The following post, written by a guest blogger, is open for you to participate with your comments. SPOILER ALERT! These posts and discussions can include spoilers for the book’s plot. We recommend you finish reading the book before delving any further.Intro
Welcome to the Sherrilyn Kenyon Dark-Hunter Re-Read. From the first time Simi used barbeque sauce… to listening to the Howlers play Sanctuary …to Ash (need we say more?!), this is where you can re-live the great moments of the series. Delve into posts written by DH experts and super fans picked by Sherrilyn, talk to your fellow Menyons, and earn points with the Kenyon Rewards Program all while enjoying a walk down memory lane, Dark-Hunter Style.
For you newbies, welcome to your new life because with the Dark-Hunters, it’s more than a series, it’s a world.
Attention Kenyon Reward Program users: if you share this page, you'll receive an extra 150 points! And for even more points, visit the Upon the Midnight Clear book page to read the excerpt and earn a badge! Commenting below will also get you points, but those points will be added weekly, not instantaneously like the others!Recap
Upon the Midnight Clear, the second installment of Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dream-Hunter series introduces us to Dolor--the God of Pain and suffering. Dolor thrives off of all pain and suffering and has a long-standing feud with the Dream-Hunters. In particular with Leta the Oneroi who managed to defeat and trap him into an unconscious stasis. His only means of escape is if a human summons him and sacrifices a loved one so that he can have a human body. Leta pledged to protect anyone from Dolor’s wrath after having lost her husband and child to his maniacal machinations to inflict pain.
When Dolor awakens from stasis, he feels the pull of a summoning and plots his revenge upon the Dream goddess who cursed him to this servitude. His consciousness travels to the pathetic human calling him. Two men await Dolor, their ignorance annoys him as they discuss what punishment they want him to inflict upon their enemies. Dolor tells them his services require a blood sacrifice. The one named Donnie quickly slices his companion’s neck killing him. Dolor delights in the ruthless action and feels confident that he can manipulate the human into doing what he needs to be free completely. Dolor informs Donnie that only the blood sacrifice of a loved one will free his full powers and gain the freedom to accomplish the human’s desire. After a few more questions and some internal debate, Donnie agrees to Dolor’s terms.
Donnie is eaten up with jealousy of his movie star brother. He thinks his brother Aidan is undeserving of the fame and fortune success has brought him. He’s bitter and blames Aiden for everything and anything that has went bad in his life. Donnie will do anything to see Aiden die and suffer.
Leta awakens from her own stasis feeling Dolor’s consciousness shift to the mortal plane. She is stunned that anyone would dare summon the God of Pain and suffering when the price was the blood sacrifice was that of a loved one. When she cursed Dolor, she never imagined anyone being cold-hearted enough to kill their own for the sake of pain and suffering. Leta follows the path of Dolor’s power to find the intended target whose body would permanently free the Pain God. Leta observes Donnie’s brother Aiden with curiosity as waves of bitterness and rage seem to be fused to every fiber of his being. His strong emotions call to her so palpable as if they belonged to her.
Leta hears a blood-chilling laugh and flashes herself back to her stasis chamber in the Hall of Mirrors to encounter Dolor. He taunts and threatens her for cursing him to his current restrictions but vows to fulfill the summoning requirements and gain his freedom permanently. His fury enforcing his promise of vengeance scares Leta. Dolor leaves and Leta is left shaken and wondering how she is able to feel the emotions swirling through herself. The Oneroi were cursed centuries ago by Zeus after one of them had visited his dreams and played a practical joke on him. He stripped them of their emotions so they would not be capable of the creativity that inspired the joke on him. She didn’t dare contemplate the ramifications if Zeus even suspected emotions were returning to the Oneroi.
Catching a glimpse of Aiden in one of the mirrors, Leta studies his beauty. No matter what she had to do, she swears to defeat Dolor at any cost… even if it meant the loss of this one human. She doesn’t want to risk unleashing the God of Pain and Suffering to the world.
