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Review: The Darkest Secret

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The Darkest Secret
Author: Gena Showalter
Release Date: March 29, 2011
Publisher: HQN Books
Lords of the Underworld #7
ISBN: #978-0373335491
Genre: paranormal romance
Format(s): paperback (416 pgs), e-book
I purchased a copy of this book for my own reading pleasure.
 

From the author’s website:

      Keeper of the demon of Secrets, Amun can manipulate the darkest thoughts of anyone nearby. But when new demons possess him, the immortal warrior must be chained and isolated to protect those he loves. Death is his only hope of release—until he meets Haidee, a fellow prisoner whose beauty and hidden vulnerability draw him into a reckless test of his loyalty…. 
      Haidee is an infamous demon assassin, raised to despise Amun’s kind. Yet how can she hate the man whose touch sets her aflame? But to save him, she must give herself body and soul…and face the wrath of a powerful adversary sworn to destroy her.

What I’m talking about:

      Well, I have been living in a hole for the past several months AND I have been avoiding snippets and reviews of The Darkest Secret, so I was FLOORED when I found out that Amun’s mate is Haidee – I thought for sure she was Strider’s girl after the conclusion of the sixth LotU book, The Darkest Lie. Okay… so if you haven’t read the series, that means nothing to you, but I had to get that out there! (For a brief tutorial on this series, please see THIS POST I wrote last year.)
      The Darkest Secret opens shortly after (a few weeks?) the conclusion of The Darkest Lie, with the Keeper of Defeat, Strider, bringing home his “prize,” Hunter Haidee – the same woman that decapitated the Lords’ friend and fellow demon, Baden. When Strider returns to the stronghold, he is shocked to find his home overrun with Angels and that his friend, Amun, Keeper of Secrets, has been possessed by numerous minion demons while on a recent trip to hell (again, see the previous book). Amun is so far gone, that he  is hurting himself and contaminates the space around him with an evil presence.
      While Amun is trapped by the demons in his own mind, he senses a sweetness that calms him – Haidee. He knows all about her (his demon, Secrets, uncovers the truth) and mentally calls out to her. Once they are together, the demons retreat far into Amun so the person can resurface and Amun is lucid. In order for Amun to stay this way, he must purge the demons with Haidee’s help – on a trip through Hell.
      The story focuses on Amun and Haidee, learning about one another and growing closer as they journey through Hell. They both are immediately drawn to one another and don’t shut out the possibility of a relationship – although each does try to “protect” the other by staying away (Amun more so than Haidee). I liked that the two are connected from past events, which caused Haidee to dream of Amun for years. This gave her the confidence needed to be with him, even though they are long-time enemies. Their passion does sizzle (much more than the last story’s couple!) and the smex is pretty smokin’ at times.
      Although this story belongs to Amun and Haidee, fellow Lord, Strider has a pivotal role as well (and his book, The Darkest Surrender, is coming next). He is inhabited by the demon Defeat and doesn’t like that Haidee prefers Amun. We see a lot of the story from his point-of-view, and we also get to know his future mate. I enjoyed Strider’s pieces of the story almost more so than Amun’s. He experiences strong, conflicting emotions which add a lot of depth to the story.
      Overall this is another good edition to one of my favorite series. It is definitely a step up from The Darkest Lie (which in retrospect, I should have rated a 3), but still doesn’t have the same gripping action and emotional impact as the first 5 books. I felt the opening sequence in which we learn about Haidee’s past was very confusing (it is a memory within a memory within a memory kind of thing). I wish we learned more about the “Bad Man” from her past and felt the mystery antagonist didn’t live up to expectations. In addition, I wanted to find out more about what happened to Legion and other characters from the previous book. I also felt that the explanation for Haidee’s “condition” was a bit strange and how she “comes back” was overly simple for such a complicated situation.
      However, even with these concerns, I still enjoyed the story and felt Amun and Haidee are a good pairing. Gena did a great job recalling events from earlier stories without a boring recount. The banter between Strider and Torin which acts as a “summary of events” for the reader is one of my favorite scenes in the book. I do feel that someone new to the series could pick this book up and enjoy it. But the series is so much more than this one book, and I HIGHLY recommend starting at the beginning! It is a must-read for all LotU fans!
My Rating: 
Liked it a lot – recommend (B+)

  • Great review. Sometimes I look back at books read previously and think I could have rated differently. Sounds like you enjoyed this even with a few problems. It happens in long series I think.

  • I am in the middle of Amun’s book not far in it so I can’t make an opinion of it yet.

  • Yeah, the firts 2 chapters were very confusing, and I was always hoping that the next chapter was about the vacay trip. That’s not good, right? The end had a nice twist but it happened too fast, maybe if we saw it from Haidee’s POV… I don’t know.
    I think Strider is going to bring the old awesomeness back…

  • I’m reading, or rather listening to, the second book atm: Lucian’s story. It’s quite an intriguing world. 🙂

  • I think that the Strider thing is what I missed when I read these out of order. I am back to reading them in order so I wonder if I will like it just as much after I get to it in the normal rotation.

  • Pingback: Review: The Darkest Craving by Gena Showalter | That's What I'm Talking About...()

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