Review: The Darkest Kiss

Review: The Darkest Kiss by Gena Showalter

She has tempted many men. but never found her equal.

Until now.


Though she has lived for centuries, Anya, goddess of anarchy, has never known pleasure. Until Lucien, the incarnation of death - a warrior eternally doomed to take souls to the hereafter. He draws her like no other. And Anya will risk anything to have him.

But when the merciless Lord of the Underworld is ordered by the gods to claim Anya herself, their uncontrollable attraction becomes an anguished pursuit. Now they must defeat the unconquerable
forces that control them, before their thirst for one another demands a sacrifice of love beyond imagining..



Lords of the Underworld Book Two

Centuries ago, a band of warriors and guardians to the Gods attempted to teach their charges a lesson. Pandora, while a gifted warrior in her own right, was thought by the warriors to not be qualified to handle the task of guarding dimOuniak - a box made by the Goddess Oppression to contain the horrors of the world. To prove this fact and avenge their wounded egos, the warriors stole the box from Pandora and opened it, thereby unleashing it's bound demons upon the world. As punishment for their arrogance, the Gods cursed each warrior with a demon and to be forever bound to one another. Thus, the Lords of the Underworld were born.

Lucien, keeper of Death, has managed to present and maintain an image of total self control. He is a being of utter calm for if his temper were to unleash, no one would be safe from Death. As leader and former Captain of the Guard to the gods, Lucien has always felt immeasurable guilt for having not only led his fellow warriors on the hunt to steal dimOuniak, but he was also the one to open it's lid and condemn them all to an eternity bound to it's evil contents.

As keeper of Death, Lucien is bound to the task of taking souls to their respective afterlife. When Death first entered his body, Lucien killed indiscriminately for two hundred years while trying to control the compulsion. Still a bit feral but in control, Lucien met and fell in love with a mortal. He learned his lesson quickly that to deny Death would only further the pain of the one marked. Knowing that he could never survive the loss of another loved one, Lucien brutally maimed himself to drive off any potential interest from females. And for the last few millennia, the tactic worked until the day Death met Anarchy.

Anya, the minor Goddess of Anarchy, will tell anyone who's listening that there's nothing minor about her. Daughter of the Greek Goddess of Lawlessness, Anya needs disorder to appease her naturally destructive behavior and she's discovered that petty theft and white lies are fabulous ways to curb her desire for war and destruction. But Anya wouldn't mind unleashing a little hell to get a rise out of her current obsession. Lucien is a walking contradiction that Anya can't seem to get enough of. His personal code of honor and kindness run contrary to the fact that he's possessed by Death and never had Anya seen a being so intent on living. Although her obsession is scarred way past the point of ugliness, Anya can't help but find him more beautiful for his imperfections. Cloaked by her shield of invisibility, Anya stalks Lucien until she finally can't take the need to touch and be touched any longer. Risking the wrath of the gods, Anya drops her shields and attempts to seduce Lucien into a kiss.

Of all the men in the world, no one is more surprised and suspicious than Lucien when a beautiful woman comes up to him with seduction in mind. He knows that he's heinous to look upon by the fairer sex and he can only assume that the beauty dancing before him is Bait. But when he catches her scent of strawberries and cream, Lucien immediately recognizes the beauty as the presence that has been stalking his every move for weeks: Anya. Knowing that she helped him, Maddox, and Reyes escape their death-curse, Lucien had instructed that research be done on this immortal to determine her potential threat. He knows that she is the minor Goddess of Anarchy and that her mother's reputation as a whore also branded her daughter with the same label. Lucian also knows that Anya is cursed yet how has yet to be discovered. But what he doesn't know and what frankly terrifies him, is why she's undoubtedly interested in him.

Lucien's contradictory behavior rears its ugly head when Anya finally gets to taste the warrior's luscious lips. One moment they're making out and all reality ceases to exist, in the next instant he's telling his buddies that she means little if nothing to him. Yet Lucien's nonchalance where her feelings are concerned does little to snuff her burning flame of desire.

