Zarek’s Point of View:
Dark-Hunter: A soulless guardian who stands between mankind and those who would see mankind destroyed. Yeah, right. The only part of that Code of Honor I got was eternity and solitude.
Insanity: A condition many say I suffer from after being alone for so long. But I don’t suffer from my insanity-I enjoy every minute of it.
Trust: I can’t trust anyone…not even myself. The only thing I trust in is my ability to do the wrong thing in any situation and to hurt anyone who gets in my way.
Truth: I endured a lifetime as a Roman slave, and 900 years as an exiled Dark-Hunter. Now I’m tired of enduring. I want the truth about what happened the night I was exiled-I have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
Astrid (Greek, meaning star): An exceptional woman who can see straight to the truth. Brave and strong, she is a point of light in the darkness. She touches me and I tremble. She smiles and my cold heart shatters.
Zarek: They say even the most damned man can be forgiven. I never believed that until the night Astrid opened her door to me and made this feral beast want to be human again. Made me want to love and be loved. But how can an ex-slave whose soul is owned by a Greek goddess ever dream of touching, let alone holding, a fiery star?
Why I Read This Book and General Thoughts
Tara @ 25 Hour Books was the one who first suggested that I read the Dark-Hunter series, and then Christi @ Smitten with Reading and Ash @ Smash Attack Reads! bullied me into reading this particular book. Not that much bullying was really necessary, of course. After reading Night Embrace, and being fully introduced to Zarek, I was especially intrigued, and was looking forward to his story. I really did enjoy this book, but it took awhile before it started to affect me. And once it did, the effect was like a strong grip on my heart.
A More In-Depth Look
I like my characters with tortured souls. There is a depth and complexity to this kind of character that raises the stakes of his or her love story and makes it that much more intense. Zarek has known torture both as a human and a Dark-Hunter. When reviewing Night Embrace, I said, “All the anger and hatred in Zarek’s case is his way of defending himself; strike first, and you are the hurt-er, not the hurt-ee.” Oh, how right I was.
Zarek’s story will break your heart. The hurt and pain he has had to endure is unfathomable and extreme. The more we learn, the more we understand Astrid’s desire to help him, and give him everything that has been denied to him. Z has only known pain and hatred, and does not understand or trust any positive emotion, yet we catch glimpses of someone who is kind, gentle, and loving — the opposite of what everyone suspects Zarek to be.
Like the books that precede Dance with the Devil, the supporting cast of characters only enrich the story. Why do I have to wait until book 15 to read about Acheron? I am guessing that is likely because his character is so complex that his story needs to build over the course of the series, and will wreck me upon completion. I loved Simi, Acheron’s demon that resides on his body in the form of a tattoo (even Kyle thought a demon that could take shape as a tattoo was pretty cool). And Sasha provided a good vehicle for Zarek to show his true colors to Astrid.
Every book in the Dark-Hunter series gives us more secrets that allows us to constantly reassess our knowledge of the Dark-Hunter world. Where in the first couple books, this was incredibly frustrating because it felt as though there was so much left out, now that we have a better handle on the Dark-Hunters, it only serves to propel the series forward and keep us entertained and fascinated with the world and its characters.
“He was like a tamed panther. One that was still wild at heart but that might come up and nuzzle your hand so long as you took care of him and didn’t move too fast.”
Her lips quivered in sadness. That was the lesson of the book. It was to remind people that it was okay to care and that once you let someone into your heart, you were never really alone. Even the most simple thing such as looking up at the sky could bring comfort to you, even when the one you loved was far away. “And if I taught you to laugh?”
“I would be tamed.”
“Would you? Or would you be the sheep who has a muzzle with no strap and who eats the rose when he’s not supposed to? I somehow think that even tamed, you would be beyond control.”
“Stars aren’t supposed to cry,” he whispered so that only she could hear him. “They’re supposed to laugh.”
“How can I laugh when I have no heart?”
He took her hand into his and kissed the tip of every finger. “You have a heart.” He placed her hand over his. “One that only beats for you, princess.”
You Might Enjoy This Book If…
Dance with the Devil is a must-read for fans of Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark-Hunter series, and lovers of dark paranormal romance will probably enjoy this book (and series).