May 15, 2008
This book was released on May 1st and I reviewed it for REALMS ON OUR BOOKSHELVES

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An immortal warrior cursed to die every night, only to awaken the next morning knowing he has to die again. A mortal woman with a power beyond imagining...

All her life, Ashlyn Darrow has been tormented by voices from the past. To end the nightmare, she has come to Budapest seeking help from men rumored to have supernatural abilities, not knowing she’ll be swept into the arms of Maddox, their most dangerous member – a man trapped in a hell of his own.

Neither can resist the instant hunger that calms their torments. . .and ignites an irresistible passion. But every heated touch and burning kiss will edge them closer to destruction—and a soul-shattering test of love...

The first thing I experienced after finishing this book was the inability to form coherent thoughts in order to review what I'd just read. I was prepared to be amazed by Showalter again, as she's done with all her books and series, but amazed doesn't even begin to cover it.
If you're looking to escape into a delectable world of demon-possessed warriors, hunters and gods out to destroy them and the strong, lovely women who can control them, you have to add this first book of the Lords of the Underworld to your MUST-read pile immediately.

Thousands of years ago a number of guards of the King of Gods decided to take matters into their own hands and released the demons in Pandora's box out of spite and jealousy. The gods punished them by bonding each one of these immortal warriors to one of the demons from the box. Maddox houses the demon Violence and since he was the one to kill Pandora, he is cursed to die every night in the same way Pandora died and come alive again in the morning. Since Maddox knows he'll die every night, he fights a continuing battle to control the demon inside him who is bent on destruction. Then he stumbles on a human woman, that's stronger than Violence and helps him control the demon: Ashlyn Darrow.
She is a para-audiologist, who feels she is cursed, since she has the ability to hear all conversations ever held in a location: past, present and in all languages. In Ashlyn's search to get rid of the maddening voices, she finds the Lords of the Underworld and the one person that can silence the voices with his mere presence, the immortal warrior Maddox.

The first meeting between Ashlyn and Maddox left me mesmerized and set the tone for the rest of their thrilling journey of love, belonging and companionship. This journey ended in a beautiful, heartbreaking grand finale that had me in tears. Maddox' agony is heart wrenching. Yet he has compassion and he struggles to control the violent demon inside him.
There's a contradiction in Ashlyn, she is special because of her ability but she craves normality. She is brave and courageous but at the same time insecure. This insecurity lessens because of Maddox' feelings towards her. She has a wry sense of humor she uses to keep her sanity, both with the voices she hears and in dealing with Maddox and the other Lords. They are both lonely; Maddox because of the possession and Ashlyn because of her ability. Also, they both crave what everyone does: love, acceptance, and belonging.

When I read Gena Showalter was coming out with a new paranormal series I wasn't sure what to expect. There are so many paranormal series on brotherhoods of warriors out there and we've also read so much about the gods, cursed warriors and the battle between good and evil. But this all couldn't have prepared me for what Showalter dishes out in this first book of the series. She has taken a known myth and the familiar concept of a brotherhood of warriors and created an opening salvo of a series that left me wondering what the heck just hit me...I should have known she would give these familiar and known concepts her own unique twist, combining the things I like about her books so much: an accessible writing style, an action-filled and unpredictable plot and characters' emotions that take you on a rollercoaster ride all the way to the last page. Events and twists in the plots are fast-paced. Just when you think you've grasped the direction everything is going in it shifts and leaves you wondering what's next. You're not given a chance to sit back and breath. Every time you think you can, the next turn in the plot takes you to the edge of your seat. I was thrown into a maelstrom of events and emotions that kept me glued to the pages, feeling bereft in the end because it had come to an end and I really needed more.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: Showalter’s writing style is so fluent, action-filled, vivid and imaginative it's like watching the events on a screen. With The Darkest Night it wasn't any different. In the fighting scenes I could see the blood flying from the pages and in the love scenes I could see the sparks sizzle between Ashlyn and Maddox. The fighting scenes (as in the Alien Huntress series) once again are exquisitely depicted and the love scenes are elemental, raw, explosive and sensual. Both Maddox and Ashlyn exude a need for each other that is so intense, it borders desperation.

The concept of the Lords of the Underworld is intriguing to say the least. They are created out of punishment, doomed to be possessed by an evil demon from Pandora's box. As if that isn't enough, they are cursed with a contradictory way to relieve themselves of the torment of what housing their demons causes them. If you thought you knew cursed and tormented heroes before, think again because their suffering is nothing compared to what Maddox went through in this book or what the other Lords will have to face in future books.
This first book is just the beginning and the foundations for future books are laid in the secondary characters and their interactions.
The cast of secondary characters is very, very promising. I was captivated by all of them and they were complementary to Maddox and Ashlyn's story throughout the book, occasionally allowing us a peak at things to come. I can't wait for the stories of the other Lords of the Underworld. I loved the Lords! Their camaraderie is strong despite their torment and the curses they have to live with. The term split personality takes on a whole new meaning in this series. I was fascinated by each one of them and of course I have already picked my favorite Lords: Reyes, Aeron and Paris.

Just when I thought Showalter couldn't throw any more surprises at me, she did. And not only surprised me, but captivated, enthralled and enticed me with a book that had it all! Prepare yourself to be swept off your feet by strong, intense, compelling characters; a mythical, thrilling, action-filled plot with unexpected twists and turns; heartfelt romance and scorching passion.

Maddox: "You are mine, woman, and I am yours. Until you, my life was desolate. I existed but I didn't truly live. Now I live, even in my death."

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39, married to my real life romance hero, addicted to TV shows, reading romance novels and Twitter. I'm a chronic (e)book hoarder and my absolute favorite genres within romance fiction are contemporary romance and romantic suspense, but I don't shy away from historical, paranormal or erotic romance either. Even the occasional (urban) fantasy romance, futuristic and sci fi romance may make it to my Mount TBR. This is my corner of the world wide web where I let you know what books I'm hoarding, reading and reviewing.
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Pearl has read 10 books toward her goal of 50 books.

On My TBR Shelf

  • Unforgivable - Laura Griffin
  • Snapped - Laura Griffin
  • Darkness at Dawn - Elizabeth Jennings
  • Sizzle and Burn - Alexis Grant
  • No Mercy - Lori Armstrong
  • Animal Magnetism - Jill Shalvis
  • Crazy for Love - Victoria Dahl
  • Kink - Saskia Walker/Sasha White
  • So Sensitive - Anne Rainey
  • Dark Taste of Rapture - Gena Showalter
  • The Darkest Secret - Gena Showalter
  • Vampire in Atlantis - Alyssa Day
  • Vampire Dragon - Annette Blair
  • Captive Spirit - Anna Windsor
  • Chosen by Blood - Virna DePaul
  • Rebel - Zoe Archer
  • Stranger - Zoe Archer
  • A Taste of Desire - Beverley Kendall
  • Mistress by Midnight - Maggie Robinson
  • To Desire a Devil - Elizabeth Hoyt
  • To Tame a Dangerous Lord - Nicole Jordan

Digital TBR Next

  • Driven - Jayne Rylon (reread)
  • Shifting Gears - Jayne Rylon
  • Beg Me - Shiloh Walker
  • Tempt Me - Shiloh Walker
  • Jazz Baby - Lorelie Brown
  • Playboy Prankster - Pamela Britton
  • Just Like That - Erin Nicholas
  • Sweet Inspiration - Penny Watson
  • Breathe - Donna Alward
  • My Gigolo - Molly Burkhart
  • Scent of Persuason - Nikki Duncan

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