Hey everyone, the next chapter of DD is taken sometime to get written mostly because of my writer’s block and my struggles to get motivated to write it. So, I thought I’d keep myself, the blog and the readership going by putting up a book review. (I was going to do this anyway, but the second DD chapter was meant to come first, but anyways.) So I’ve literal just finished reading and thought I’d get start straight away whilst its’ still all in my head. So here we go!
The Darkest Passion is book five in Gena Showalter’s supernatural romance series Lords of the Underworld. Now, like my last book review, I’ll have to do some backtracking but that shouldn’t take long and anyway there’s a lot of similarities between the LOTU and BDB books. I got into both series through my best friend and though I do prefer the BDB books, I get the same level of enjoyment out of the LOTU. They say book covers play a massive part in getting people to buy the book and LOTU have some very attractive covers! Topless men-very hot looking men-posing around showing off their butterfly tattoos with a range of colourful backgrounds. It makes it hard to pick a favourite….No, I’m not going to say!
The first book is The Darkest Night in which we are introduced to the Lords and learn some of their history. Now like with BDB- and no I’m not going to stop comparing them!- the books can be read as stand alone because Showalter has this great habit of filling the reader in with what has happened before. This can get annoying in series books, especially when the writer knows that the reader will have read the first one, but these supernatural romance books are designed so that they can easily be read by anyone. Of course like BDB the second plot is very liner and you do need to read the books to full understand this, but if you are only interested in love and sex, then I guess that’s not important.
Okay, so love and sex do interest me, but that’s not 100% why I read this genre. I like the second plot and I get very drawn to the characters. I also get caught up in the whole mystery of how the main characters will get together, how they’ll get over the first bumps in their relationship and how it all turns out. I also like the writing style of this genre and I’m finding that it mostly stays the same, no matter the writer-granted some are better written-I like the fast pace, the tension created between the lovers and their current situation relating to the second plot. I love the action scenes of fights and arguments and plans going well or wrong. I like the slowing down of the love scenes too, though these can be just as fast, but most times the books do get the balance right and its not all fast tense action.
The structure of the books is just the same as BDB. Each book tells the story of one Lord and how he finds his soul mate. The second plot story tells of the Lords’ war against their enemies the Hunters. Unlike the Lessers in BDB though, the Hunters are all human and they are against the Lords because they believe that the demons are to blame for all the worlds’ problems. This we learn is only true in parts though. The third plot is the Lords’ search for Pandora’s box and four artefacts that will led them to it. This ties in with the war because the Hunters are also searching for the items to lock the demons back up again. The fourth plot is very in the background because it has to do with the focus switching to other characters and the current events in their lives. Mostly these plot lines are not important and are just led in to other books or hints at information that will be made clearer later. The books are told in the 3rd person point of view. The focus does stay on the main Lord and his lover, but it switches to other Lords, important Hunter characters and other characters who pop up. However, this switching doesn’t affect the main plot and most of the information we learn from the other characters is important and gives the reader some time away from the lovers. We also have the thoughts of the demons and conversations between them and the Lords. This works well and gives more depth to the novels, it also shows how much the demons effect the Lords and that they play a major part in their lives.
The Lords then? I’ll try and not give spoils to the books, but here’s the basic background. The story takes the Greek tale of Pandora and the box. Everyone knows this tale and its’ been retold in so many different ways and mediums. Showalter has a few twists to her retelling and we learn these across the series. The Greek Gods created a band of warriors-called Lords-to defend them. They created the box and put all the world’s evils inside it. Pandora was chosen to look after it. When the box was opened and all the evils escaped, the other Lords were responsible for opening the box and killing Pandora-because they were jealous she had been chosen over all of them- were punished by having a evil- which is called a demon in the series-placed inside of them. They were then cast out of Heaven on to Earth, where they’re demons took over and for years they destroyed anything. They do manage to find a level of control and can now balance their demon sides. Now the demons are really interesting and there’s so many of them! Here’s a few of them; Death, Violence, Wrath, Defeat, Lies, Doubt, Pain, Misery and Disease. They do as their name says and feed off it too, they become really unhappy if that can’t happen and are effected by the opposite talking place. Like Lies can’t tell the truth and for him to do so would equal in a lot pain happening to his body. Lots going on there then. A group of the Lords live in Budapest in a massive hidden house. However, they do go outside and when they are seen people believe them to be angels etc and are in awe of them.
