Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Darkest Kiss by Gena Showalter

The Darkest Kiss (Lords of the Underworld Series #2)  The Darkest Kiss is the second installment in Gena Showalter's Lords of the Underworld series.  With this series it helps to know the background against which each books is set.  The backstory of this series centers on twelve immortal warriors who were jealous of Pandora and her box.  The warriors attacked Pandora and in the battle that followed Pandora was killed and the demons were freed. The demons were eventually recaptured but the box was lost so the twelve immortal warriors were each forced to carry a demon inside them.

For the most part the immortal warriors try not to interact with humans too much, well except for Paris but his is a special case.  Nevertheless, there exists a group of humans, called hunters, whose life mission is to hunt down and end the immortal warriors.  The hunters believe that if they can kill the immortals and the demons then it will be heaven on earth, literally. 

In addition to protecting themselves from the hunters, the immortal warriors must also protect themselves from the Greek gods and the Titans.  It was the Greek gods who forced the warriors to carry the demons in punishment for killing Pandora and freeing the demons.  The Greeks had also captured and imprisoned the Titans, but the Titans broke free and in return, imprisoned the Greek gods.  The Titans want to prevent the Greek gods from ever regaining power and believe Pandora box, which is missing but is rumored to still exist, can help them.  Both the hunters and the immortal warriors want the box as well. 

Notwithstanding all of the above, the Lords of the Underworld is a paranormal romance series.  So although there are battles and treasure hunts, there is even more in the way of romance and romps between the sheets.  Each book tells one of the immortal warrior’s story and how each of these warriors comes to fall in love with a woman.  The Darkest Kiss is Lucien’s story.  Lucien holds the demon of death which requires him to escort souls to their final destination.  (Interesting side note, in this universe there are multiple people who have the job of escorting souls; Lucien is but one of them.)  The woman Lucien eventually falls in love with is Anya, goddess of anarchy.

Lucien and Anya are drawn to each other the second they meet, for reasons that are never totally clear.   Anya, in fact, followed Lucien for days before finally approaching him.  For his part Lucien, whose face and body are heavily scarred, can hardly believe a woman like Anya could be attracted him.  Though attracted to Lucien, Anya also distrusts him.  The first two-thirds of the book is mostly the two of them bantering and bickering in between bouts with hunters and Titans.  I didn’t find Anya to be the most likeable character (she steals a friend’s treasured object and then has the nerve to get angry when he turns on her later), however, I did appreciate her strong sense of independence and her strength.  Anya is definitely not the type of woman to sit around moping about her lot in life or to wait around for someone else to rescue to her.  Lucien is the leader of the warriors and for good reason.  Despite his demon he has managed more than the others to keep his demon under control and he spends a lot of time thinking about how best to protect his immortal brothers.  It was fun to watch Lucien’s control melt in the presence of Anya.  Their chemistry sizzled on the page.  Of course by the end they were devoted to each other and read for the next battle, be it with hunters or the Titans.

This is a fun series.  Up next: the story of Reyes, keeper of the demon of pain, and Danika.

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