Everyone knows I'm a Sherrilyn Kenyon fan. I've never made a secret of that. There are few authors whose Yahoogroups I hang out and comment on regularly, but she's one of them. It's usually my auto-buys who get that much attention from me, and Sherrilyn is an auto-buy...at least for the Dark/Were/Dream Hunters, though I'm just starting into Lords of Avalon, as well.
So, how did Ash stack up? Excellent book, but I can honestly say not my favorite in the series. Sacrilege, I know! But, everyone is entitled to an opinion.
Unlike some readers, I ADORED the first half of the book. I didn't feel the torture was "overdone," but I did get annoyed with Ryssa, after a while, which I almost hate to admit.
I LOVE Ryssa. I never wanted to have bad feelings toward Ryssa, but the truth is, she was too naïve for her own good and Ash's. There was a delicate balance, in which Ash would be nearly invisible to his enemies and not take beatings or other abuse. If Ryssa would have quietly interacted with him in that safe zone, Ash wouldn't have taken half the abuse he did. But, Ryssa was always determined to draw Ash into a larger arena, which did nothing but get him hurt worse. In time, I started to think she was TSTL (too stupid to live) when it came to protecting Ash.
I liked the second half and certainly adored Tory. However, it felt rushed. I would have rather seen Ash come out in two books, the brutal first half of his life and the romance of Tory. It would have allowed Sherrilyn to expound on and explore that part of his life in more detail. Now, I admit that some romance purist types might not have wanted to buy the no-HEA first book, though most Ash fans would, I'd wager. It would have worked better, IMO, if the two books had come out in short order...maybe a month apart or so. That would encourage readers to read BOTH books, even if they didn't really like the no-HEA type, in general.
I will be the first to admit that this book is not for the weak at heart. It's harsh. It's heart-wrenching. It's graphic in both sex and violence. But, if you like a good dark romance, this book is a fine example of the breed.
I also felt that the second half was rushed, because we only got to see Ash's tastes over the last 30 years or so of his life. I wanted to know more about what he did in the long millennia between when he was made a DH and when he found Tory. What did he like and not like. I can tell that he's always liked the theatre and then the movies, but what sorts of music did he like or not? What sort of clothing did he wear and why? These are interesting things for fans to know.
I do adore that Tory and Ash have a past that he's forgotten personally. Grinning... And, though I won't spoil it...I love when we learn what his weakness is. Who would have thought it? No, I don't mean babies crying, though that makes a lot of sense. I'm talking about the one human substance that can incapacitate an Atlantean god.
I've already got the next two books pre-ordered. As always, I'm a DH fan.