Friday, January 23, 2015

The Darkest Night by Gena Showalter

The Darkest Night (Lords of the Underworld Series #1)  One of the things I love most about Goodreads is discovering books I would have never otherwise known existed.  It is how I found Gena Showalter's Lords of the Underworld series, a paranormal romance series involving immortals and the women they fall in love with. 

The central concept of the series revolves around Pandora's box.  Back in the day there were immortal warriors whose job was to protect and serve the Greek gods (why gods would need protecting and what from I'm not sure).  One day the gods charged Pandora with the responsibility of guarding a box of demons.  The other warriors, all except one being men, were offended that the gods chose a woman to guard the box and not one of them.  The one female warrior was pissed she wasn't the woman that had been chosen.  So the jealous warriors decided to steal Pandora's box and thereby prove Pandora was not the best person for the job of box guarder.  Something went wrong, the box was opened and the demons escaped.  The demons were eventually captured but the box was lost, so to contain them the gods forced each of the warriors to carry a demon inside him or her.  As I understand it, each book in the series focuses on one of the warriors.  The Darkest Night is Maddox's story.  He contains the demon of violence.

Ashlyn Darrow hears voices.  In any space she's in she can hear all the past conversations that took place in that spot.  She reminded me a bit of Sookie from the True Blood/Southern Vampire series.  Ashlyn doesn't know who or what the warriors are at first but has heard that they might be angels and hopes they can help her get rid of the voices in her head.  On her way to the fortress in Budapest where the warriors live, Ashlyn runs into Maddox who is in the process of trying to battle the hunters whose life mission is to kill the warriors, thereby ridding the world of demons and evil.  Like Sookie, Ashlyn is pleasantly surprised find a place where she can't hear voices because it turns out that when she's around Maddox all the voices disappear. This is a romance so not surprisingly Ashlyn and Maddox are instantly attracted to one another, like two seconds after they meet they're dreaming of ripping each other's clothes off.  The ways they explore that attraction are described in the book multiple times. 

I signed up for yet another reading challenge, Book Riot's Read Harder Challenge, and one of the categories is guilty pleasure.  The Darkest Night definitely qualifies.  It is hot and steamy, but also the kind of story where a part of me couldn't help but wonder what the hell was wrong with these people.  I mean, as the keeper of violence, Maddox constantly battles not to hurt everyone, and I mean everyone, near him.  With Ashlyn he turns into a caveman, referring to her as "mine" or "my woman," as if she were a toy he picked up at the store.  Early in the relationship he tells her that she can never again leave the fortress.  She protests but then forgets about it when he starts kissing her.  It is kind of romantic, I guess, but also disturbing. Ultimately The Darkest Night is a dark fairytale with a super happy ending in which true love saves all and even ends curses.  Definitely a pleasure to read, but also kind of crazy.  As crazy as it is, I will probably read every book in the series.

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