That’s understandable from Showalter’s descriptions of her Lords. They all have this perfect man image to them, but because they are immortal that’s like times by ten. Of course this plays up to woman readers male fantasies, but that’s completely expected in this genre. To be honest if this was a group of ugly men it just wouldn’t work! So, Showalter creates these dream hunks and then gives them all a dark background, which they have to deal with and of course they all come to terms with their pasts in some way. All of these pasts link to the actions of their demons and the opening of the box. They regret the problems they have caused for humans, but there’s nothing they can do. They now try to behave though and only punish those who deserve it.
The women characters in this series work on the same level as they did in BDB. The women are strong-sometimes even stronger then the men!-fast thinking, know what they want and how to get it. There’s no damsels in distress here! We get to see their soft sides from the males’ pov though and this does work, because it reminds the readers of the difference between the sexes and also because Showalter still needs to show these characters as being women. They are really strong heroines though and this is reflected in their thoughts and actions away from the males. Most of these women are not normal humans, (in BDB we had a mix of human, vampire, half-vampire and ghost), whilst some of them are humans they have supernatural powers that they only become full aware of and can name when they meet their lovers. Others though are minor goddess, harpies, angels, female Lords and possible others -I’ve not read the rest of the books, only up the 6th now-. Having them all different works to a good story telling advantage as more back stories, settings, tension and mystery can be created.
The hunter characters are made out to be the opposite of the Lords. Which is a strange thing to realise, because you’d think that having a demon inside of you would make you evil and so the Hunters should be the good guys because they want to stop the evil, but no. The demons are portrayed in a different light, okay this doesn’t make them good as such, but it shows that they are different now and being controlled. The demons can’t be blamed for all the worlds’ evils as was once believed. Thus the Hunters are shown to be the evil ones because they want to unleash the demons back on the world-granted they understand that they need to put them into the box because that’s the only way humans can be safe again-but sometimes they are so determined to kill they forget. The hunters basically want someone else to blame for their problems and they pick on the Lords. The other characters in this are either Gods, angels, demons from hell and background humans. I really like the way that Showalter has done the Gods and Goddess. Her research into the Greeks come out here and there’s a realistic sense with these characters. These characters do play important parts across the books….but that would be spoilers! The other characters do work well and we get to see development across the board with everyone. Which works, because you can’t have a mix of 3D and 2/1D characters.
So what is book five, The Darkest Passion about? The main story is about Aeron, the keeper of the demon of Wrath and his relationship with Olivia a fallen angel Wrath likes to punish and kill people who’ve committed sins and Olivia being an angel is completely pure and so he is attracted to her. However, Olivia recently became a warrior angel was meant to kill Aeron as punishment for taking a small demon, Legion, out of hell. (Back story to this was that Aeron was asked to kill four woman, one of whom turned out to be something very special. He refused and ended up going crazy with killing lust. His friends decided to lock him up close to Hell to keep him safe- you know because that’s what you have to do when this kind of stuff happens! Trapped there, a demon hears him and comes to keep him company. When the killing lust fades, Aeron returns with the demon). But Olivia is in love with Aeron and can’t do it, so she is kicked out of Heaven and becomes fallen.
