Some people really loved this book. They gave it 5 star reviews. Some even called it the best thing Sherrilyn Kenyon has ever written. I am not one of those people. In fact, I was barely able to make myself finish Styxx. Not because it was 800-and something pages... but because it was one of the most miserable books I have ever read. It is filled from cover to cover with rape, incest, abuse, torture, and unrelenting suffering for our hero. Before you tell me that Kenyon is Queen of the Tortured Hero, don't waste your breath. There is no balance in this story between darkness and light. It's 95% horrible and 5% ...well, not horrible
for Styxx. And in case you're wondering, "It can't be worse than Acheron, can it?" Well, yes it can. And yes, it is.
Basically, this is the companion story to Acheron's book, from Styxx's point of view. It essentially throws out everything Ash thought he knew about his brother. Styxx was abused physically, emotionally, and sexually. He loses his virginity in an incestuous gang rape. On page. Then he is raped more times than the total of all rapes I have ever read in any books in my life, put together. He is raped and raped and raped. By his uncle, the guy's buddies, senators, Greek gods, Atlantean gods, the guards, the fucking guy who whips him for his dad. Everybody rapes him. And then when you think to yourself, he can't possibly be raped any more
, he is taken captive and raped for a year straight. It's simply horrific. And that is not counting the torture by the monks with the hot pokers, the constant pain he feels from every injury committed against Acheron, or the attempts on his life by every single member of his family.
His mother hates him. His sister hates him. Ash hates him. So does every member of the government... every member of the royal household. Pretty much everyone except his beloved trainer Galen, who actually hated him for several years first. He doesn't even meet his heroine until 175 pages into the book. They're with each other off and on about 5 years (while he is getting raped on the side all the while) -- and they are apart more than they are together. Then Ash becomes a God and Styxx gets sent to live alone on an island for 11-thousand years. With his heroine dead. 11-thousand years. Because 21 years of rapes, torture and abuse isn't enough. Yet he comes through it all with a good heart. And he still is capable of love and a desire to have sex. Only with Bethany, of course. (That's the heroine's name, by the way.)
Plus... when he finally gets off the island... and he tries to kill Ash to end his own miserable existence... he gets the extra treat of living through Acheron's memories for three years. There is no end to this man's suffering. And even past page 775, he is still miserable and being manipulated and thrown away. Does this tell you anything??
I know the idea is that there is supposed to be something beautiful about a man so tortured being able to retain his ability to love. But there is nothing beautiful here. I ended up just wishing the poor man could die, simply to end the cruelty.
P.S. Acheron is painted as a complete dick in this book.