The son of Warcraft and Hate, Cratus spent eternity battling for the ancient gods who birthed him. He was death to any who crossed him. Until the day he laid down his arms and was banished into exile. Now an ancient enemy has been unleashed and our dreams are his chosen battlefield. The only hope we have is the one god who swears he will never fight again.
As a Dream-Hunter, Delphine has spent eternity protecting mankind from the predators who prey on our unconscious state. But now that her allies have been turned, she knows in order to survive, the Dream-Hunters need a new leader. Someone who can train them to fight their new enemies. Cratus is her only hope. But she is a bitter reminder of why he chose to lay down his arms. Time is running out and if she can’t win him to her cause, mankind will be slaughtered and the world we know will soon cease to exist.
The story of Cratus/Jericho and Delphine is one spiked with fate and destiny and the age-old theme of the battle between good and evil. Cratus was Zeus’ executioner. As the son of Warcraft and Hate, he had no qualms carrying out Zeus’ orders, no matter how harsh. Until one day he forsake his duty and saved an innocent infant from death. This disobedience would cost him dearly because he was banished and cursed to live as the human Jericho without his powers and with nothing to his name. When evil threatens the Greek pantheon and humanity, Jericho is the one both the good guys and the bad guys turn to for an alliance and he is faced with a difficult choice: quench his thirst for vengeance against Zeus and the gods that didn’t stick out a finger to help him in the past or do the right thing and fight against evil that will destroy the world and everything in it. While the story unfolds and different surprising things are revealed, it is clear that the line between good and evil is not as black and white as one should think. There are circumstances, bonds, relations and feelings that color pre-conceived perceptions and turn some worlds upside down. Jericho discovers that he is able to love deeply and Delphine discovers that good is not always right and that to have feelings and emotions is difficult and complicated.
Normally I have this template that is the base for all my reviews where I usually start with a short summary of the book, then I describe the characters and I finish with my opinion of the book and possible quotes. With Kenyon’s books I always have trouble following that layout and I just start typing away, hoping something decent will come out of my keyboard. With DREAM WARRIOR it’s no different.
I have had a hard time squeezing out this review and my struggles were caused by the fact that I just can’t seem to get a grip on some of Kenyon’s latest work. I enjoy reading the books, but they fail to enthrall me and yet I keep going back for more. After UPON THE MIDNIGHT CLEAR I thought I was cured from the Kenyon addiction, hitting a low point in the series for me, but then she came with ACHERON and blew me away. DREAM CHASER and ONE SILENT NIGHT were nice reads, entertaining and very intriguing in some aspects but by a long shot no mind-blowing reads. And that’s exactly how I feel with DREAM WARRIOR. I enjoyed the story, liked the Jericho and Delphine a whole lot more than Styker and Zephyra but still the awe and wow was not there. The heart-pounding feeling I did have with the early Dark Hunter books and which was definitely rekindled with ACHERON is gone. The novella SHADOW OF THE MOON (still to be reviewed) brought back a glimpse of that feeling, but DREAM WARRIOR failed to keep the fire burning. The books seem to have gotten superficial and on autopilot. I miss intensity and connection with the main characters. Typical for this last issue is that my quotes from this book are not from or about either main character. This proves to me my disconnection to the hero and heroine, something I’ve been struggling with since reading UPON A MIDNIGHT CLEAR. (Again with the exception of ACHERON).
I liked the main characters better than those of ONE SILENT NIGHT but I missed Kenyon’s trademark humor: the witty snappy sarcastic dialogues in the first part of DREAM WARRIOR. The demon Asmodeus luckily did make up for it a bit with his witty sarcastic self-deprecating humor. He was one of the characters I liked the most in the story. The Dogs of War and the storyline surrounding Nick were impressive and definitely triggered my curiosity. The storyline of Jaden and Jared was just as intriguing and the questions it raised were a balancing counterpart for some of the questions from previous books and storylines that were answered in this book.
With Kenyon the line between good and evil is blurry at best. Evil in one book can be good in the next, so I’m expecting a redeeming installment for Noir and/or Azura in the future. Characters you would expect to be on the “good side” switch to the evil side or are just plain vicious not even needing a plan for world domination. I can never peg the teams down for certain because there are a lot of gray areas that make it difficult to pinpoint who is truly on which side.
And still after all the things I said above I’m puzzled because I just know that the next book in this series will be bought and will be read. I’ll call it the Kenyon “magic”, that’s what keeps me coming back for more, even if it’s not always satisfying. There is something in her books that keeps giving me the incentive to keep buying and reading them and for the love of me I can’t put my finger on it. I can only speculate that it has to do with her ability to stir my interest with intriguing storylines for the future, making me curious about where those storylines are going to take us. Because even if DREAM WARRIOR wasn’t engrossing or intense I still was unable to put the book down and kept reading and I am anxiously anticipating the follow-up of the storylines with Nick and the Dogs of War, with Jared and Jaden and with the mysterious traitor within the Greek Pantheon. These were the storylines that lifted up the second part of the book for me, together with the pace that picked up and a bit more action. I also liked how Kenyon brought some storylines from previous books (DREAM HUNTER, UPON A MIDNIGHT CLEAR, ACHERON, DREAM CHASER and ONE SILENT NIGHT) together in this book and some unanswered questions and unsolved issues were dealt with. This combined with the somewhat better second part of the book earned her an extra half star. I do believe that the last few books in this series are turning out to be less easy to read as stand alones. They seem more tightly linked installments with storylines that are transferred from one book to another, but no so much in sequence. I think it would be hard to follow the storylines and character appearances if the books are read out of order of if some books are skipped. Another reason for me to keep reading and buying every new installment that will be released.
So in conclusion, a nice enough and entertaining read with enough hooks to keep me reeled in but not enough to make me go raving and ranting.
Asmodeus to Delphine
“Oh, hello me lovely, we haven’t met.” He flashed her a charming smile as he kissed her tenderly on the hand. “Asmodeus, demon extraordinaire, at your service. Any service you may require, especially those that involve nudity and adjoining body parts joining other people’s body parts.”
Jericho, Ash and Tory
“Why would Jaden send us to you?”
Ash grinned roguishly. ” ‘Cause I’m a genuinely nice guy who plays a mean guitar.”
Tory laughed. “Spoken only by someone who doesn’t know what a grump you are in the morning.”