Aeron takes care of her though he is determined to get rid of her, because though he has feelings for her, he knows it can never be. Olivia wants him desperately and tried a number of things to get him to let her stay. Her angel mentor comes to them both at different times. He tells Aeron not to soil Olivia but to show her his world, so that she’d want to come back to Heaven. He then gives Olivia a few days to have her fun and then she must return to Heaven and kill Aeron. Of course they fall in love, though it is a very rocky road. Legion becomes really jealous because she wants Aeron too, but he sees her as a daughter, so she sets out to change that. Also she can’t be around when the angel is and that bugs her. When Legion returns, Aeron finds himself stuck in a dilemma and has to choice between her and Olivia to save his friends and his life. Of course, things don’t go to plan and in the end Aeron comes to see his only way out which is in the hands of Olivia’s mentor. And of course whilst this is going on the Lords are fighting the Hunters, looking for the third artefact and living their own lives.
About halfway through the book, when I knew I was going to be writing about it, I got my critical brain thinking about a number of things. Most of it was the literature stuff, but one side of it was actually about how readers could relate to the themes and plot. I thought it’d be interesting to write about the other side of this genre because it can sometimes be over looked. The themes of the novel are; romance, relationships, friendships, sacrifice, good vs evil, war, mythology and supernatural. I’m going to just look at the romance because otherwise we could be here forever! So, of course readers can connect with romance. There’ll prop ally only be a handful of people reading this books who’ve not experienced it all, but properly have done on some level, but everyone should be aware of the basics of it. Readers can understand the struggle to find love and also the rejection feelings of not finding it. Aeron has given up completely on it, yeah he’s had girlfriends but things haven’t worked out and he’d rather just be with his friends not have to face all those relationship issues. Something everyone can relate to there. Olivia on the other hand has only been able to witness love and now she’s fallen is very interested to experience it. The start of their relationship isn’t filled with going on dates and getting to know each other. It seems that none of the other relationships have this start to them either. I can understand why Showalter did this though. For the cogs to work in the plot, the lovers must have instant attraction and feelings for each other. So, the building blocks of their relationship, comes from some small talk and some sex. But imagine if the Lords did take their girlfriends on dates…..wonder what that would be like…..Trying to avoid the normality of dates here!
Readers can relate to this because the lovers have that whole does s/he actually like me? etc stuff and everyone has experience of that. Also something else I forgot to say before and I noticed in my BDB review too, I forgot the sex. Granted, I still have Fifty Shades of Grey lingering in my head…God is that ever going to leave? I think my soul is tinted now… and that’s why I’ve been half avoiding/forgetting to write about that. Let’s just say that the sex scenes are much better and yeah they might take place between supernatural beings, but they do it a hell of a lot better and feels a lot more realistic too! Maybe it works because its not porn? Anyways, the readers can also relate to that. Now it was actually the part about sacrificing (I don’t mean killing something to a God here! I mean giving something up for someone else.) that got me wanting to write all of this, because it plays a key part in the novel and in a way it plays key parts in all relationships. Both Aeron and Olivia want to sacrifice things to allow the other one to be happy even if this means that their relationship ends and they never see each other again. It really does seem throughout the book that this is what they both want. But then we learn that Aeron is like that anyways and always puts his friends before himself and he’s very happy to sacrifice things for them. Olivia only ever witnessing from Heaven, knows this and that’s part of the reason why she fell in love with him and we see her given up things to allow Aeron to carry on living and be happy. In relation to real relationships, sometimes this sacrificing of things can be forgotten or left out. Other times, it becomes so strong it can break a relationship or else make it last longer. I guess we do this in friendships too sometimes.
In my new relationship, I’ve not had to sacrifice anything as of yet, but in my last I had to sacrifice a part of myself. Sometimes reading romance novels and deep thinking can make these thoughts appear. But yeah, I just wanted to bring that up and show that it does cover all aspects of relationships and there is some depth to the novels. Now, there are nine books in the series and then some more that link in to it which are about other characters. Dark Beginnings is like this and contains three short stories about the begins of relationships of characters which are already set up in the series. You don’t need to really read these though to understand the series as a whole…reading them in the right order helps that!
So do Aeron and Olivia get together at the end? Well…you’ll just have to read and find out!