REVIEW: The Darkest Kiss by Gena ShowalterSaturday, July 5, 2008 1:00
Gwen’s review of The Darkest Kiss (Lords of the Underworld, Book 2) by Gena Showalter
Contemporary paranormal romance released by HQN 1 Jun 08
The Cover Goddess has been very good to Showalter with this contemporary paranormal series. Every one of the books has a beautifully rendered photo of a gorgeous man. I think this book has the best of all of them. What’s inside of the cover isn’t half bad either.
This is a relatively new entry into the “paranormal warrior series” romance subgenre. It has similar aspects to Ward’s Brotherhood and Cole’s Immortals, but is most definitely its own animal. The immortal, demon-possessed warriors in Showalter’s books are based on the Greek mythos and they are more”normal” – feeling a considerable amount of guilt for past misdeeds done by both them and their on-board demons.
In this second entry into the series (if you don’t count the prequel), we find the warrior Lucien, with his demon Death, falling for a (minor) goddess Anarchy, a.k.a. Anya. Anya is a hoot and I totally wanted her to get her HEA. She’s a heroine who is smart, sharp, and on the run. TSTL is not part of the vocabulary when you’re talking about her. Her taste in men is a little questionable, but whose isn’t. Showalter has given us a kick-ass heroine who is fun and very approachable.
For me, Lucien is a less sympathetic character. I liked him well enough, but felt he was a little self-indulgent with his “no woman could possibly be attracted to me” and “oh poor scarred me” attitudes. But, once you get past that, the development of the relationship between Anya and Lucien is really very good. And the sensual scenes are very, very hot.
There are a few scenes with the secondary characters in this book – it’s mostly Lucien and Anya – and I loved that. The setting and environment of the book are a lot of fun – you hop all over the world with the h/h looking for artifacts that will help them find Pandora’s Box (there’s a complicated mythos behind this you’ll have to read).
This book read fine on its own – I haven’t read the previous two entries and I was able to pick up the story easily. And, thankfully, I didn’t feel like there was a ton of info dumping. You learn as you go, organically. I did skim paragraphs here and there that seemed to be a bit repetitive, but I was reading an ARC, so hopefully some of that got edited out.
I really enjoyed this sexy, fun, action-filled book. It’s an interesting entry on the contemp paranormal scene and I’m looking forward to reading the next, The Darkest Pleasure (HQN, 1 July 2008).
You can find Showalter’s Lords of the Underworld site here.
She has tempted many men… but never found her equal. Until now.
Though she has lived for centuries, Anya, goddess of anarchy, has never known pleasure. Until Lucien, the incarnation of death-a warrior eternally doomed to take souls to the hereafter. He draws her like no other. And Anya will risk anything to have him.
But when the merciless Lord of the Underworld is ordered by the gods to claim Anya herself, their uncontrollable attraction becomes an anguished pursuit. Now they must defeat the unconquerable forces that control them, before their thirst for one another demands a sacrifice of love beyond imagining….
Read an excerpt here (click the links below the book covers).
Other books in the series: