ARC-review: The Darkest Passion – Gena Showalter

I received the digital ARC from the publisher through NetGalley .

New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter returns with another sizzling installment of the Lords of the Underworld series, as Aeron, keeper of the Demon of Wrath, dares to taste the forbidden . . .

For weeks, the immortal warrior Aeron has sensed an invisible female presence. An angel–a demon-assassin–has been sent to kill him. Or has she? Olivia claims she fell from the heavens, giving up immortality because she couldn’t bear to harm him. But trusting – and falling for – Olivia will endanger them all. So how has this ‘mortal’ with the huge blue eyes already unleashed Aeron’s darkest passion?

Now, with an enemy hot on his trail and his faithful demon companion determined to remove Olivia from his life, Aeron is trapped between duty and consuming desire. Worse still, a new executioner has been sent to do the job Olivia wouldn’t…

As the back cover blurb summarizes the story adequately I will not bother with a summary of my own but get right down to business.

Aeron is the Keeper of Wrath. He has no need or time for women in his life except for his adopted demon daughter Legion. His need to hurt outweighs his need to pleasure women and it takes time for females to warm up to him because they fear him. He’s a loner and distant, he loathes weaklings and is brutally direct. But he also has a good heart and goes through fire for the people he cares about. He won’t hesitate to sacrifice himself for the ones he loves. If you thought Aeron had a hard time in THE DARKEST PLEASURE or THE DARKEST WHISPER, think again. In his book it is even worse. I really felt sorry for him numerous times throughout the book.

Aeron captured my attention from the moment he stepped on the scene in THE DARKEST NIGHT (book 1 of the LOTU). With his tattoos, black wings and his thirst for vengeance he made a big impression on me and I am normally not one to fall for this type of dark, tortured heroes. As his character was explored more in the following books I just got more and more anxious for his story. Never would I have guessed his heroine was going to be a lovely angel, albeit a fallen angel.

Olivia is sweet, resilient, persistent and headstrong. If I ever met a heroine who just doesn’t give up, now matter how terrible the odds, it’s Olivia. She’s has a beguiling kind of innocence and honesty which makes her the total opposite of Aeron and therefore she’s his perfect match. Even though I really did like Olivia, I couldn’t get a complete grip on her character. To me it felt as if Gena Showalter wasn’t quite able to grasp how she wanted Olivia to be. Confident, seductive and strong or sweet, innocent and a bit insecure? This made for an Olivia who would be very powerful on one page and a bit weaker on the next.

Olivia’s attempts to catch Aeron naked were endearing and hilarious. Olivia’s bubbly nature was a perfect counterpart to Aeron’s dark and brooding character. Aeron can’t but melt a little for Olivia’s charm, despite fighting hard not to. Both Olivia and Aeron but Legion too, get themselves into some tricky situations and I was flipping through the pages like a madwoman, anxiously, to find out how they were going to get out of them.

For me the start of THE DARKEST PASSION was a bit slow because there’s a lot of back-story on the Lords in the first few chapters. I understand the need for it because it makes the overall story arc comprehensible as a stand-alone for newcomers to the series, but for followers of the series it’s a bit distracting and repetitive. However, from about page 80 I really got into it and I was treated to everything I love about Gena Showalter’s writing and this Lords of the Underworld series.

Gena Showalter’s writing is humorous, hot, action-packed and fast-paced. She’s not one of my absolute favorite authors for nothing. Despite the continuing story arc she manages to give each installment its own unique vibe. No book in this series feels the same and yet together they form a perfect continued story. I love the way she keeps expanding the LOTU world and overall story arc in this series. With every book new layers of information are added and new mind-blowing revelations are made and the DARKEST PASSION was no exception in this. There’s a lot going on. All were things that had me wondering what they all entailed and how it was going to play out in the end. And in the end I got answers but also more questions which undoubtedly will be answered in the next book or books!

Gena Showalter keeps her readers engaged throughout the book, revealing little and big things but never too much and always enough to keep you guessing and anticipating the next revelation. One of those anticipated revelations is Gideon’s story (THE DARKEST LIE). The set-up made in this book for it is simply brilliant and enticing. I can’t wait to read the whole story on Gideon’s HEA. Also, after reading THE DARKEST PASSION I am more convinced than ever that William belongs on my future favorite heroes list! The enticing, teasing treasure map tattooed on his body stuff definitely sealed the deal. Not to mention another glimpse of his character and his back-story.

The end of this book broke my heart, especially the scene where Aeron and Lysander battle it out. Can’t say more about it because it would spoil the plot and ending but suffice to say I was sobbing while reading. However, the very end (after the heartbreaking scene) also, despite the intense emotions, did seem a bit of an easy cop out. Compared to all the preliminary, brilliant set-up throughout the book it felt a bit rushed and simply resolved, but because the rest of the book was so great I am willing to let Gena Showalter get away with it.

THE DARKEST PASSION is a perfect mix of action, plot and fights to accompany the romance and humor. Deals, promises, bargains and sacrifices form the spine of this fifth book in the LOTU series. The last few chapters really packed a punch and left me craving more, much more, of the LOTU. I really NEED to know what happens next with all these surprising twists in the plot and fascinating new characters delivered by the extremely talented Gena Showalter.

Paris to Aeron:
“One day, someone is going to fascinate you, draw and ensnare you, and you’ll crave her with every cell in your body. I hope she drives you insane. I hope, for a little while at least, she denies you, leading you on a merry chase. Perhaps then you’ll understand a glimmer of my pain.”

She’d fallen to the floor, robe bunched at her waist, and her panties – shit, her panties. Too white, too pure. Made a man want to rip them apart with his teeth and dirty the wearer up a bit.

Rating: 9.0 out of 10

6 thoughts on “ARC-review: The Darkest Passion – Gena Showalter

  1. Each and every time you make me crave a LOTU novel with your reviews *looks at the four books sitting on my shelves* I love the character descriptions and the plot advancement…hhmmm perhaps this summer I need to do a Gena Showalter/Larissa Ione & Meljean Brooke month, three authors with series I really need to be starting!!

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