Leta is brought up to speed by her brother M’Adoc. Centuries of advancement and technology astound her but she adjusts well. They discuss Dolor and her plans to defeat him before M’Adoc gives her advice and she observes Aiden again. Leta is pulled into Aiden’s dream. Aiden interacts with her and she manages to understand the depth of pain he’s already experiences at the hands those he used to trust. His bitterness and bleak outlook are blunt and unwavering.
Out of the dream, Leta shows up at Aiden’s cabin under the guise of her car breaking down. He tries to turn her away even though she seems attractively familiar but relents to let her use his phone. She tells him his phone doesn’t work and he tells her to leave anyways. She scoffs at his attitude and asks if he would let her die in the blizzard. He is surprised by the blizzard but accepts that he can’t turn her away to die. He’s grumpy and unhappy about having to socialize with her but begrudgingly enjoys bantering with her. He tries to figure her out and catch her in any type of deceit to substantiate his present view of humanity. They trade entertaining comebacks off of each other. Leta tries to talk him into believing good people exist. Aiden shares his history of betrayal by the ones he loved the most and even by those whom he depended on. He tells her that no one does anything out of the goodness of their heart, that there’s always a motive. Leta feels guilty about acting out the charade of being a stranded motorist and wants to desperately be honest with him. Aiden blows her off to go to his study where he falls asleep. Leta sensing the tug of his dreams goes to him again.
In the dream, Aiden and Leta continue their conversation and he shares more of the betrayal he’s suffered at the hands of loved ones. His brother blackmailed him, his nephew sold lies to the tabloids, and his girlfriend cheated on him with his brother and then sold made up lies about him to the media as well. Friends had used him and long-time employees had sold him out for money and spite. He has no reason in the world to believe good people exist. Leta comes clean and tells Aiden the real reason she is there to see him. She tells him about his brother summoning a God of Pain and Suffering to kill him and of her pledge to protect him. Aiden is slow to accept her story until Dolor shows up in the dream and grabs him.
The trademark kick-ass fight scene Sherrilyn Kenyon is known for ensues. Blows are exchanged and the confrontation escalates with Dolor inflicting images of Aiden’s brother Donnie with his ex in bed together. Thoughts of all that he’d hoped for with his ex were sullied by her affair with his brother. His brother’s jealousy and disgust of him still hurt. Aiden’s hate and rage strengthen him and feed power to Leta as well. She and Aiden fight Dolor. Leta, still not strong enough to defeat Dolor, tries to defend Aiden but Dolor uses his powers to force memories of her baby crying thus drowning her in pain. Aiden’s rage flares higher with his instincts urging him to protect Leta and giving him enough of an edge to defeat Dolor in the dream. Aiden goes to a hysterical Leta soothing her pain by holding her close. Leta tells Aiden that Dolor will return. They bond over the shared experience. Helping Leta through her pain helps Aiden make a breakthrough with his own. He teaches her how to deal with the pain and by helping her; he helps himself heal enough to be open to caring about others again. He lets go of his pain knowing he doesn’t need it anymore. Leta shares her fears of not being able to defeat Dolor and they discuss how she had cursed Dolor before and what her options are now. He gives her one hell of a pep talk and this brings them even closer together. Before anything else can happen, Sounds of Timor--the embodiment of fear can be heard and Leta breaks to exit the dream and wake Aiden.
Aiden comes out of the dream to confront Leta. She tries to act innocently like the dream wasn’t real, but Aiden catches on quick and Leta is forces to confess again… this time to an awake Aiden. More witty rhetoric ensues for more funny banter. Things get serious once more as Leta finally convinces Aiden of his reality and she shares more of her painful past. They band together and she brings him with her to find answers from her brother M’Adoc and her cousins Deimos and Phobos. They find Deimos and Phobos playing chess with Deimos being caught cheating. The interactions between these two are hilarious and of course they happen to be more eye candy for the readers! Phobos aka Fear and Deimos aka Dread tell Leta to go talk to Lyssa aka Insanity to get a clue about how to defeat Dolor. Lyssa’s home is just as insane as she is and Aiden is creeped out by his surroundings. Lyssa is just plain awesome as she only speaks in sing-song rhymes. They return to Aiden’s cabin with Aiden believing they’ve wasted their time, but Leta tells them they got the information they sought. She feels optimistic and once again wonders at the emotions she’s feeling. She speculates whether or not she could be syphoning emotions from Aiden and contemplates the possibility of her emotions returning.
