The title seems apt for this topic since the last God of Atlantis- Acheron (Acheron Parthenopaeus/ Apostollos/ Ash) not only loves his wife Tory (Soteria Kafieri) but is well versed in Atlantian history (being the last of his race and an Atlantean God at that). When I picked up Acheron I honestly didn’t know what to expect. I had never read any books by Sherrilyn Kenyon prior to Acheron. I was attracted to the size of the book (I like big books and I cannot lie) and the name Acheron itself (What’s in a name conundrum proved). The synopsis of Acheron honestly does not do justice to what lies between the pages but it had the words- God, Human, and Bringer of death…blah blah so I was sold. THANK GOD I didn’t judge a book by its synopsis. Because by choosing Acheron, I could not have made the more perfect choice to ease me into the world of Atlantean Gods, Greek Gods and Dark-Hunters because without knowing it, I had picked up the story of the one character who is central to every Dark-Hunter story.
Good God, how did you make that connection?
I make the weirdest connections. I don’t count it as a fault because I tend to view things differently, for the sake of my comfort (and sanity), let’s says it’s a gift. I don’t know if it’s good or bad. But I find the weirdest connections to be the most interesting ones. Atleast to me if no one else. Acheron has a very Jesus Christ feel to it. I am not comparing the two Gods simply because I believe one is very real and one is a work of fiction. The story of Acheron and Jesus are as different from each other as chalk and cheese but I used the word “feel” by which I meant the outline. The broader picture if you may. Jesus and Acheron were both the sons of Gods. Both were marked for death before they were born. Both were Gods born in human form. Both were conceived through a human mother. Both were persecuted for the whole of their human lives. Both despite being persecuted never lost their ability to love. Both died. Both were raised back to life. And both are equipped to bring about the end of the world. It is off-course the individual storylines which set both Gods apart and bring these similarities to a close.
Atlantis holds a strange fascination for history lovers who try to prove its existence and for fantasy lovers who appreciate the many mysteries of a place they believe is magical and does not exist. Sherrilyn Kenyon manages to weave Acheron’s story by appeasing both these groups making the God Acheron the holder of all history Atlantean (the fantasy element) and his soulmate Tory, (the history lover )who will do whatever it takes to prove Atlantis exists. Besides the fact that she is pitted against the last remaining Atlantean God (which she does not know at first) who will do everything to ensure that does not happen. Kenyon also highlights quite strongly the fact that the question of whether Atlantis exists or not is being debated to this day. Kenyon puts this into play but making Tory the believer of the legend of Atlantis in the modern day world and Acheron, the (pretend) disbeliever (who encourages the notions of disbelief to hide the remnants of his past).
Kenyon has also paid tribute the various beliefs surrounding Atlantis. Some claim Atlantis to be the epitome of a perfect society. Others believe it was not so perfect because Zeus cursed the people for not worshipping the Gods and punished them by drowning the city beneath the sea. Kenyon portrays Atlantis as a perfect yet not so perfect society since it was within that place that Acheron was forced to become a tsoulus/sex slave for most of his human life. She does drown the city though formulating that incident as the result of power play between the Atlantean and Greek Gods.
The Atlantean Gods who have been given separate identities in Acheron and the Greek Gods whom we are more familiar with are thought to be one and the same from a historian or mythological perspective. In fact it was believed that Mount Olympus actually lay in the heart of Atlantis. In the book, since Acheron’s mother Apollymi destroyed all the Atlantean Gods when she learnt of the human death of her son, she thus established the rule of the Greek Gods thereafter keeping in line with historical or mythological beliefs. Although they do this side-by-side with Acheron ruling in the background. Also the “Greek Gods” were historically rumoured to be mighty human rulers who were granted the statuses of Gods. Interestingly Kenyon has made her Greek Gods erringly human.
The symbol of Acheron is the sun pierced by three lightning bolts. Although Apollymi explains the symbol’s meaning as Acheron’s control over the present, past and future, consider this fun fact. The practicing religion of Atlanteans was said to be sun worship. The symbol of the Greek Good Zeus who controls the Heavens is a lightning bolt. It is ironic (or not) that the symbol of Acheron consists of the sun, paying tribute to the worshipping aspect of Atlanteans (establishing Acheron’s status as a God of worship) and includes the bolt of Zeus, the Greek God who is rumoured to have brought about the end of Atlantis (establishing Acheron’s status as the Harbinger of Death).
Understanding his “Tory”
I find it interesting that in every Dark-Hunter book series, every Dark-Hunter has his own personal “Tory” who comes to his rescue. For once the book series are about women saving the men. The men find their salvation (and their soul mate) in the one woman they fall in love with. These women save the men from themselves (cause Dark-Hunters seem pretty hell-bent on destroying themselves), from evil foes and from the “other woman”. In Acheron’s case, Tory frees him from Artemis-the Greek Goddess of the Hunt & Virgins, who was Acheron’s first and only love interest before he meets Tory. Don’t get me wrong. Sherrilyn Kenyon’s male characters aren’t weak. Quite the opposite. The core of Kenyon’s male characters are complex and well crafted. While the women support the story, their power lies in being the strength of the male characters making their role more appreciated and the bond between every Dark-Hunter and his soul mate unforgettable especially to a female reader.
“Because I don’t feel broken when you look at me. (Acheron)
How could you feel broken? (Tory)
I was shattered as a child and thrown away, like a piece of trash no on wanted. But you don’t treat me like that. You see in me the human bit and you touch that part of me. You make me feel whole and wanted. (Acheron)”
Acheron has never been loved his entire human life but has been used for his body. Working as a human sex slave destroys him physically and emotionally and what makes this knowledge unbearable to the reader, is that the reader is fully aware that this same human who is forced to sell himself is actually a God. The one who is supposed to be all powerful (The Harbinger of Death, no less) is at the mercy of others who never show him mercy at all. His real mother who loves him to bits (she pretty much almost brings the world to an end when he dies) cannot be near him, his sister Ryssa who loved him was murdered and his adopted Charonte demonic daughter Simi though fiercely protective of him cannot be regarded as adequate companionship. So basically, the entire time you are reading Acheron you are praying he finds true love.
What makes you love Acheron more is that when he attains his Godly powers he isn’t cruel or merciless. He uses his new-found powers to vanquish evil and make sure no one ever has power over him again. At the same time he trains the Dark-Hunters and divides his time between the Heavens and the Earth. He exacts warmth and compassion despite having lived a life where he has never shown either.
“People destroy beauty when they find it. (Acheron)
How so? (Artemis)
By nature, people are petty and jealous. They envy what they lack and because they don’t know how to acquire something, they try to destroy anyone who has it. Beauty is one of those things they hate most in others. (Acheron)”
Because he was touched by the Goddess of Desire when he was born, Acheron holds a magnetic aura which makes everyone (man and woman alike) who has crossed the age of puberty attracted to him sexually. Which means he never knows whether people truly love him or can’t help being attracted to him. What makes Tory special is that she is the first person who loves Acheron for who he is without being influenced by his magnetic aura. She is the only being who is immune to it. We later come to know that Tory was specifically chosen by Apollymi for her son. Interestingly for all the hate Acheron encounters, the reader is also shown the various forms of love a man can come across from different female figures- the love of a mother (Apollymi), the love of a sister (Ryssa), the love of a superficial lover (Artemis), the love of an adopted daughter (cum Charonte demon-Simi) and the love of a soulmate (Tory).
In conclusion although the phrase Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned holds true, in Acheron’s case it can be revised to Hell hath no fury like a woman’s man scorned. Quite applicable when your wife (Tory) is now-the Atlantie Kedemonia Theony – Guardian of the Atlantean Gods and your mother (Apollymi) is The Goddess of Life, Death and Wisdom.
Not that Acheron needs protecting. With his Godly powers he holds well on his own. It’s probably best you don’t even think of trying to hurt him or the people he loves. Unless you have a death-wish on your mind.
You might just bring about the apocalypse.
Acheron by Negai-Boshi (http://www.deviantart.com/art/Acheron-256604407)
Ash and Tory by lilyofthevalley101 (http://www.deviantart.com/art/Opposites-Attract-154519201)