When you develop a long history with a series you have loved the way I’ve loved this one, it’s hard to let go. But sometimes, it’s the best choice. I feel like I’ve said, “this is the last one” to myself a fair number of times, only to get sucked back in by my memories of stories past. (Dance With the Devil, anyone?) But the thing is, even when one kind of brings back the glory days the way The Guardian did, I’m getting to the point where it all feels recycled. Even the good stuff, done so many times, doesn’t shine the way it used to.
It’s been so long since we’ve spent time at Sanctuary, I have to say I was kind of excited to return. I loved the Fang and Aimee days; the Howlers; Wren (swoon!), so I dug in with relish. Only to get completely lost almost out of the gate. I have read every single book in this series. There are so many books, that Goodreads has about 80 different lists wrapping them all up with the Dream Chasers and the Were-Hunters, Dark Hunters, Hellchasers, and so on. I’ve read them all, some of them 2 or 3 times. And yet I couldn’t have been more lost in a mining cave without a flashlight.
Is this Sherrilyn Kenyon’s fault? Yes and no. She’s made her world so complex that even a devoted reader can’t keep up. I’m not saying she is inconsistent or that no one will understand it, but it’s just too big. It’s unwieldy. And while the readers-much-smarter-than-me may be able to keep up, I don’t want to work that hard.
Then there is the romance, which is like the last gazillion before it. The hero has been abused and derided thousands of years, known no love, you know the drill. This time it’s Max, the resident dragon at Sanctuary. His mate from long ago shows up after 3000 years, asking him to help rescue the children he never knew about. She’s been a statue for most of this time, and there is so much backstory I don’t remember. Oh, and for a little extra joy, Kenyon is now tying her Lords of Avalon books into the series, which I haven’t read, confusing me further.
Bottom line: Max was betrayed. Max had no one. Seraphina returns and gives him hope. She touches him… wait for it… LIKE HE MATTERS. They live happily every after. The only difference from the standard Kenyon pairing was that instead of being a paragon, the heroine was actually pretty unlikeable, considering she was one of the people who threw Max away on their first go around.
Kenyon does advance the larger story arc. We see the Malachai, Ash, Styxx, Savitar, Apollymi and even Stryker in addition to the New Orleans were-community. It ends with a war brewing. But this really is it for me. I am sad about it, I really am. And no doubt, there will be people with better memories and more room in their brains who will love this complex jigsaw puzzle in a way I just can’t. It’s more work than pleasure for me at this point.
I still love Zarek, though.
*ARC provided by publisher
Click to purchase: Amazon
by Sherrilyn Kenyon
Release Date: August 4, 2015
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press