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Monday, March 26, 2012

REVIEW: "The Darkest Seduction" by Gena Showalter


The Darkest Seduction by Gena Showalter
(Lords of the Underworld #9)

Paranormal Romance-Angels and Demons
Harlequin--February 28, 2012
Paperback, 504 pages 






SUMMARY

Possessed by the demon of Promiscuity, immortal warrior Paris is irresistibly seductive-but his potent allure comes at a terrible price. Every night he must bed someone new, or weaken and die. And the woman he craves above all others is the one woman he'd thought was forever beyond his reach…until now.

Newly possessed by the demon of Wrath, Sienna Blackstone is racked by a ruthless need to punish those around her. Yet in Paris's arms, the vulnerable beauty finds soul-searing passion and incredible peace. Until a blood feud between ancient enemies heats up.  Will the battle against gods, angels and creatures of the night bind them eternally-or tear them apart?



MY THOUGHTS

WARNING:  THIS REVIEW MAY HAVE SPOILERS FOR THE FIRST EIGHT BOOKS IN THE LORDS OF THE UNDERWORLD SERIES!!

Finally!!  After years of waiting, we are finally given the conclusion to Paris and Sienna's tragic, and complicated love story!  And it was everything I could have hoped for and more!  There was so much going on in this book, but none of it overshadowed the main couple which is exactly how I like my paranormal romance.

Paris's character has gone through many changes over the course of the series.  Readers have seen him as a sexy playboy to tender lover to depressed, suicidal warrior.  It was nice to see him shake off the issues that have plagued him in the recent installments and become determined to achieve a goal.  Ever since he learned of Sienna's imprisonment, he has been obsessed with rescuing her.  He uses his seductive skills to gain information about Cronus's whereabouts and, in this book, is finally ready to get Sienna out.  I loved seeing Paris throw off his moping and self-pity and become the hero that I knew he could be.  He is a strong, intelligent warrior who does everything in his power to help those he cares about without expecting anything in return. There is a definite sense of self-hatred that goes along with his curse which gives his character sympathy and vulnerability.

Sienna is a difficult heroine to like, at first.  Her role in the earlier books is hard to forgive especially after seeing the way her "death" affected Paris.  I was not sure if I would be able to see them as a couple with a potential HEA, but thankfully I was wrong.  Sienna is strong-willed and is socially aware enough to understand where she went wrong with her involvement with the Hunters.  I think her past was a great way for Showalter to portray how the Hunters use humans' weaknesses to recruit them toward their mission.  I also admired her determination to deal with the fact that she has been possessed with the demon Wrath.  She is finally able to understand what Paris and the other Lords deal with on a daily basis which changes her entire outlook.

Paris and Sienna have a lot to overcome before receiving their happily-ever-after.  I enjoyed watching them interact with each other and figure out what each of them wants from their relationship.  The last time they saw each other was fairly traumatic so there were some issues to work out.  I won't go much further into their love story to avoid spoilers, but I will say that, by the end, I firmly believed their romance would work out and that they deserved each other.

Because this is part of the Lords of the Underworld series, there are many subplots which will have some effect on the ultimate future of the characters.  Some of my personal favorite side stories in this installment were the introduction of more possessed immortals, the eerie, but intriguing romance between Galen and Legion, and the birth of Ashlyn and Maddox's twins.  Readers also get to spend more time with the always hilarious yet tortured William-the-Ever-Randy and the dark and dangerous angel Zacharel.  I know that Showalter is writing a spin-off with Zacharel and his fellow warrior angels and I thought this book provided a great introduction to him without taking away from the overall storyline.

Because this is a Showalter book, there is plenty of heart-stopping action and sexual tension.  I particularly enjoyed the scenes that involved Paris's journey into Cronus's castle.  I also liked that the overarching conflict between Cronus, Rhea, the Hunters, and the Lords reached a surprising point.  I was not expecting that particular event to happen, but I am interested to see where Showalter takes the series from here.

Rating: 4.5 Stars


SERIES INFORMATION

I highly recommend that this series be read in order.  Showalter does a decent job of providing backstory in each book, but I feel like readers could become easily confused if they just jumped in the middle.

Lords of the Underworld
0.5. The Darkest Fire (Geryon/Kadence) [prequel-novella]
1. The Darkest Night (Maddox/Ashlyn)
2. The Darkest Kiss (Lucien/Anya)
3. The Darkest Pleasure (Reyes/Danika)
3.5. The Darkest Prison (Atlas/Nike) [novella]
4. The Darkest Whisper (Sabin/Gwen)
4.5 The Darkest Angel (Lysander/Bianka) [novella]
5. The Darkest Passion (Aeron/Olivia)
6. The Darkest Lie (Gideon/Scarlet)
7. The Darkest Secret (Amun/Haidee)
8. The Darkest Surrender (Strider/Kaia)
9. The Darkest Seduction (Paris/Sienna)

Angels of the Dark (spinoff)
1. Wicked Nights (Zacharel/Annabelle)

BOOK CHALLENGE ENTRY



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