Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Weekend Reading Part II: The Dream-Hunter

Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark-Hunter series has legions of fans, and I’ve been meaning to read one for awhile now. I was finally inspired by the arrival of Acheron in hardcover; since there was a lengthy waiting list for that I grabbed The Dream-Hunter, a fairly recent release and the only Kenyon on the shelf at the time. I wasn’t really sure what to expect; I had heard something about vampires. I had heard something about demons. I had heard something about Greek mythology. The only thing I heard from pretty much everyone who had read any of the Dark-Hunter books was that they are smart and edgy and often funny. That was good enough for me, so I dove into Dream-Hunter, and found that the book lived up to its billing.

The story revolves around Arikos, a dream god who has become obsessed with Megeara, an archaeologist who is searching for the remains of Atlantis. Arikos and the other dream gods have been cursed with the inability to feel emotions unless they are actively involved in the dreams of a human. Though they can experience pain, the rest of their existence is drab and void of sensation. Megeara, who is straitlaced and focused in her waking life, is a vivid and uninhibited dreamer, and once Arikos finds her, he becomes obsessed with her. He decides that living through her dreams is not enough; he wants to meet her in the flesh, so to speak, and therefore needs to become human for a time. So he decides to make a deal with Hades. The god of the underworld is not above bargaining with lesser immortals, but proves that when dealing with someone who can determine the course of your afterlife, it behooves you to read the fine print. Arikos agrees too readily to Hades’ request for a human soul in exchange for time as a human, and is appalled to find that he will have only two weeks in human form, and at the end of it must return to the underworld with Megeara’s soul, or take her place. Megeara, meanwhile, is close to discovering Atlantis, and will stop at nothing to do so. Unfortunately, there are any number of immortal beings who don’t want the ancient city unearthed, because of a vicious goddess they imprisoned there eons ago. While Arikos tries to ingratiate himself with Megeara and she tries to get to Atlantis in spite of all the odd things that keep getting in her way, the oddest of all being the sexy guy she has previously only seen in her dreams. Throw into the mix a handmaiden of Artemis, Dream-world enforcers, angry demi-gods, and the whole dysfunctional family housed on Olympus, and it’s a wonder Arikos and Megeara manage to not only survive, but fall in love.

There are numerous plot twists and layers in this book, and I’m sure I would have appreciated some of them more if I had read the earlier books. However, Kenyon is so skilled at working in enough detail and back story that I didn’t feel out of the loop in any way. Not all authors can do this well and I am grateful that Kenyon can. I really enjoyed the portrayal of Olympians in modern times – it had an element of Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Greek mythology without ever getting campy or ridiculous. In fact, the immortals’ behaviors and mannerisms all made a great deal in sense in light of their history. The entire cast of characters is great, the details of archaeology and history are interesting, and both the romance and the suspense are well done. I’ll definitely be adding the rest of the Dark-Hunter books to the collection, and working them into my “to be read” list.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This sounds really interesting! I will put in on my "to read after Seasons Readings" list!