From what I gather it is like Acheron. This is from her Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/notes/sherrilyn-kenyon/the-story-behind-styxx/10151585630130810
The story behind Styxx.
September 5, 2013 at 5:38pm
Before I head off to Europe, I wanted to take a second and step in to thank everyone for your kind words about Styxx. Every book I write is a major labor of love for me. They have to be or I couldn’t do what I do. No one in their right mind would spend months to a year with something they didn’t love, and put 20+ hours a day into it, seven days a week.
That being said, I know Styxx isn’t for everyone. Like Acheron, Styxx had a brutal background that is very hard to see at times and in many ways, it runs parallel to Acheron’s. I wish I could say it was because they were born to an ancient world where people were much harsher than today, but the truth is, that isn’t so. People have always been cruel and abuse is nothing new nor is it something modern man has risen above.
Readers often ask which character is most like me and up until now, I’ve always said Acheron. But Styxx is truly the character who is closest to me personally, for many reasons.
I didn’t set out to teach any lessons with this book. I merely wrote it for the character himself. But as the story poured out of me, a lot of my own history came with it.
Why is his past so brutal? Why is Acheron’s or any of my characters? Because my own was. Anyone who has read my books and who has shared a similar past can see the truths that resonate on the page. You can’t write what I do without an insider’s knowledge. And what I hope people take from the book is that when someone has been through hell, it scars a part of the soul that nothing ever really heals. If you’re really lucky, you merely learn better ways to cope with the demons that always stalk you. But they never leave you completely in peace.
While people talk about abusive childhoods, they usually only address the single abuser who targets that child and they ignore the fact that when a child is locked in a situation like Styxx and Acheron, it seldom is only one person harming them. Some of the abusers are like Estes and they aren’t around the child every day, but those like Aara and Xerxes are and their cruelty is unrelenting. But even worse than those who are active participants in the abuse are the ones like Ryssa who deny it or ignore it. People who could do something, but, for whatever reason, choose not to. In some ways, they are bigger monsters than the others.
The first rule an endangered child is taught is to never speak of it aloud. You learn to hide your pain at all cost. To withdraw into yourself and to fear other people ever learning your secret. Because if they do, they will call you a liar or they will worsen your situation, especially when your life is truly horrific. Or somehow you’ll be blamed. Like Ash and Styxx, I went through all of that and more. And what truly, honestly breaks my heart is that I know as bad as my childhood was, there are many more who make mine look desirable. I grew up with some of them and watched as our demons destroyed their lives and ultimately ended them way too soon. And I never want to see another person fall over something that should never have happened to them. To blame, or worse, hate themselves for something that wasn’t their fault. Something we didn’t deserve. Looking back, I still don’t know what was worse. Waking up every morning and wondering if today was the day they’d finally kill me or that glimmer of hope that wished they would so that at least it would be over and I wouldn’t have to go through another day of dealing with them.
I know how hard it is to read. I know how hard it was to write. Most of all, I know just how damn difficult it is to not only survive, but to learn how to love and trust when the people who should have protected you didn’t. I never really go into my past because even now it burns like the Phlegethon River in Hades. But one thing I will share is when my lifelong best friend sat with me on the bus as we headed to school. Yet again, I was shaking and holding back tears from what had been done to me before eight AM. I was in so much pain and agony that I couldn’t believe no one else ever saw it. And Kim looked at me and asked a question that has haunted me ever since. “Aren’t you afraid to ever have children? Aren’t you afraid of abusing them?”
We were only thirteen years old.
I responded back with, “I will never make a child of mine ever feel like this. Ever.” And that is a promise I have kept. Never once have I raised a hand to any of my boys. Never once have I spoken to them in anger or insulted them. And I have never left them alone at home with anyone other than their father who is the one person I do trust in this world. He is my own real life hero.
As writers, we often write what we know best and that is what I do. I don’t know what it’s like to grow up enveloped in love and to be cherished as a child. I honestly, don’t know what it’s like to be a child because I never was one. When I was in fourth grade, my teacher made the comment that I was the most mature child she’d ever met in her 30+ years of teaching and that it was like having another adult in her classroom. It really wasn’t a compliment.
What I honestly believe saved my life was writing. I escaped into my head and found that someplace warm that Styxx talks about in the book. While they screamed and lashed out at me, I learned to crawl through space with assassins and cemeteries with vampires. I poured my heart and soul onto paper, and found peace with my fictional people. I think that’s why I never take vacations or days off because writing is my escape and always has been. It is how I deal with things.
If there is a lesson to be learned in Styxx, I want it to be that assumptions should never be made about a person you don’t really know. We all have our own agony to bear. As Styxx says, the Algea (the spirits of pain and suffering) spare no one. That those in pain don’t always reach out. Many of us hide it for many reasons. Fear. Shame. Self-hatred. But it doesn’t mean we haven’t been put through a wringer.
I’ve said it many times, what I saw from experts and in fiction growing up doomed me to the life that many I love fell into. I should have been a teen mother, abused wife, prostitute or alcoholic drug addict, in and out of jail, with no future whatsoever. But I promised myself as a child that if I survived to leave my hell behind that I would carve a better life for me and my children. That I would stop that cycle dead and never look back. I try hard to keep the latter part of that promise, but it’s hard most days. A single sound or smell and it all comes rushing back with a clarity that sometimes drives me to my knees.
In my life and in my books, the one message I want to carry through is that hope springs eternal. That the human spirit can be undaunted and that we can rise above unimaginable tragedy. It’s not easy. Sometimes it seems impossible. But if you can remain true to yourself and find the humanity others have failed to show you, you can become more than what those experts have damned you to. We are warriors. All of us. And we don’t have to lash out. No matter what lies they told you, you are beautiful and you are important to this world. Every “human” is.
And with that, I’m going to hug my boys and kiss their beautiful cheeks and finish packing for the tour. I wish all of you the happiness and success you deserve. Most of all, I wish safety and peace.