Okay, before I begin this review there’s something you need to know. While looking at The Darkest Pleasure on Amazon, I stumbled across what I’m 98% certain is a manga adaptation! Like, what!? It looks so cheesy and 80s and I really, really need to get my hands on a copy! And it’s not just The Darkest Pleasure. It seems the entire series is there. Not sure if this is official, though? Just checked Gena’s site and there doesn’t seem to be any mention of these editions?
Anyway, The Darkest Pleasure. Reyes and Danika’s story, a story I’ve been desperate to hear since embarking upon the epic journey that the Lords of the Underworld series has been so far.
Possessed by the Demon of Pain, pleasure for Reyes comes in the form of a blade to the throat. Or a dive off the balcony. Take your pick, you get the idea. Life with his demon is akin to being cursed. He shuns those who get too close, fearful of his demon’s influence and has learnt to sate him alone. Alone and thirsty for pain, Reyes doesn’t think his situation can be more dire. Until Danika Ford enters his life. Reyes soon finds himself desiring that which he cannot have…
Danika Ford is on the run. Separated from her family when things don’t go quite to plan in Budapest (understatement of the millennia), Danika’s spent months eluding the Lords of the Underworld. Despite the threat to her and family, she finds herself dreaming of one Lord in particular. Reyes.
Sweet mother of the gods. This book! This freaking book! This. Book. Is. Amazing!
Oh Jazz, I hear you sigh, you say that about every LotU book you review. I admit it. I totally do and do you know why? Because the series is just getting better with each and every book (if that’s even possible). The world in which this series is set is so intricate and believable and its populated with an abundance of incredibly well-rounded characters. Opening one of the books is pretty much the same as being grabbed by the collar and hauled through an inter-dimensional portal. Gena’s writing simply transports me. I see the characters. I laugh with them. I cry with them (the scene where Ashlyn releases Maddox from his death curse? C’mon, throw me that tissue box!). I fight alongside them. Dammit. I want to be part of this fictional, ever growing motley crue living in a fortress in Budapest *sighs and looks out the window at the darkened, crime-ridden streets of Sheffield*
Reyes was a bit of an enigma in the first two books. He kind of just skulked around, cutting himself and hissing if anyone mentioned Danika. The Darkest Pleasure allows us the opportunity to become well acquainted with him, though. Very well acquainted. Not gonna reveal any spoilers but I will give you these clues. Bathroom. Danika in the doorway. Anyone who’s read the book will know which scene I’m referring to. It’s an awkward scene but it allows us, the readers, to experience the heart-wrenching reality of Reyes life. We see how inextricably bound pleasure and pain are for him and it betters our understanding of why he so desperately tries to distance himself from Danika. Also, he’s so cute. He calls Danika ‘angel’ (why does no one have cute pet names for me? My latest nickname is Jizzmin. Not cute at all.) and he says things like “You’re so beautiful” and is instantly like…
Now. Danika. My oh my. What a woman! Like Anya, she’s pretty badass. After a disastrous vacation in Budapest, Danika decides it high time she attends some self-defense lessons and they really pay off. She has no qualms about throwing a good right hook when threatened. Or a well-aimed pencil at the jugular. Furthermore, once she realizes what it is that she wants, she doesn’t just back away. Oh no. She’s very vocal when it comes to Reyes and her wants and it’s like, damn, you go, girl! It’s a confidence lacking in so many paranormal romance leading ladies.
I also want to talk about Cronus, Titan/King of Gods. The more books I read, the more I’m convinced he’s a bit of an ol’ softie. He demands these horrendous acts be carried out but as soon as someone mentions ‘love’ he seems to crumble with a dismissive “Oh go on then, I’ll let you guys off this time.” He might not actively like or approve of the Lords of the Underworld but he sure as hell likes to lend a helping hand in their troubled love lives. What a babe.
Song: Crashdiet’s Beautiful Pain
This book is available on Amazon in both e-reader format and paperback.