The Darkest Secret by Gena Showalter: Review

Darkest Secret

http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/9394010-the-darkest-secret

http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/48192.Gena_Showalter

Synopsis from Goodreads: In this sexy new installment of Showalter’s bestselling Lords of the Underworld series, the haunted Amun meets a woman who tempts him like no other…
Keeper of the demon of Secrets, Amun can manipulate the darkest thoughts of anyone nearby. But when the immortal warrior is chained and isolated to protect those he loves, death is his only hope of release—until he meets Haidee, a fellow prisoner whose beauty and hidden vulnerability draw him into a reckless test of his loyalty.
Haidee is a demon-assassin, raised to despise Amun’s kind. Yet how can she hate the man whose touch sets her aflame? But to save him, she must give herself body and soul…and face the wrath of a powerful adversary sworn to destroy her.

Source: Purchase

My Rating: 4/5 stars

My Review: The Darkest Secret is Gena Showalter’s latest edition in the on-going Lords of the Underworld series.  I love this series, have read most of it at least twice and until now there has not been a single book in this series that I haven’t liked.  Until now, I said.  To be fair, I didn’t totally dislike The Darkest Secret but it left me feeling a little meh at the end.  Let me tell you why this feeling sucks so hard: because this is the story of the dark and beautiful keeper of Secrets, Amun.   I so wanted to feel warm and fuzzy at the end of this book and for Amun, the most caring of all the Lords to find peace.  What I got was just meh.

Amun’s story begins with him having just returned from a trip to Hell, his body is overrun by a bajillion demons, he has not spoken to anyone in a few millennia, and he finds himself inexplicably drawn to Haidee, the woman who took the head of his brother-in-arms, Baden.  This butt-load of baggage should have exploded all over the pages and instead it just sort of trickled out and oozed all over the pages.  Don’t get me wrong the trickling and oozing was interesting but not what I have come to expect from this author and from this series.

Amun and Haidee’s story plays out as I expected it too with no real surprises along the way.  The two are transported to Hell in order to find a way to remove the bajillion demons from Amun before they claim his sanity and his life.  The tension between Amun and Haidee is palpable; they hate one another yet at the same time both desperately want to shag one another.  The most interesting part of this journey is how Showalter brings these two sworn enemies together.  Of course this struggle leads to some fabulous and frequent naughty bits J  Remember, this love-to-last-the ages is developing in and around these two finding clever and creative ways to overcome the incredibly creepy, sinister, evil, and sometimes slithery obstacles before them in Hell.  Hell, we’ve been there and done that!

OK, OK!  I’ll stop with the ranting and the negativity but only because I feel absolutely compelled to tell you about The Darkest Secret’s sub-plot.  Now this little bit of drama has me fired up and ready to send Showalter a nice long email that ends with “TYPE FASTER!!”  In general, the full cast and crew of the Lords of the Underworld series appear in each and every edition of this series but in this instance Showalter broke with tradition and focused most of our attention (easily ¼ of the novel) on Strider, the keeper of Defeat.  Grrrrr, hello, Strider!  Don’t misunderstand: Showalter did not write two totally separate stories in one novel.  In fact, she made Strider an important part of Amun’s story while at the same time laid the ground work for Strider’s story.  Based on the information that is tantalizingly (and tauntingly) dangled in front of us in The Darkest Secret, Strider’s story has the potential to be one of the best books in this entire series!!

The Bottom Line: yeah, I was a bit disappointed in Amun’s story.  Since his introduction, Amun has always been one of the most fascinating characters for me and I somehow wanted more for him than what he got.  On the flip side, there was the Strider part of the story that has left me a bit desperate for the release of the next book.  The combination of disappointment and shear excitement sort of cancelled out each other and left me feeling well, a little ambivalent.  Write faster, Gena Showalter, I need some more Strider in my life.

The Darkest Surrender (Strider’s story) is scheduled for release September 27, 2011.  I have already marked my calendar.

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