong turn and were generally moving away from the elements of the series I enjoyed. I’m interested in the series again and where it’s going