Lucien's interest, although hidden behind his stoic demeanor, has piqued immensely with Anya's unveiling. But his passion is quickly cooled when he's summoned by Cronus, King of the Titans and recent usurper of the Greek Gods. Cronus demands that Lucien take Anya's soul and deliver her body to him. If Lucien tries to deny this command, Cronus will go after the ones he loves most: The Lords.

While disappointed by the order, Lucien resolves himself quickly to the task. Flashing into the spirit world - a gift from Death - Lucien is able to track Anya's travels. As an immortal, Lucien doesn't really think anything regarding Anya's ability to flash herself around the mortal world as well as the spirit world. Finding her quickly, Lucien tells Anya of his orders and how he has come to take her life. Feeling more than betrayed, Anya wastes no time informing Lucien that she'll do her best to kill him first. Thus the two careen about the world trying to kill one another yet it's all done rather halfheartedly and it's soon discovered that neither can deliver the death blow. Lucien instead tries to deal with Cronus by discovering that what signed Anya's death warrant was her unwillingness to give Cronus the All Key. Lucien, not knowing the full import of the All Key, tells Cronus he will get the All Key from Anya in exchange for her life. Cronus agrees on the condition that if Lucien can't retrieve the key, that he's still obligated to kill Anya.

Anya, ruled not only by her curse which was delivered upon her by a jealous goddess, also can't survive wholly without the All Key. It's a part of her, a gift from her father Tartarus the God of Confinement. Anya must either willing give the All Key to another and sacrifice her memories, strength and power. Or someone would have to kill her for it and thereby rendering her murderer powerless. Both options have dire results. Anya will not give the All Key to Lucien or Cronus who desires the All Key for the power it would give him. But Anya has another plan to eradicate her death warrant. The Lords are searching for Pandora's Box in order to protect their lives for if the box is opened and the demons sucked from their hosts, the Lords will die. But to find the box, they must first find four artifacts that will lead to the box's location. The Lords aren't the only ones looking for Pandora's Box. Cronus and the Titans are as well. Anya hopes to exchange the artifacts for her life without Lucien discovering her motives for she would be betraying the Lords.

Yet the longer Anya spends time with Lucien, the more she finds herself unable to betray him. For once in her life, someone accepts her for who she is, petty thief and all. And bonus, that someone is a hot immortal warrior that speeds up her heart and melts her soul. Meanwhile, Cronus is not letting up on his demand for the key. Noticing Anya's rampant desire for Lucien, he tells her that with each day she refuses to give him the All Key, Lucien will grow weaker and weaker until death will steal him from her. Crushed by the ultimatum, Anya still can't seem to stop herself from falling in love with Lucien but she can't admit that even to herself much less voice the words. To do so would mean she would have to give the ultimate sacrifice to keep Lucien. She must sacrifice the All Key.

I really enjoyed 'The Darkest Kiss'. Cecile! Charlotte! I don't know what you girls were thinking!?! I thought Anya was a blast to read. She's silly and fun with a backbone made of absolute steel that totally contradicts her vulnerability regarding her self image. She's also a strong, kick ass warrior that doesn't back down in any fight and challenges Cronus at every turn, defying his commands and out smarting his attempts to have her killed.

Anya was a perfect match for Lucien. A man so burdened by his past and his daily compulsions to lead spirits to their respective afterworlds. Quite depressing really. His mask of calm and detachment really needed to come crumbling down and no one could have done that better than Anya. For such a stoic warrior, Lucien was passion defined. He was eternally respectful of Anya's die hard independence and adapted to her needs with a readiness that melted my heart.

Another great aspect of 'The Darkest Kiss' was that it wasn't predictable or forgettable. I really had no idea how Anya and Lucien were going to conquer all the road blocks set before them. I also love the scenes where Lucien is trying to kill Anya. It sounds horrible but really, Anya bested him at every turn and he couldn't help but admire her. Never could they have killed one another. You knew that from the very beginning. But the halfhearted attempts were engrossing with edge of your seat fun.

