Ah finally. Nearly a week and a half after completing this book I’m writing its review *sighs in contentment and takes a sip of tea* You know how it is. You want to write a review, but life takes over. Work, chores, socializing…I miss my student days, when I could roll out of bed at 11am and spend a couple of hours drinking tea while scrolling through Tumblr or Cracked before heading to class. Funnily enough, FB showed me some photos from 4 years ago today, when I was in my second year of college. There I was, hair dyed blue, without a care in the world. No job, no responsibilities, no money worries…
Jazz! *gets yelled at by the book gods* This is a book review, not a chance to lament the loss of your student days! Everybody has to work at some time or other, get used to it! *sniffles* Okaaaay.
Yes! Today I’m reviewing Gena Showalter’s The Darkest Kiss, the second book in the Lords of the Underworld series. Its plot revolves around will-they-won’t-they lovebirds Lucien and Anya, characters first encountered in the previous book, The Darkest Night. I took an instant shine to Lucien when I ‘met’ him in Maddox and Ashlyn’s story. Though possessed by his own demon – quite literally – he stood as a pillar of strength for all those around him and could always be relied upon to think of solutions…even if they weren’t exactly ideal. It soon became apparent that he was a calm, rational and fair leader and these are all qualities I admire, especially in an immortal. As we all know, immortals tread a fine line and can quickly become drunk on power. Anyway, here’s a quick blurb:
Lucien, possessed by the demon of Death, is an outsider. Mortals look upon him with horror and even among his brethren, his fellow Lords of the Underworld, Lucien feels alone.
This loneliness is quickly shattered by the appearance of Anya, goddess of anarchy and chaos. Lucien’s life, once predictable and ordered, is turned upside down by the beautiful, strong and playful woman, a woman who yearns for him, scars and all.
There’s just one problem. Cronus, Almighty Asshole of Heaven (sounds like a band name), has issued a decree for Anya’s death…and it’s a decree that he demands Lucien fulfill. A seemingly harmless flirtation soon descends into a battle between life and death.
As mentioned in my review for The Darkest Night, I hadn’t expected great things from the Lords of the Underworld series. Having read a book from another of Gena’s series, a book I felt was rushed and filled with gaping plot flaws, I honestly expected The Darkest Night to be exactly the same. But hey, I’m a pessimist and what can I say? I was wrong in my assumptions. I was floored by Maddox and his irresistible charm and I’ve been equally floored by The Darkest Kiss.
Lucien shattered my heart into a thousand pieces before I’d even reached the second chapter. His tough, bad-boy facade has fooled those around him for hundreds of years…but it doesn’t fool me. Lucien is just like the rest of us. A little insecure. A little shy. The fact that he’s scarred doesn’t help matters. He perceives himself as a monster. An ugly monster unworthy of love and it’s this belief that had tears streaming down my face. The book’s opening scene finds us in a nightclub and Lucien sits alone. I’m kinda picturing this as the epic finale to Dirty Dancing. Lucien is Baby, sat alone in the corner looking wistfully on as others have fun and Anya, Johnny in this analogy, makes a dramatic entrance and approaches him, entreating him to dance with her. However, unlike Baby, Lucien initially refuses. He’s confused. He cannot understand why Anya, ethereal in her beauty, would choose him. He assumes it’s a cruel trick on her part and cannot bear the thought of humiliation. He doesn’t want people to look at them and perceive it as a pity dance. This is pretty much an accurate representation of his thought process and it’s like…my poor, sweet, gentle baby Lucien. While heartbreaking, it makes Lucien all the more relatable. Though immortal, he experiences very mortal emotions and like anyone with mortal emotions, he needs a big hug.
Let’s talk about Anya, though. Another bad-ass immortal woman, and not just any woman. A goddess! And not just any goddess. The goddess of anarchy and chaos. How awesome is that!? She smashes the stereotype of the traditional female role into a bazillion pieces, leaving havoc and mischief in her wake. It’s not all fun and games for Anya, though. She masquerades as an overly confident, flirtatious individual as a way of protecting herself. It’s a defense mechanism very similar to Lucien’s and I think this is why they’re so attracted to one another. They feel a kinship with one another; they’re both lonely individuals looking for someone to overlook – no, to embrace – their imperfections. They just want love and acceptance.
It’s an action-packed book. You’ll cry. You’ll laugh. You’ll swoon. In fact, you’ll experience every emotion possible and this is why I adore The Darkest Kiss. It’s got variety. It’s not just a boy-meets-girl kinda thing. It’s more…girl-meets-boy-and-embarks-on-a-whirlwind-romance-fraught-with-tension-and-violence-as-death-looms-over-their-heads.
Song: The Mooney Suzuki’s Alive and Amplified
The Darkest Kiss is available on Amazon in e-reader format and paperback.