Goodreads Rating: 4.39
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?
I highly recommend if you haven't read the other books so far, since I guess these could be stand alones, to go back and read them. Is it necessary? No. But they do make some references back to the other books and it was kind of cool to see the overlap in occurrences from the other books.
But I digress....
To start, I have a thing for the tough guys for some reason in books. The kind of guy you really don't expect to have his own love story. I think it goes with my penchant for reading about people coming into love (as opposed to the "love at first sight" stuff you see commonly now-a-days). In fact, Zarek reminds me of Zsadist from J.R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood series, another character who I absolutely adored reading about (in fact, if you enjoyed this book, give her series a try! It's another one of my favorites!)
On that note, I really loved (obviously) reading about Zarek and Astrid. They aren't my first place couple (still held by Talon and Sunshine), but they are ridiculously perfect. Astrid puts up with none of Zarek's BS and we are able to see the soft side of Zarek that no one has gotten to see before (collective awwwwww), along with seeing reasons why he was such a dick to begin with. Plus, Astrid has a Katagari wolf companion which is just freaking awesome!
The whole love part of the story had a kind of Beauty and the Beast kind of feel to it, which I deeply enjoyed. Considering Astrid is blind, it's not so much he's outer hideousness that at first causes her some pause (because honestly.... Zarek is mega hot, even with his scar), but his supposedly outer prickly personality. She is literally trapped with him in a cabin and it's up to her to see if he can be saved or not. Once she starts to peel that away, we get to see the true inner Zarek and we get to see that he, like the other Dark-Hunters, has his very difficult past, but he is still as honorable, loyal and courageous as any of the others.
As with the other books, I really loved seeing how this diverse pair came together :)
Where other characters are concerned, we get to actually see a bit more into some of the secrets with Ash. We meet his demon, Simi (who I adore!!!!!), and see some of the true lengths he goes through for his Dark Hunters. He really is the big brother of the group and I really am growing more and more fond of him as well (as well as developing more and more questions about him... hmmmm).
Story-line wise, there is the obvious action and adventure and peril that comes with the books. Obviously, we have a new mega-enemy that the main characters must face, but this one I actually was pretty scared for Zarek and Astrid for a while.
Along with the "killer" plot, the ending was amazing and I didn't get the, "surprise! Didn't see that coming did you??" ending that I got with the other books, but I wasn't really sad about that. The ending just fit and I ended up just being at peace with it.
This is a feeling I do want to highlight, with the conclusion of this review. Kenyon has a way of making you care about the characters. They aren't just fictional characters, but to those who read the books, they are real. Their pain is ours, and their happiness is ours. I truly appreciate authors that can make me feel for their characters and Kenyon does it flawlessly (and to the point where I'm obsessively picking up the next books).
The Court's Decision: