The Darkest Torment by Gena Showalter
Published by Harlequin on May 31, 2016
I counted and The Darkest Torment is the 38th book I own by Gena Showalter. So I may have a small problem, but I think admitting it is the first step.
I have Everlife and then all of her Angels of the Dark, Otherworld Assassins, Alien Huntress (adult and YA), Intertwined,Tales of An Extraordinary Girl, Atlantis, and of course Lords of the Underworldbooks. I even had an in-depth conversation with one of the Harlequin staffers at BEA on how I needed to get this book so that my life was fulfilled. That conversation morphed into how romance is in every type of book in some way so LotU can really inspire. With that kindof build up, of course I had to read it as soon as it came out. Who needs sleep when your Kindle is set to download right around midnight? I basically stayed up till dawn reading this one and am happy I did. While normally a 500+ page book is not a one sitting read, I made this into one. I suffered the next day but am not sad about it one bit. The Darkest Torment had everything that makes Showalter such an impressive writer; action, romance, the people around you that make up your family and an intrinsic force that just pulls a reader in and does not let go until the final page.
At first I was bummed as this was not William’s book. Those who read the series will probably agree (just check out the Goodreads for this and see the outcry of despair that this was not his book) and I was grudgingly okay with reading about Baden. Baden is the former host of the demon Distrust and he has just now been yanked out of purgatory after centuries alone. He is now attached to Hades and is at his bidding, a situation Baden is less than thrilled with. Then an assignment for the underworld puts him in the path of Katrina, a women beaten down by family obligations and married to her enemy. Baden grabs Katrina to use her as a pawn, but fate is a cruel mistress and he soon finds that he needs her in more ways than one.
“There are three ways to look at the glass. Half empty, half full, and why are you eyeing my glass, bitch?” —Gwendolyn the Timid, Harpy from Clan Skyhawk
The plot of The Darkest Torment is standard LotU. Host of evil demon/powers struggles against them, finds a mate that is not wanted, fighting, sex, some more fighting, realization of that love and then lots of build up for the next story. Now this may seem standard and even a bit repetitive and boring, but that is where Gena Showalter comes in. Her writing makes each of these tales distinct and gripping. Even though I know the basic framework, each character is unique and they way they reach their HEA is special to them. The action is fast and nothing lags in her stories. The world building is not vital to these tales, as at number 12 the world is set. There is a wide array of emotions in each of her books and this was no exception. I found my self tearing up, angry and excited, and sometimes all in the same chapter. The characters are like old friends at this point and I love that I learn a bit more about each one with each book. Baden was a happy surprise as he has been mentioned in the earlier books, but you never really got to know him and he really was the perfect tormented by his past leading man. I was not a huge fan of Katrina in the beginning. A dog trainer who prized her pooches above almost everything else, she was a bit flat to me. However as the story progressed she really grew on me. She was smart and sassy and just wanted to be free to be herself for the first time in her life.
“The definition of marriage? When a woman adopts an overgrown man-child who cannot be handled by his parents any longer.” —Olivia, fallen Sent One
The Darkest Torment was a needed addition to the LotU series. It was a great bridge to the next set of stories (seriously, William’s cannot come soon enough!) and I am very intrigued to see where the series is going to go next. Gena Showalter has a way of writing that just makes me happy and I am glad she continues this series. I think there are certain authors that just fit us as readers. Everyone has them, the people they turn to when they just need a good read. Showalter is that for me, and I glad I discovered her as she is happiness to me in book form.
Favorite lines – True power was friendship—strength in numbers. True power was love—a willingness to sacrifice for others. Love often ran red. True power was hope for a better tomorrow—which he no longer had. True power didn’t have to spring from violence, he realized. It could be as gentle as a woman’s touch.