Acheron and Styxx, twin brothers not of blood but bonded together by the will of the Gods. Not since Caine and Abel has there been a story of two brothers whose relationship is such a tangle of jealously, pain, and rage. In Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark-Hunter series, Acheron is the leader of the Dark-Hunters. His history goes back over 11,000 years and begins in the Atlantean pantheon. It was foretold to the Atlantean Goddess of Destruction Apollymi that the birth of her son, Apostolos (Acheron), would herald the destruction of the Atlantean Pantheon and bring about the death of all their Gods. So the Gods ordered Apollymi to kill her unborn son. To save him, Apollymi removed him from her womb and put him into the womb of the Queen Aara, Queen of Didymos.
Apollymi twinned him to the son of the King and Queen and tied his life force to that of their own son so they would not destroy him upon his birth.
The boys were born identical to each other, except for one inescapable difference—where Styxx’s eyes are blue, Acheron has the silver swirling eyes of a God, and it was from the moment they opened their eyes that their lives of turmoil began.
“What happened?” I asked.
He looked away.
Kneeling in front of him, I gently brushed the blond hair away from his swollen cheek. “Tell me.”
“She hugged Styxx.”
I knew without asking who she was. He’d been with our mother. I’d never understood how she could be so loving to me and Styxx and yet so cruel to Acheron. “And?”
“I wanted a hug, too.”
Then I saw it. The telltale sign of a boy who wanted nothing more than his mother’s love. —Acheron
Acheron wanted only to be considered part of the only family that he knew, to be loved and respected, but his parents refused to acknowledge him, and in fact they encouraged the animosity between the brothers. The King kept his son, Styxx, on a pedestal, giving him every opportunity to enjoy the life of privilege that he was born to, yet he sent Acheron away to be abused at the hands of an uncle and after that uncle’s death brought him back to the palace for a life filled with imprisonment and beatings. Even the small kindness Acheron received from their older sister, Ryssa, led to jealousy by Styxx.
“I wanted to go the market, but didn’t want to go with a servant. I thought you’d enjoy the excursion.”
“Why didn’t you ask me?”
Acheron looked past her to see Styxx standing outside the door with a livid expression.
Ryssa turned to frown at him. “I didn’t think you’d like to go. It’s rather common for you, isn’t it?”
Styxx curled his lip. “You’d rather be with an abomination than with me?”
“Acheron isn’t an abomination.”
There was no missing the hurt in Styxx’s eyes and it stunned Acheron that his brother would feel that way given all the people who love, respected and admired Styxx.
“Why do you always defend him?” Styxx asked her, his voice laden with pain and anger. “Every time we turn around, you’ve crawled off to be with him.”
Ryssa was aghast. “Surely to the gods you’re not jealous?”
“Of that maggot? Never!”
But he was. Even Acheron could see it plainly. —Acheron
Being tied to the life of a brother you dislike has fanned the flames of hatred inside Styxx, but since Acheron is almost immortal, Styxx has also been forced to live a long, long life harboring his rage and dislike for his brother. Almost 11,000 years later, Styxx tries to kill Acheron, even though it might bring about the end of the world—it's worth it to him in order to finally be freed from his brother's existence.
As a human, he had once feared death. But that was ancient aeons ago.
Now the only thing Styxx feared was that he would never escape the horror of his existence. That he would keep on living, century after century, until the universe itself exploded. —Night Embrace
As his punishment for selfishly trying to destroy the world, he is forced to experience their life from Acheron’s perspective and he takes on the pain which Acheron experienced growing up.
“I’m really not in the mood to deal with you today, Styxx.”
“I know. I can sense your moods.”
Ash narrowed his gaze threateningly.
“It was a gift,” Styxx said sarcastically, “from Artemis when she threw me into Tartarus and gave me your memories. I’m only here to ask you one favor.”
“And what favor do you ask?”
Styxx’s eyes were haunted before he whispered. “Let me go. I can’t live here anymore, isolated from people. Alone. Banished. I just want the chance to live a life that neither of us ever had a chance to live.”
Any other time, Ash would have laughed in his face. But today he was weak with understanding and sympathy for the very thing he wanted himself. What had been done to them hadn’t been fair. Styxx’s life shouldn’t have been tied to his and because of Acheron, Styxx had lost his family, his life and his home.
Maybe a fresh start would do them both good. —Acheron
Styxx is the next book in the Dark-Hunter series, and it will be interesting to see if there is more to Styxx than just the spoiled prince he was raised to be and to see if we can finally put to rest this epic case of sibling rivalry.
Lucy Dosch writes book reviews for her blog http://ebookobsessed.com. Her e-reader has turned her love of reading into an obsession. When she is not reading, she likes to spend time with her husband and two daughters.