The only downfall to the novel, in my opinion, and I can't explain too much without giving away spoilers but suffice it to say that I wanted there to be another outcome. I wanted Anya to have her cake and eat it too. I thought she lost some of her freedom whereas before, I really loved how she and Lucien were on equal footing with regards to their strengths and powers. But I think these issues are really only MY issues. Anya couldn't have been happier with the outcome. That I don't doubt.

B+


Interested in 'The Darkest Kiss'? Click HERE for More Info!

Interested in Gena Showalter? Click HERE to Read my Review for 'The Darkest Night'.

24 comments:

Charlotte Featherstone said...

LOL!!!! You know, I think deep down I knew you'd 'get' Anya, whereas I just couldn't. Maybe it's our age difference: lol! :)
I'm not a fan of those physical 'kick ass' heroines, and her flirty sexuality bugged me. her silliness bugged me.

In all honestly, while I can joke and have a good laugh, I'm a rather intense person. I can't identify with people like Anya.

Anya, aside, I loved the book as well, and their love scenes were awesome. This is the book that made me truly fall in love with the love Lords. While I quite enjoyed Maddox's book, I didn't feel like I did at the end of Lucien's.

So, what Lords are you currently panting after?

And you have started my Reyes' book yet? GAWD I love him. I don't know why I do, because there's LOTS of heroes out there I like, but him....love him!

VampFanGirl said...

Hey Charlotte!

LOL! Yes, I started Reyes book last night but I only made through chapter one before sleep claimed me. ;)

Truth be told, I wasn't all that into Anya in the beginning b/c I did NOT like her slutty dance at the club but she redeemed herself quickly, IMO. I can totally see where her silliness may not appeal to those of a more intense nature.

OMG, Paris!! The poor guy! Talk about some intense scenes there. I was so surprised with the outcome too...

Where was Torin? He wasn't in a single scene! But I like Gideon and Amun. I'm not really feelin' Sabin but hopefully there will be more of him in 'The Darkest Pleasure' seeing as how he's next in line for his HEA.

I thought the over reaching plots have really intensified. Despite Anya, I thought this book was much darker than Maddox's. I'm attributing this to the events involving Paris/Hunters and Reyes/Aeron. Not very happy moments.

:) VFG

Charlotte Featherstone said...

I agree with the darkness aspect. I suspect that's what made me love this book! Despite not liking Anya, I still loved this book! Weird huh?

Paris...well, I liked him well enough in Maddox's book, but in Lucien's, that's where I saw depth to him and fell in love with him. I hope that you know who comes back to him! :)

Torin does feature more in Reyes book. I think you'll be surprised who he's hanging with!

Sabin. I'm with you on this. Not super feeling him, either. But that's okay. I'm sure that'll change.

I can't wait to get inside Amun's head!!!!!

Happy Reyes reading...

VampFanGirl said...

OMG, I hope you know who comes back too!!! My gut says yes... ;)

Yay! More Torin! I was really bummed when he was ONLY mentioned in passing.

I did read on Gena's blog that Sabin's story is her favorite in the series so far. So that may be a good sign that his story will rock. I'm kinda confused on his powers too. Does he just instill doubt OR does he actually voice the doubts....????

*sigh* Amun... What are you hiding?? I'm dying for that warriors book!

:) VFG

Mandi said...

*looks at this series staring at her from tbr*

The books are starting to get angry;)

I love the way you summarize books. Very well done:)

Barbara said...

GREAT REVIEW!!! Not forgettable...my kind of book! I can't wait to see how I view the heroine in this one.

I PROMISE this will be my very next Paranormal series. Oh and I also want to read Karin Tabke's series as well!!

Barbara said...

OOH OOH isn't the next book Reyes'?? <----Said with a silky purrrrrr.......

VampFanGirl said...

LOL Mandi! I hate when books get angry too. Thanks for enjoying my review.

:) VFG

Thanks Barbara! It'll definitely be interesting to read what you think of Anya. You either love her or you hate her.

Seriously, my next read (after Reyes of course) is going to be Karin Tabke's 'Skin'. That cover!! To die for!

LMAO!!! Oh yes, I currently reading Reyes. A very much taken hero too, BTW. Lot's of competion for this guy.

(((hugs))) VFG

Cecile said...

OMG!!!!!! I am soooo excited to see this post... VampFanGirl!!!! First, I am soooooooo glad that you enjoyed this book!! I would have beating my head on my desk if you did not!!!
Now with that said... I loved Anya. See, I like a kick ass chick that can rock a guy's (especially one like Lucien) world! And did she ever rock his world. I absolutely love your review. I read this series right before I started blogging... might have to take another plunge into their world... ***just talking about my boys... I am starting to sweat***
They are a perfect match - Lucien and Anya.
See, I loved Maddox's story... but this one sold me! Then when I hear Paris's name.... oh my (I can't tell you what happens lol)!!
Could you imagine lovin someone who is trying to kill you?? How is that for a relationship starter!
I know what you mean about a different ending and without giving away too much. I admire her power and strenght she carried. But like you said, she is completely happy with the outcome... and she still kicks ass!

Reyes.... *whispers softly, do not want Charlotte to hear me* is freaking smoking hot!!!!!

And yea, just wait to see who Torin is sporting around with!!!
If I am not mistaken... Sabin instill it as well as voices it in their mind... If I am wrong, please let me know.. I will have to go back and read the books!

Gena is working on Gideon's story! Can not wait to see that story... Still wishing Paris would have gotten his story by now though... **pout pout** I can give him a story... hee hee!!
Vamp, I am glad that you liked it. I was getting worried!!!
Oh... take a look at my 'Tempted' review again.. I have a comment for you!!

VampFanGirl said...

First of all, I'm sorry Cecile. I thought you had said that you didn't like Anya. Must have been someone else....

Anyway. Poor Paris! I was devastated for him. I had to read that moment twice (you know the one) because I didn't believe it the first time around.

LOL! Hell yeah! Anya still kicks ass. ;)

Oh, okay so Sabin does both. Intills doubt and the voices. So I'm guessing that this means he can also read thoughts? Or pick up on people's weaknesses? I suppose we'll learn more in his book.

Oh I know! I really like Gideon. The guy is always peevish but I love his look. The blue hair is pretty crazy.

I haven't heard yet who is after Gideon. Do you know??

Left you a comment on 'Tempted'.

(((hugs))) VFG

Cecile said...

Oh no, I didn't like Anya.. because Lucien is mine... That is why I didn't like her. But as far as the story goes... She is awesome! Hell... I might be her for Halloween!!! LOL!

Yea, Paris really gets the no luck behind door #2! He really gets the wrong end of the deal. That is why I was hoping he would speak up in Ms Gena mind and demand his own story! I love him... to never have love.

I am pretty sure Sabin does both... I went to try peek inside the books to see if I could find "that point" but I couldn't... the voices kept demanding me to re-read the books lol!!! But I think he does both. But I am not sure if he can read peoples thoughts. I think like Gideon... he imposes his thoughts in your mind. If I am not mistaken. And I can be... (that is what happens when you read to many damn paranormal books lol).

Oh, I love Gideon... he is such a trip in the books. He is so sneaky with his thoughts, but they know when it is him! And the blue hair... and I think he is pierced too!! Now, I am not for all that on a man... but some how... that fits Gideon... hummm

This is from a post at Gena's site
"now. And -- I'll be getting inside Amun's head for the first time. I'm really excited about that. I wish you guys had already read Darkest Whisper, Darkest Angel and Darkest Prison so we could discuss LOL Soon, though!"

can you say OMG!!!!!! And ps... I will read Broken next... I was thinking of taken a break and readin the Stange Angels (ARC)... it is due out in June... and I would like to read it before it hits the stand... Then i wanted to read Addicted... damn these books. They call my name when I open my closet doors!

VampFanGirl said...

Okay, okay so is 'The Darkest Angel' Aeron's story??? Which Lord is featured in 'The Darkest Prison'??? Torin? I mean the guy can't touch another human... Or is it Amun since he can't speak for all the secrets he keeps????

YAY!!! I can't wait to hear what you think about 'Broken'. I might have to schedule a re-read of that one.

