Thursday, December 13, 2007

Thursday Book Report: Devil May Cry

Now this is an odd situation. I have recently both read the physical book and listened to this book on audio CD. Why odd? Well, I am going to give different (and divergent) reviews for the two.

This book is part of Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunter series - I looked on her website to find out which number, but it is a bit confusing - it is listed as the 21st story in the series (some were novellas and short stories). Dark Hunters are nigh-immortal guardians of humans - their main goal is to protect the world from daimons, a vampire-like race created when Apollo lashed out against a bloodline after his son was killed. The leader of the Dark Hunters is Acheron (or Ash), a mysterious (and likewise cursed) person with ties to Atlantis and the erstwhile sex companion to Artemis.

The main characters in this book are Kat (one of Artemis' handmaidens) and Sin, a Sumerian ex-god. Ex as his godhead was stripped from him nearly three thousand years ago. Kat has been a recurring character in many Dark Hunter novels, usually as female muscle and/or a close friend of the female lead.

Artemis made enemies with Sin long ago, and he has made it his only wish to see her destroyed. Kat? Well, Artemis in her fear sends Kat to remove Sin from the picture - but instead of doing this she becomes intrigued by the non-daimons he is fighting and horrified when he seemingly desecrates human remains. She soon realizes who he is and why Artemis perceives him to be a threat - and her own part in the scheme of things. So, instead of fighting him she joins him in his work, partly out of guilt and partly out of lust.

Ash plays an important part in the storyline, but I can't get into that without getting into an integral plot point. Suffice to say, I am always pleased when the author manages to surprise me after so many installments in a series.

It's a romance novel - the sex? I wasn't terribly moved or impressed her (it was no Night Play!) All in all, Sin didn't do it for me. It was interesting, however, to have the introduction to the Sumerian pantheon. I'm looking forward to see if Kenyon can pull another god or goddess out of that one - especially Sin's ill-treated daughter, Ishtar.

Onto the audiobook. It was narrated by Holter Graham and was the unabridged edition. I didn't like it. He made Sin sound like he perennially had a frog in his throat, Kat like she was an insecure California girl who ended every sentence on an upswing - but my most savage criticism is reserved for his portrayal of Kissar, who came across as part John Travolta, part Russian mobster, and part Apu. This was the first of Kenyon's books I have listened to on audio and I hope that plenty more come along... but I equally hope they use a different person for the narration.

In the end, I am not entirely pleased with the direction that Kenyon has taken Kat's character. I rather liked her as the prickly mysterious warrior princess torn between two pantheons... but I suppose everyone is due his or her happy ending.

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