DANCE WITH THE DEVIL
By: Sherrilyn Kenyon
Book 4 in the Dark Hunter Series
(Trust me on this...I know the count gets confusing, but it's really Book 4)
Published by: St. Martin’s Press / 175 Fifth Avenue / New York, NY 10010
First Printing: 2003
Concept: (From Publisher’s Weekly.) The third entry in Kenyon's Dark-Hunter series, which focuses on the sexy vampire-like immortals who defend humans from soul-stealing Daimons, is darker than last year's Night Embrace due to its change in setting (from the French Quarter of New Orleans to the isolated Alaska wilderness) and its focus on Zarek, the baddest of all the Dark-Hunters. Physically gorgeous but scarred psychologically thanks to his former life as a Greco-Roman slave, Zarek is bitter, feared and rejected by everyone, including the Greek goddess who transformed him. It's up to the emotionally detached nymph Astrid, sister to the three Fates, to judge whether 900 years of isolation has made Zarek too vicious to be redeemed. To accomplish this task, she tries to push Zarek "to the heights of his tolerance and beyond." Sasha, a werewolf posing as a mere pet, serves as her protector, and the witty telepathic banter between them is a nice counterpoint to the seriousness of Zarek and Astrid's relationship. Kenyon's slangy dialogue also leavens the story. In the midst of a heated battle, for instance, a disoriented Astrid asks Zarek what's happening, and his blase reply is, "Not much.... Some invincible asshole is trying to kill me." Those who can't get enough of bad boy heroes and Buffy the Vampire Slayer reruns will relish this roguish tale.
Review: We met Zarek in Book 3 of the Dark Hunter books, Night Embrace and I was hoping that we’d learn more about him in future books and poof, here he is. He is dark and handsome and dangerous and sizzling hot and, sadly, very, very tortured. Zarek is one of the most dangerous of all the Dark Hunters. He doesn’t follow orders, he is considered to be violent and insane and with some good reasons. A village that he was supposed to protect was annihilated and he was blamed and sent into exile in Alaska where he has been for the past 900 years. Now check it…Alaska…where it’s daylight most of the time. That kinda sucks when you are a vampire eh? The long Alaskan summers and the extreme cold winters make him a prisoner in the wilderness.
He showed up in Night Embrace in New Orleans helping out Talon and Sunshine. There was an unfortunate incident where Zarek beat up some cops and Artemis, the bithcy goddess who created Zarek, decides she has finally had enough of his bad self. Archeron (Dark Hunter boss man) talks Artemis into giving Zarek a fair trial before condemning him. In steps Astrid (seriously, these names just get worse and worse), a justice nymph (really?) who is as sweet as a summer strawberry but who has never, ever judged a man innocent. She’s like every woman right? Haha I had to throw that in there. J Oh, and for some extra added sob factor, Astrid is blind and has the most delightful seeing eye dog EVER. Meet Sasha, a werewolf of sorts.
The relationship builds and there are very romantic, sweet touches in the story. He calls her Princess and he is her Prince Charming so what gal doesn't want a prince charming to come along on his white steed (or snowmobile) and save her from all the ugliness of life with his love? Sign me up right now.
Danger is all around though, a mean ol’ Day Slayer wants to knock the snot out of Zarek and he won’t stop for anything, even if he destroys the whole world while he’s doing it.
What I liked: Again, I think my favorite thing about SK’s writing is her character development and their dialogue. Her humor is heavy in these books and I seriously got the giggles over a few scenes: Zarek and Astrid are on a beachside boardwalk and Zarek is trying to eat candy apples but is having a hard time because of his fangs. ::waiting for laughter to die down:: Zarek, not liking Sasha the seeing-eye werewolf, constantly calls him “Scooby.”
What I disliked: I know SK fans are going to throw things at me for this, but the tortured man thing is now old for me. This is my 4th Dark Hunter Book and I’ve read 2 League books and every single guy is tortured. I get it that this is a niche for SK but I’m just kinda tired of it. It’s a good thing the humor and character development override my annoyance.
My rating: 4 stars…4.5 stars actually
Kelly for Book Lover's Hideaway