Release Date: June 26, 2012
Angels of the Dark #1
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Format(s): Paperback (416 pgs), e-book
Book Source: Publisher
Leader of the most powerful army in the heavens, Zacharel has been deemed too dangerous, too ruthless, and if he isn’t careful, he’ll lose his wings. But this warrior with a heart of ice will not be deterred… until a vulnerable human tempts him with a carnal pleasure he’s never before known.
Accused of a crime she did not commit, Annabelle Miller has spent four years in an institution for the criminally insane. Demons track her every move, and their king will stop at nothing to have her. Zacharel is her only hope for survival, but is the brutal angel with a touch as hot as hell her salvation—or her ultimate d***ation?
Wicked Nights is the first book in Ms. Showalter’s new Angels of the Dark series – a spin off from her wickedly delightful Lords of the Underworld series. The new series follows a group of desperate and dangerous angels, each whose status with the heavenly plane is in serious jeopardy. This “Army of Disgrace” is lead by Zacharel – a cold and unfeeling warrior angel we met in the LotU books. Due to his lack of compassion for life, Zacharel has displeased his Deity and has been assigned to lead this band of misfits – sharing their fate as his own. A true “all for one and one for all” situation.
Wicked Nights opens with sweet Annabelle waking from a wonderful dream on her eighteenth birthday, only to feel her eyes burning (and changing color) and witness her parents’ murder by a demon. She spends four years locked away, being horribly mistreated by both the demon and human population.
Zacharel’s army is charged with ridding the institution where Annabelle is locked up of the demons trying to break in. Curious to understand why the demons are there, he follows one to Annabelle. We learn that Annabelle is a high demon lord’s consort, and soon Zacharel cannot stop himself from wanting to help her.
This book throws the reader right into the thick of things. The opening chapters are raw and not for the light-hearted. When it appears Zacharel leaves Annabelle to be abused by her human doctors, I thought I couldn’t take any more. But Zach comes through and my heart was safe. Note: Annabelle’s torture and molestation are written non-graphically, yet it is far more painful to imagine than reading specific details.
Although Annabelle has been through hell and back, she is tough and will not rest until she kills the demon who caused her so much grief. She seems to still see the good in the world, and although she needs things to move at a slow pace, she continually moves forward with her feelings for Zacharel. And Zach – he is so clueless when it comes to emotions, especially human ones. He realizes he desires Annabelle, but doesn’t know how to address his feelings. When the pair share their first kiss it was full of such joy and then such sadness. It started so delightfully-sending butterflies to my belly. But then Zacharel didn’t understand how to deal with the overwhelming sensations, and he went too far. My heart broke. Luckily, the pair recognize their true feelings, and soon they continue to explore things each thought that they’d never experience. I felt their romance was sweet – not tainted by previous relationships, and although their world was in constant danger, they found time to just be.
There are several minor characters that make up Zacharel’s team. Ms. Showalter does a superb job introducing each and giving us just enough information to pique interest. We know enough about them to get a feel of how they will react within the storyline, but we are left with questions about their personal history. The characters are complex, each with issues that caused them to be on this “Army of Disgrace,” and I for one am looking forward to finding out more.
I really enjoyed Wicked Nights both in plot development and character creation. The world building was done at the perfect pace-giving the reader lots of information, but not cramming it into tight spaces. Whether or not the fact that I have read all of the LotU books leading up to this story helped me jump into the this world so easily, I cannot say. However, the development of characters and world was smooth.
And for fans of LotU, we do get glimpses of some of the boys and their mates. The characters didn’t overrun the story nor were they awkwardly placed. Their appearances served the storyline, and the world created in this book is still all its own. One does not need to have read LotU to enjoy this book.
For fans of Meljean Brook’s Guardian series, I think you will enjoy as well. I was constantly reminded of her amazing world while reading Wicked Nights. Not because they are identical (their mythologies are very different), but because both series have well-developed, exciting and interesting angel-demon storylines.
Overall I really enjoyed this book. Meeting the “team” and learning just enough about each to keep me interested and wanting to know more was definitely a highlight. I loved Zacharel’s transformation as he went from cold, heartless warrior to a man capable of love and able to see goodness in and learn to respect others.
All-in-all a fantastic start to a “newish” series that can be enjoyed by new Gena Showalter fans and longtime readers alike. The pace flows well, the action intense. The overall story arc is appealing, and I am looking forward to more.
Enjoyed – strongly recommend (A-)