This was my favorite installment so far in the Dark Hunter Series. Zarek is the most tragically heart wrenching character I think that I have ever read about. His harsh cold exterior is more than well earned both as a human and then further as a Dark Hunter. Zarek stood no chance of developing a normal healthy way to interact with others. Born the unwanted child of a harsh and sadistic Roman nobleman and a heartless servant Zarek found himself from the beginning as a whipping boy to his half brothers and the spurned boy the other servants despised and took delight in abusing. Zarek's human body was so abused and disfigured that by the time he died as a human he had little use of his body and even less sight. Despite the lack of kindness and basic human courtesy Zarek still manages to have a spark of kindness underneath all of his surliness and animosity. He quotes The Little Prince for goodness sakes! Zarek's story got to me so much that I dreamed of him even after having my very own personal ugly cry on my couch. I don't think that I can even properly articulate how much this story affected me. I experienced such a strong visceral response after having a lukewarm response to the first two Dark Hunter stories that I myself am astounded by my reaction.
That being said, what also helped my enjoyment of Dance with the Devil is that I really enjoyed the character or Astrid. She is a justice nymph who has yet to judge someone innocent and is a strong, smart, and relatable lead female and I really needed to see that in a Dark Hunter book in order to continue on with the series. This installment does have a little comic relief in the form of Sasha, the Katagari were shifter that serves as Astrid's protector and sees for her while she is on Earth. There is no love lost between Sasha and Zarek and they are hard pressed to keep their aggression toward each other under control. Astrid strives to find what is left in Zarek that is salvageable and does not go in wanting to condemn him.
Acheron and Artemis play a bigger role in this installment as well and I truly loathe Artemis. She is arrogant, selfish, deceptive, and just an overall awful goddess. I so want her to get her comeuppance. We learn a bit more about Acheron's history and it makes me long for his story even more. I promised myself that I will be a good girl and not skip all the way to his book ,but boy is it tempting. I just know that it is going to be awesome. With a character like Acheron you know that there will plenty of emotional pain that will hopefully be overcome with the help of an awesome soul mate for him. Acheron also had a dragon demon by the name of Simi who serves him and is like a child to him that lives on his body that he is able to call when needed. Simi calls Artemis the "heifer goddess" which I will forever love her for.
A few other Dark Hunters show up in this installment including a female Hunter by the name of Syra who just happens to be pretty awesome herself. This book is chocked full of information and action which has completely hooked me on the series. The foundation for more great books are laid in this one and I am a happy happy reader!
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?