Leta accepts that her emotions are too vivid to be second-hand from Aiden. Aiden tells Leta that they should take the fight to Dolor. He asks why they have to wait for Dolor to come to them. They make a plan to take the fight to Dolor in the dream world. They enlist help from M’Adoc for something to keep them asleep in order to defeat Dolor. M’Adoc complies and then confirms to Leta that their emotions have begun to return because Zeus’s curse is weakening. He warns her to keep it silent for fear of Zeus’s wrath.
Aiden and Leta set their plan in motion and set a trap for Dolor in Aiden’s fear landscape. Aiden designs his dream landscape to appear just like Lyssa’s home thinking it will help confuse the Pain God. Dolor shows up but not alone. The Fear God Timor stands with Dolor ready to defeat them. They try to convince Aiden that Leta has really set the trap for Aiden thus turning on him. Leta begs Aiden not to listen to their lies and he finally decides to fully trust her. A real knock down-drag out fight starts and it gets really scary as it goes down. I won’t finish the rest as we don’t want to spoil it all for those who haven’t read the story. But the first full length dive into the Dream-Hunter world is explosive and hot, and answers a lot of questions about them.Favorite Quote
“You bound me to this curse, and before this is over, you will pay for it. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a human to torture and kill.” (Dolor)
“Personally, he’d rather be a beggar with one true friend than a prince surrounded by two-faced assassins.” (Aidan)
“Life was nothing if not pain and he was the king of it.” (Aidan)
“It’s not the pain that’s inflicted on us by others that destroys us. It’s the pain we let inside our hearts that does that. Don’t let the human’s anger become yours. It can drive you mad if you do.” (M’Adoc)
“Nope. All true. I know seventy-two ways to kill a man and sixty-nine of them look like an accident.” (Leta)
“Yeah, the whole world is just rainbows and puppies. Boy Scouts really do help old ladies cross the street without mugging them and no one ever ignores a trauma victim’s screams.” (Aidan)
“What the hell is that?” Aidan asked.
“I hope old Tim’s an ex-boyfriend.”
How she wished. “No. He’s the personification of human fear.”
“Oh, goody,” he said in a jovial tone. “Just what I wanted to add to my dream. Should we invite him over for tea?” (Leta and Aidan)
“It’s like playing against a two-year-old who can blast your soul right out of your body. Last time Demon played a human who beat him, he sliced him open from asshole to appetite.” (Phobos)
“You’re a Dolophonos, a god of justice. Are you really going to sit there while an innocent man is put to death because someone has PMS?” (Leta)
1. This is the second book about the Dream-Hunters. The Oneroi. If you could be either a Dark-Hunter or a Dream-Hunter… which would you choose and why?
2. Has anyone else wondered why Zeus is such a poor sport pain in the ass, not just in Sherri’s books, but in Greeks myths as well?
3. If you were a Dream-Hunter void of all emotions, would you be tempted to go Skoti?
4. Phobos is the god of Fear and Deimos is Dread, what kind of Dream-Hunter do you think you would be?
5. In the story, Leta and Aidan visit Lyssa–the Greek goddess personification of Insanity. She only speaks in rhymes. How long do you think you could last–only speaking in rhymes and do you think it’s part of her madness or part of what caused her madness?
6. What about the Dream-Hunter intrigue and lore captivates you the most?
7. If you were cursed to no emotions. What would you miss feeling the most and why? Would you even be able to miss it?Contributor Bio
Kat Deacon is a wife, mother, author, mental health counselor, and longtime Kenyon Menyon. When she’s not juggling cats, rescuing underwear from her clothes-eating dryer, refereeing her teenager’s bickering, writing or flirting with her husband, she’s attending Graduate School working toward a masters degree in Counseling Psychology. When not doing any of those other things, she’s reading or listening to audio books. You can catch her on Twitter (https://twitter.com/sinoo7) or Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5184251).