Retribution (Dark Hunter #20) by Sherrilyn Kenyon
August 2, 2011
St. Martins Press
Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “I won’t die to save the world.” But she would die to save him.
William Jessup Brady was once considered one of the most dangerous gun slingers of the wild west. So dangerous in fact, a marshal once laid down his badge rather than take Jess’s horse into custody. Jess continued on his path of destruction until he met the one woman who made him give up his life for a chance of happiness with her. When his best friend betrays him, Jess cries vengeance and his wish is granted in return for his soul. Thus, the Dark Hunter Sundown is born.
When Ren and Jess are called to Vegas; Jess is given three warnings, all telling him that change is coming and to beware. Change rears its ugly head in the form of a young woman he knew as child. Abigail Yager. Abigail was raised by Apollites after her parents were brutally murdered and she saw Jess do it.. Abigail was taught that Dark Hunters are evil and is systematically killing them. When she attacks Jess, he turn the tables and kidnaps her. As Jess tries to convince Abigail that he was not the one to kill her parents, they learn that her quest for vengeance against Jess and the dark hunters has caused the beginning of the apocalypse. Only a sacrifice will appease the gods and Abigail will have to decide if her life is more important than all of mankind’s.
Retribution is not only Sundown’s story but also brings a new subplot into play in this ever changing, evolving world. New players and new storylines all begin to tie everything we have ever learned together in anticipation of Novembers release- The Guardian and her 2013 release –Time Untime. In here we learn Sundown’s background and how he became a dark hunter. A dark story of love, betrayal, and revenge. Jess has always been a favorite of mine. An easy going dark hunter who’s friendship with Zarek solidified him as a keeper in my book. Besides, who doesn’t love a sexy cowboy?
I loved that Ms. Kenyon chooses at this time to introduce Native American legends along with Mayan mythology. The last few books have spent part of their storyline introducing new blood that will all play a role in saving the world. I cannot WAIT for the book that brings them all onto the same page. It also, in my humble opinion, keeps this series fresh. After Acheron, the main conflict with Ash was settled and while I was happy, I couldn’t help but think, “What now?”. Well now, Ms. Kenyon cleverly brings about a new conflict for us to salivate over.
While we do see some faces from the past in here; Sin, Zarek, and Sasha, this book doesn’t revolve around the usual Greek Pantheon, demon storyline. I understood why we didn’t see much of Ash or the rest of the gang, though it was still a little disconcerting. Ms. Kenyon does give us a brief bonus feature at the end with Ash and Tory that had me clapping my hands and squeeeeing in delight but the heifer goddess’s about face shocked and let me feeling empty. I’m not ready for this “new” Artemis though if you read Dream Warrior and The Chronicles of Nick, you got the feeling this was coming.
The story is well written with a fast steady pace. Ms Kenyon allows the light romance to intertwine with the main conflict at the perfect level-keeping the story entertaining and informative. Jess and Abigail are great together. The attraction is instant and the chemistry between them is a viable presence but Ms. Kenyon allows their relationship to progress at a natural pace. It keeps some semblance of realism in the storyline as Abigail hates Jess and has to work it all out for herself. Their past together goes back many lives and it’s only towards the end are you informed why. Jess is so laid back in every scene we have ever seen him in and it’s just as apparent here. He feels he has so much to atone for so even with Abigail’s hate riding him, he continues to help her. I love that there is no “real” emotional angst between Jess and Abigail. No outrageous misunderstandings. They are comfortable together. The token love scene is rather abrupt but considering the circumstances-it’s forgivable. I will add that it took me a while to get to like Abigail but I’m not sure if it’s because of her indecisiveness or the fact she kept wanting to kill my man.
I know that some readers are wondering about Nick. Again, there are clues in the last few books and The Chronicles Of Nick that explains why and how he can do this.
Our secondary characters are personable and lively; each one able to carry a separate story onto themselves. I enjoyed meeting the Native American characters. They are not as unapproachable as those of the Greek pantheon. Even though centuries old, they are more in touch with their human sides, giving us plenty of humorous and snarky scenes.
“You need to take it slowly.”
“ I say, stop mothering me Ren. I’m not an invalid, you know? Fall into one little trace while taking care of something and now I have a hen on top of me. I swear, if you don’t stop I’ll rename you.”
“How long has it been?”
Choo Co La Tah eased off the clutch…”Hmm, probably sometime around nineteen hundred and…”
They all waited with bated breath while he ground his way through more gears. ”…must have been the summer of…hmm…let me think a moment. Fifty-three. Yes, that was it. 1953.”
The look on Jess and Sasha’s faces would have made her laugh if she wasn’t as every bit as horrified. Oh my God, who put him behind the wheel?
Their background is confusing at times though and is a lot to absorb in one storyline. Sasha is in rare form and it was treat to see him as a major player in here. I do wish we could have spent a little more time with her family but I have the feeling we have definitely not seen the last of them.
Ms. Kenyon once again takes us for a ride, flips us around, and distorts our perception of her world and I for one liked it. I look forward to Ren’s story in The Guardian which releases in November 2011 and the beginning of the end in Time Untime which releases August 2012.
Overall Rating: B+