This compendium to the Dark-Hunter series provides a comprehensive reference to the Dark-Hunters and all the other sub-groups within their world. Each of the groups is broken out into separate sections containing a detailed description of the mythology and terms specific to that group as well as a complete character list. Additional sections give a brief overview of the history and culture of Atlantis, Greece, and New Orleans, the primary settings for the series. This book also contains interviews with Sherrilyn Kenyon, Acheron and Simi, a short Dark-Hunter parody, the Dark-Hunter short story, Second Chances, deleted scenes from Night Embrace and Seize the Night, and much more. The Dark-Hunter Companion is an indispensable reference for any fan of the Dark-Hunter series.
Second Chances (#7.5)
I've been saying for a while now that I need a Dark-Hunter encyclopedia to keep track of all the characters and mythology of the series, and here it is. The Dark-Hunter Companion is written in an entertaining way with the narrator assuming that the reader has just been turned into a Dark-Hunter, and this is the handbook to their job. Each section begins with a full-page black and white illustration done in the manga style. I'm not sure which characters some of them represented, but they were still very nice additions to the book. I've always thought this series was a little too complex, and the sheer number of characters who are listed in the directory portions and the fact that I don't even remember some of them only solidified my opinion. In some ways, the mythology is a little clearer for having read this book. However, the "rules" that are laid out for each species make the world seem a bit more static than it actually is. In the novels, it seems like "rules" are meant to be broken, so the mythology is an ever-changing, constantly evolving thing that often frustrates me. In that respect, this book did little to help me make sense of it all, but overall I did enjoy it.
The first section of the book, 'So You're a Dark-Hunter...', is a primer of sorts on the Dark-Hunters: how they are made, what is expected of them in their job, what they can and cannot do, etc. There are also two glossaries of terms, one for powers and one for weapons, but much like with the laundry lists of characters, I honestly can't remember even half of these things being mentioned in the books. The second section, 'Dark-Hunter Directory,' is exactly what it sounds like, a directory of all the Dark-Hunters, both primary and secondary characters, who have ever been in any books up to the point that this one was written. Me barely remembering some of the lesser characters, if at all, in my opinion, just goes to show what a broad brush Sherrilyn Kenyon uses to paint these stories. For those characters who do turn up again from time to time, I think it will help me to recall them better.
The next six sections cover all the other "species" or sub-groups within the Dark-Hunter world, including Were-Hunters, Dream-Hunters, Squires, Daimons and Appolites, Gods, Goddesses and Demons, and last, but certainly not least, Humans. Each section begins with a detailed discussion of the mythology surrounding each group, followed by a directory of characters and terms specific to each group. I particularly enjoyed the menus for each of the Were-Hunter safe houses: Peletier House, Dante's Inferno, and The Seregenti Club. I'm not sure I'd ever read the entire Squire's Oath, so that was a nice addition too. Admittedly though, the directories could be slightly dry when reading them straight through word for word like I was doing, as it really is much like reading an encyclopedia. These sections are probably better suited for reference when you want to know more about a particular character or some unfamiliar word.
Next up is a short history of Atlantis and the legends surrounding it, as well as a brief dictionary of Atlantean words and phrases that are commonly used in the series. Then there is a section on Greek culture. The sub-sections on Greek superstitions and sayings were particularly interesting. It also contains a dictionary of the Greek alphabet, numbers, and common words, and then wraps up with some tasty-sounding Greek recipes. Sandwiched in between these two sections is the 'Hidden Chapter.' You won't find it in the table of contents, and it's all about Acheron. Since Ash is my very favorite Dark-Hunter character, this section gave me a little sigh of satisfaction and left me even more eager to get to his book. Only one more left to go.:-) I just hope it lives up to the hype for me.
There is also a section on New Orleans which details several points of interest and fun facts about the city. This would definitely come in handy if I ever get a chance to visit. Much like the Greek section, this one wraps up with a Cajun dictionary and a few Cajun recipes. Next is an interview with Sherrilyn Kenyon which I found to be insightful, followed by two fun interviews with Acheron and Simi. After that is a short Dark-Hunter parody called 'Widget Bone's Diary' which was pretty funny. It is followed by the Dark-Hunter short story, Second Chances which I had already previously read and have reviewed separately below. The final section contains a synopsis for Saving Grace, which was later retitled Fantasy Lover, and four deleted scenes from Night Embrace and Seize the Night. Reading the synopsis, it was interesting to see how the book changed from the original concept to publication. The excerpts were all quite good. In some ways, I wish they had been left in their respective books, because they provided more information about, and development of, certain characters. The book wraps up with a handy reading order for the series and a list of all the official series websites, although it looks like most of them simply redirect to various sections of Sherrilyn Kenyon's official website.
The Dark-Hunter Companion is a pretty comprehensive guide to the series, at least up to the point it was written. The only things I thought might have been nice to include would have been family trees for some of the extensive families who have several members, and perhaps a time-line of births, deaths and important events in the Dark-Hunter world. Readers should be warned that if they haven't read all the novels and short stories that were published prior to this book, there are many spoilers contained within its pages. So, unfortunately, it will be of little help to anyone who is just starting the series, unless they don't mind having major plot points revealed. Overall, The Dark-Hunter Companion is a nice reference that will probably come in quite handy in the future if I'm having trouble remembering who a particular character is or what a certain word means.
Second Chances (#7.5) - Star Rating: 4.5; Sensuality Rating: 0
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