Into the Dark collects The Darkest Fire, The Amazon’s Curse, and The Darkest Prison, previously only available as ebooks. It also includes Kresley Cole interviewing Gena Showalter and other behind-the-scenes material. It’s nice to be able to get a hard copy of the novellas, and the bonus material is entertaining. If you’re unfamiliar with the Lords of the Underworld series, however, Into the Dark probably isn’t the place to start. The Darkest Fire and The Darkest Prison are side-stories that offer the flavor of the world, but not a real intro to the main characters. That could be amended by the character profiles, but those are kind of spoilery.
The Darkest Fire
The Darkest Fire is a prequel to the series, detailing the origins of Pandora’s box. Geryon made a deal with the devil. Now he’s trapped in a monstrous form, guarding the exit from the demon’s prison. Kadence is the goddess that’s supposed to keep Hell under control. Unfortunately, the demon’s are breaking free. On one hand, I liked that Geryon didn’t have to lose his hideous visage in order to win Kadence’s heart – she cared more about his personality. On the other hand, I felt like Kadence’s personality was uneven. Her journey towards becoming more assertive is part of the story, but the change felt forced.
Despite being a novella, The Darkest Fire contains a decent amount of plot in addition to the romance. It has perhaps the least happy ending to a Harlequin work that I’ve encountered, but it fits the universe. While I feel that Kadence’s characterization was somewhat uneven, I enjoyed a glimpse into what happened before the series’ backstory.
A Lords of the Underworld prequel
Geryon is the guardian of hell, more monster than man. Kadence is the goddess of Oppression, more angel than woman. Together they will enter the flames to battle a dangerous horde of demon lords — and discover a passion unlike any other . . .
The Amazon’s Curse
To be honest, I haven’t read Showalter’s Atlantis series so I skipped over this novella. Maybe I’m silly, but I like reading things in order and Showalter’s site lists The Amazon’s Curse as last in the Atlantis series reading order.
A tale of Atlantis
Zane, a fierce vampire warrior, has been enslaved by the Amazons. Nola, a lovely Amazon soldier, has been cursed with invisibility. Now, these two stubborn enemies must overcome the pasts that haunt them and embrace a love that can set them free…
The Darkest Prison
All those familiar with the Lords of the Underworld series are probably aware that the Titans overthrow the Greek gods after having been imprisoned for years. Atlas, the Titan god of Strength, is now attempting to lord it over Nike, the Greek goddess of Strength. She scarred him with her name after their disastrous affair. (He was using her . . . as well as several other women.)
I had trouble connecting to both Atlas and Nike. I understand her being upset that he cheated. I understand him being upset with her reaction and why he cheated, since no one wants to be imprisoned indefinitely. But they both felt blah to me, like they were too understandable. I wasn’t intrigued by their story.
A Lords of the Underworld Tale
Once, Atlas, the Titan god of Strength, was the Greek goddess Nike’s slave. Now, he is her master. And soon these sworn rivals destined to destroy each other will be forced to risk everything for a chance at love . . .
The Bonus Guide
I enjoyed the interview with Showalter, conducted by Kresley Cole, the most. Both are funny ladies and had a chance to show it off. I think my second favorite were the original chapters of what would become the Lords of the Underworld. They’re quite different, but I think I would’ve read that novel as well. Overall, fans will probably find this stuff fun, but it’s not essential reading.
The Bonus Guide:
Twenty(ish) Questions with Kresley Cole
Classified Files: From the Private Records of Dean Stefano
Behind the Scenes: Creating the Lords of the Underworld
At home with the Lords of the Underworld
Round table: the women of the underworld speak
Frequently asked questions
Sneak peek of The Darkest Passion
The Sacred Scrolls
Glossary of Characters and Terms
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