To sum it up:
(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?
Astrid: (Emilia Clarke really came to mind when I thought of Astrid’s character. This picture my be a little cartoon-ish, but you get the idea!)
Zarek: (Matthias Streitwieser works for me when it comes to Zarek’s character- of course I picture Zarek with longer hair… but who can beat a face like this?)
I have to be honest- the only reason I even started reading this book was for three reasons:
1. My friend Lindsay and I had a deal that if she’s going to read a book of my choice all the way through until the end, that I was too. (And this was the book she picked.)
2. Lindsay said the hero, Zarek was a complete and total jerk.
3. Lindsay also told me that the heroine wasn’t an annoying smart-mouth that had a “don’t-mess-with-me-because-I-don’t-need-anyone” attitude… I just hate that.
Since this isn’t the first book in the series, it took me a good fifty pages or so to really get into it. All of the characters that were introduced had me feeling a little lost, since I had no background knowledge on this series- but eventually, the story took off!
Zarek on the other hand was a jerk with a capital “J!” *sigh* …for the first time in his life, someone tempted him more than any other person in the world ever has. Astrid had a vulnerability about her that brought out all of Zarek’s protective instincts… it was her, who had him questioning something as simple as what it would feel like to just be held. My heart broke for the tortured hero- truly, it did. He was alone in the world, and the idea of someone caring about him and whether he lived or died was a very foreign thing for him. He always tried to belong, but it never worked for him; he was an outsider and that was all he knew in the world. He lived in constant pain and loneliness, letting hatred guide everything he said or did. My heart ached for the boy he once was… the boy who should have always been loved- instead, he had grown into a bitter and angry man. But who could have blamed him, when all he’d ever been shown was contempt? I just wanted to hug the man! When I say my heart literally broke for Zarek, I mean that I literally cried while reading every page that was filled with his mistreatment. He might have had a frightening presence, but he did kind things that were at odds with his surliness- and those were the times that had me falling more and more in love with him.
Astrid is definitely a favorite heroine of mine. She saw what was inside Zarek… the vulnerability. She seemed to be the only one who truly understood the man that he didn’t dare show anyone else. It was she, who wanted to ease his suffering. I sympathized with her so much, for just wanting to take Zarek’s pain away. Anyone in her shoes and who had a heart, would have wanted to do the very same thing.
I’ll admit, there were a lot of secondary characters, so many times I felt it hard to keep up- of course, that’s through no fault but my own, since I started the series with this book. However, for anyone planning to read this book out of order, I would definitely make sure you have someone you can talk with if you have any questions- I would have been completely lost during certain part of the story without Lindsay’s help! (Thank goodness for awesome friends and buddy reads!) One thing that I absolutely loved was the interactions between Sasha and Zarek, as well as the brief glimpses we got of Ash and Simi- It definitely added a lighter touch to the novel, but didn’t take away from the emotional intensity of the book.
This is definitely a story of emotion, change and forgiveness. Zarek’s story touched me like no other book has… my heart physically hurt for him and the pain he went through during his life. Sherrilyn Kenyon seriously did a fantastic job with this book, and I’m happy to say that it won’t be my last! I may receive some negative feed-back once you read but I’m fixing to say… but dare I say it?
I know bragging about my love for another hero in Zarek’s review may not be the best and smartest idea, but the brief glimpses I got of Ash in this story, definitely makes me want to go out and buy his book! *sigh*