Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark-Hunter series reveals a convoluted world filled with fantastic supernatural creatures whose ongoing war often bleeds into the human realm. Filled with suspense, intrugue, angst and humor, Ms. Kenyon manages to create a fairly realistic world that often has me giving the eye to people I’m not entirely sure of.
There are approximately 20 books in the series (not counting related books or novellas) composed of three main groups: the Dark-Hunters, the Were-Hunters, and the Dream-Hunters. As with any series, there are good guys and bad guys (and for a refresher on the good guys, read Natasha Carty’s article about Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark-Hunter Heroes and Heroines).
I often find myself enamored with the villains of a series; even though any one of the characters in this series has a tendency towards violence, it’s the villains who often add that much-needed element to the storyline. In this world, the lines between the good and the bad are blurred. The villains are not all evil to the core, but rather evil in degrees. Most of them are merely doing what they need to do to survive amongst their brethren. The choices they make aren’t always right or acceptable, but—at times—they are understandable.
Here are six anti-heroes whose upbringing and circumstances turned them towards the dark side. While they would soon as bathe in your entrails as look at you, there is a side to all of them that is good—though I wouldn’t count on it saving your life.
Strykerius (Stryker) — Demi god. Ruler of the Daimons. A curse was placed upon his bloodline by his father Apollo that made the Apollites die a violent death at age 27 unless they embrace the curse and feed upon souls. Acheron’s mother Apollymi befriends Stryker and gifts him with the knowledge of how to feed upon souls to extend his and his peoples lives and allows them to live in her realm. Enemies with the Dark-Hunters, Stryker hates Ash with a passion due to Apollymi’s love for him. When Stryker tries to kill Ash, all bets are off and Apollymi declares war on Stryker.
For all his devious acts, Stryker has an impressive, yet strange, moral code. He respects his enemies. He will never strike from the back.
Stryker is first introduced in Kiss of the Night. Stryker’s back story is revealed in One Silent Night.
“You really don’t care for torture, do you?” —Medea
“No, I don’t. It’s one thing to strike out in anger, another to cause agony for the hell of it. I’m a soldier, not a coward.“ —Stryker
Artemis (Artie) — Greek Goddess of the Hunt and Moon. Sister to Apollo. Though in love with Ash, she could never accept what he was or had been. Cruel beyond belief, she alternately loved and tortured Ash when he was human until she allowed her brother Apollo to murder him. His death unlocked his god powers and released his mother, Apollymi, from her prison. Artemis is finally convinced of Ash’s powerful parentage and with the help from the Three Fates, tricks Ash into coming back from the dead and binds him to her to save her from Apollymi’s rage. She then begins to make Dark-Hunters, using Ash’s powers, to help combat Stryker’s Damions. Ash is forced to submit to Artie for thousands of years in order to survive (her blood keeps him from becoming the prophesied destroyer). They also have a daughter together—Katya (Kat).
Often referred to as that “red head heifer goddess” by Simi, Artemis is first introduced in Night Pleasures. Her back story is fully revealed in Acheron.
Apollymi — The Great Destroyer. The Daughter of Chaos. Goddess of Life, Death, and Wisdom. Ash’s mother. When Ash was born, his three half sisters, the Fates, named him as the final fate and harbinger of death to the Atlantian Parthenon, putting in motion a chain of events that doomed them all. Apollymi is betrayed by her husband, Archon, and imprisoned in Kalasis, (a realm of hell), never to be free until Ash passes from the mortal world. When Ash is viciously murdered by Apollo, Apollymi rises from her prison as a destructive force and destroys her own pantheon, thereby fulfilling the prophecy. She goes on a killing rampage, vowing an unbreakable vow to kill Apollo and Artemis for killing her son. She sinks Atlantis, then casts her eye towards Olympus. When Ash is brought back to life, she is once again confined back to Kalasis once again. But should Ash ever set foot in Kalasis, she will be set free and the world will burn for her revenge. Though she loves Ash, she hates the humans and the gods and goddesses of the Greek Pantheon who hurt him. She periodically puts plans into motion to try and force Ash to come to Kalasis to free her.
Apollymi is first introduced in Kiss of the Night. Her back story is fully revealed in Acheron.
Nick — Nick has been part of the Dark-Hunter world since he was a teenager, and the Dark-Hunter Kyrian saves his life and takes him under his wing, making him a squire. He and Ash become the best of friends, so much that Ash combines his life force with Nick. Should Nick ever die, so will Ash. When Nick becomes intimate with Ash’s ”daughter," the demon Simi, Ash goes ballistic and curses Nick, telling him he should kill himself. When Nick finds out his mother is killed by Damions, it pushes Ash’s curse into motion and Nick commits suicide while calling on Artemis for Dark-Hunter vengeance. Nick blames Ash for his mother’s death and he allies with Stryker in hopes of vengeance against Ash.
Nick is first introduced in Night Pleasures and and becomes a major player through out the rest of the series. He receives his own series, The Chronicles of Nick, in 2010. It is a YA series that starts back at the beginning when he was a teenager.
“Intentions don’t matter. It’s the end result we are all judged by. Evil in the name of good is still evil. And when you dance with the devil you seldom get to pick the tune.”
So what anti-heroes get your blood pumping when they make an appearance in your favorite storylines?
(Want more? Visit our Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark-Hunter Collection for more great stuff, including an exclusive bonus scene, “Redemption,” from the latest novel in Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dream-Hunter series, The Guardian.)