The Darkest Seduction
Release Date: Feb. 28, 2012
Lords of the Underworld #9
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Format(s): Paperback (512 pgs), e-book
Book Source: Publisher
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 head is still spinning after reading this 500 plus page story. I, like many, have been waiting for Paris’s story for a very long time. We met his “HEA” back in the second Lords of the Underworld book, The Darkest Kiss. That was a long time ago and poor Paris has been to hell and back – searching for Sienna’s spirit, giving into and battling his ambrosia addition, fighting and killing anyone (especially Hunters) that got in his way. We’ve had book after book of the degradation of Paris, and now it’s finally his time.
The book picks up where The Darkest Surrender
ends. Things have been building to this point, and I do not recommend newcomers to the series start here. There are a lot of plot points that come together. Paris is still hot on the trail of tracking down human spirit-turned keeper of the High Demon Lord, Wrath. She is a former Hunter and current prisoner of the Titan god king, Cronus. She is also the one woman that Paris’s demon, Promiscuity, was able to “get it up for” more than once. He is obsessed and this has lead to his near destruction.
The first half or so of this book is dedicated to detail and background – fitting the pieces in place for the rest of the tale. Paris isn’t quite the same ruined man he has been of late. He’s kicked his ambrosia addiction, and although he is still killing and is violent, he’s focused on finding Sienna. His friends still support him which indicates he hasn’t gone too far into the deep end.
Sienna seems like a lost child. She still seems so innocent. But she’ll put her own life on the line to protect those she cares about. She is trapped and nearly broken by Cronus, but when Paris arrives, her internal drive kicks into high gear. I really like Sienna.
The primary bad guys in this book are Cronus and Rhea, and they are … interesting. Cronus is an ass of the nth degree. Rhea is equally evil. The scene in which Cronus kills someone Sienna loves is just wicked. They make for excellent villains, however Cronus begins to degrade over the course of the book, leaving him less sharp and witty. But in the end, long time readers are rewarded with a satisfactory conclusion to the current story-arc.
Did I mention that there is a lot going on in this book, other than Paris/Sienna and the battle with Cronus and Rhea? There are a few side stories, that in my opinion could have been cut to shorten the length of the book. This is my biggest issue with The Darkest Seduction — there is just too much going on.
Some side stories were fun, like new Lord Keeper/goddess, Viola and her pink-haired fallen angel suitor. She had her place in the story, so I didn’t mind the additional characters, although the battles between Paris and Pinky weren’t all that necessary. But others, like the three mysterious Lord Keepers trapped with Sienna – really could have been cut and have them introduced in a later book.
We do get more about Kane, who was left in the Underworld in the last book. I’m not really sure what is up with Kane. He seems to be the only Lord who is actively tormented by his own demon. There is no self-preservation for Disaster (his Lord). It was hinted at in previous books that Kane may bring about the end of the world, but I’m not sure how I feel about mixing up his storyline into this book – it was too little and too vague – and in the end, unnecessary for this story to be told.
We also had more about Legion, the demon minion-turned-human. She has a connection to our other bad guy – Galen (Keeper of Hope and ??). Again, things were tossed about and hinted at, but it was too much for this story. It may have been better to pick only a couple of the side stories and bulked them up than trying to tell the reader a little about everyone.
Finally, the warrior angel Zacharel plays a bigger part in this story than he has in the past. He is yet another elusive character. We really don’t know much about him, and it started to drive me a bit crazy. He and Paris would go head-to-head and I just didn’t feel the reasons behind the conflict. It was only after I finished reading the book did I find out that Ms. Showalter has a spinoff series planned for the warrior angel. I’m not a fan of introducing a character just to spin him off to another series (JR Ward… grrrrr), but in this case, it didn’t bother me quite as much.
The Darkest Seduction is a romance, and the love story at the heart of this book was perfect for me. Paris and Sienna are a quintessential match. Even the angels, who sought to keep them apart, agree that Paris and Sienna complement each other perfectly. I adore the time that they take to become friends and learn about each other. And the smex (per usual Showalter fashion) is smokin’!
Finally, Ms. Showalter adds everything into this story that makes the LotU series one of my favorites. The humor is fantastic – even when things are down, the band of brothers and their mates are cracking jokes. The less obvious wit and the blatant jokes are equally welcome. There is plenty of intense action, which is violent at times. The camaraderie of the Lords is deeper than ever. They are connected in ways that run deeper than blood, so even if one makes a mistake, they are right there to help each other out. And to top it off, there are deeply touching and emotional moments and events, reminiscent of the first few books in the series. The nuggets are there – you just have to wade through the excess to find them. And when you reach page 396, please enjoy Paris and Strider as much as I did (yes, it is what you think!)
In the end, yes, there were things that bugged me about this book. I have listed a few, and there were others. BUT the overall storyline and romance at the center of the book far outweigh my nit-picking criticisms. The current story arc ends, and we are left with a few surprising twists that change up the game and pave the way for more LotU books and the spinoff Angels of the Dark series. I enjoyed the ride with all the bumps and detours, and look forward to continuing the journey!
Enjoyed – strongly recommend (A-)
(for readers of the LotU series)