Stygian is the latest in a long long long line of books in the Dark Hunter universe created by Sherrilyn Kenyon and it is the long awaited story of Urian. Urian is a character that has long fascinated me, but even more so when we found out he is Styxx’s son in Styxx. It was one of the ultimate twists that Kenyon has become famous for.
Despite that I was hesitant to start Stygian because of those twists and turns that have become Kenyon’s hallmark for the last ten years. Ever since Acheron she has been twisting characters and stories around to fit her latest book, which resulted in the downfall of Acheron as a character and many many loose ends. With every book I keep hoping the author will resolve some of the ungoing plot angles, but then she only digs a deeper hole. I feel like either the author will become completely lost in her work or the there will be the ultimate end game to end all end games.
Back to Stygian. It’s a long ass story that begins when Urian is just little (remember that he is over eleven housand years old). For 80% of the book it reads more as a chronicle than it does a story. It chronicles essential and not so essential parts of Urian’s life and for about 30% recycles parts of previous books (such as Kiss of the Night, Styxx and Dragonsworn) with little added bits seen from Urian’s point of view.
While it’s not essentially bad perse, it doesn’t do Urian’s character justice, nor gives a complete story and there is not really a romance or a resolution in the story. Essentially, Stygian is a big unbalanced story without any real direction.
That doesn’t mean I don’t like it. As I really like Urian, it was good to get to know him better, see Stryker again and Davynn, but also Urian’s brothers. Although, with the last it wasn’t really sure if the reader is supposed to like them or not. It was unambiguous – up to the reader. I also liked the interaction with Styxx and Beth and Ash. It’s one of the first stories where romance and the partner is not the essential part of the story. Urian’s ‘thing’ with Xyn is flymsy at best. There is no real soul mate type of love though Urian’s love for her is clear. In that there was a clear conflict with the earlier romances and Urian’s history with his wife Phoebe.
The hardest thing to read though, were the many many many inconsistencies. There were a lot and it’s clear the author has become either really sloppy, lost or doesn’t care. I’m not going to give examples, but as a fan of the books, you notice them and it makes you wonder if an editor saw this story.
What is needed is a good companion book to keep track of what is going on and who is who, because with the mixing of different worlds (such as the Arthurian ones she created as Kinley MacGregor) things have gotten confusing.
Now as said, I did like Urian’s story and I like the world this author has created, but she does make it hard for readers to keep up with everything that is going on when she keeps adding, but not resolving anything. I really do hope that for future books we get back to the earlier oomph the world has. That said, I do hope we see more of Styxx and Urian and Ash and their families, because they are awesome!