LOL! I know what you mean. I have a hard time deciding what I'm going to read next too. Good Luck!

:) VFG

Lea said...

Hi VFG:

Great and thorough review as always.

I'm glad you enjoyed Lucien and Anya's story.

Um, what can I say? lololol

I'll be interested to read your thoughts with respect to the next book.

Happy Reading
L

Cecile said...

If I had to bet... which I am a gambling woman (LOL... not really)... I am thinking that The Darkest Angel.. might be Aeron's story... since he has wings... He is warth (giving him some love). The Darkest Prison... Maybe Torin. I am thinking that The Darkest Whisper maybe Amun's story. I cannot wait to get my hands on those damn books! There stories are just sooo good. I mean, their world is different, which is the one thing I like! I don't know about you... but it is cool to read about something like that!

Okay... I will be reading Broken!

Pelehini said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pelehini said...

Hey VFG, great review! I have read this so it's always great to see another's perspective. I had a hard time getting into this book-but I didn't realize that it's was book 2 at the time. I loved the side story with Paris and can't wait for his book, but it doesn't seem like it was be anytime soon according to the previous posts. I jumped to Reyes' book and liked it a lot. Can't wait to see what you think about it. I'll have to go backwards and read Maddox at some point.

:)Lisa

Skye said...

Hi VFG,

I read the first book in this series and agreed with your review that it was "enjoyable but perhaps forgettable." So I was surprised to see you're continuing with the rest. Your review and everyone's comments are making me rethink my decision about not reading the rest of series- thanks (I think), my tbr list just got longer. I keep thinking I need to take a break from everyone's (you and the usual crew of ladies) blogs so I can catch up with my reading :). (Though I'm sure I won't- I'll just view it as an exercise in will power).

Thanks so much for all the great reviews.

VampFanGirl said...

Hey, glad you enjoyed it Lea!

:) VFG

Hi Cecile!

'The Darkest Whisper' is Sabin's story, that I know for sure cause it's on Gena's website. And you're definitely thinking along the same lines as I with the others.

:) VFG

Hey Lisa!

Yeah, it does appear that 'The Darkest Kiss' is a love it or hate it novel. ;) I'm really bummed that Paris isn't next, nor will he be for a while... I started Reyes's book and so far I'm likin' it. Damn, Danika got wicked.

;) VFG

Hey Skye!

LOL! Sorry that I'm loading up your TBR pile. Mine is HUGE!

I'm definitely glad that I decided to keep going with the series. Besides, I hear so much great things about Reyes's book, so I had to keep going. And due to the fact that reading a series out of order gives me the scratch, I had to read book one and two first.

Thank you for enjoying my reviews!

:) VFG

Blodeuedd said...

So this is Lucien then...oh no, i wanna read it bad. Now..I do have a giftcard, but nope. Bad me, shall not spend money on books

Leontine said...

Hi Vampfangirl,
I look at my frickin mountainous TRP and hear Eye Of The Tiger playing in the back of my mind. I can tell ya that after reading your review I am diving in to this series soon, but soon can be in a week, in a month or become next year LOL

Anyhow, I enjoyed your review. Thanks!

VampFanGirl said...

Hey Blodeuedd! Oh yeeesss, this is Lucien. A yummy hunk of warrior love. LOL!

:) VFG

Hi Leontine!

Thanks for stopping by and enjoying my review. (((hugs))) LOL! Ahhh, the pressure to read a series. Sometimes I dread looking at my TBR and choosing a book to read. Yikes!

:) VFG

My Blog 2.0 (Dottie) said...

Hi VFG!

Wow! Excellent review!

It's another series I need to get into, you always have to most interesting books.

Dottie :)

VampFanGirl said...

Thanks Dottie!

Oh please, you have a much more daring variety of genres that you enjoy. I get the shakes if I try to venture past my confort zone.

Have a great weekend!

:) VFG

The_Book_Queen said...

Hey,
You've been nominated for the Literary Blogger Award on TBQ's Personal Book Palace! Check it out :D

Best,
TBQ

http://tbqspersonalbookpalace.blogspot.com/2009/06/i-got-award.html

 
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