Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Gena Showalter - The Darkest Promise

Possessed by the demon of Misery, Cameo isn't allowed to experience joy. If she dares, her memory is wiped clean. With no other recourse, she sneaks into a land more fantastical than any fairy tale, determined to find the one man with the key to her redemption.
Lazarus the Cruel and Unusual rules his kingdom with a single unwavering focus: to build his army and annihilate his enemies. Nothing distracts him - until Cameo. He is relentless in his quest to make her smile and seduce her into his bed.
As dark forces conspire against them, threatening to destroy the fragile bond they've forged, the once-calm Lazarus grows crazed. Every heart-stopping kiss and wicked touch causes Cameo to teeter on the brink of happiness. But if she falls, she risks forgetting him forever.

Comment: This is installment #13 in the Lords of the Underworld series by author Gena Showalter. This book has been published last year but only now I'm getting to it as I've waited for the paperback edition.
A repetitive rant now: I feel happy authors who have established careers/work/followers are given a recognition prize by having their books be published in hardcovers but from a pretty much anal retentive person's POV, to not have the sequence of books in the same format can be truly annoying! So, I wait for the format I want but that means longer periods between books. In stand alone stories or faithful authors who only have one or two series or who can deliver on time, fine. But Gena has several series so it can be too distracting to keep up with things and waiting just makes it all sem to lose a bit of investment interest.

Anyway, this is Cameo's story, one of the central characters we've met since book#1. She has her story start a few books ago, with hints here and there but in this book she was decided to not let her demon misery make her forget the happy moments in her life. To do this she pursues Lazarus, a man that has made her want to change her path in life. 
However, Lazarus suffers from a genetic condition that when the males in his family find their intended or mate, they turn into crystal, trapped and basically that is their downfall. Lazarus knows Cameo is his intended but he can't stop being with her and trying to use the time he eventually realizes is already limited with her. Will they find common ground and be happy?

Overall, this was a story that included the majority of what one would expect from the series and the situations often seen in this world created by the author, lots of adventures, crazy scenarios and HEAs done in sometimes difficult to imagine situations. From the POV that this is a paranormal story where things follow a certain set of rules, I think it was another successful book.
The main issue I had though, was due to the fact the plot was repetitive and too slow. If one analyzes things were pretty much all the same and nothing really happened to move the plot along.

Cameo and Lazarus have met, interacted in previous books. This has set up their story and a reader can gain a lot from having read the other installments. On one hand, this can be positive because the actions of this book aren't as "insta" flavored and we understand some complexity in their choices. On the other hand, this means the romance feels rather split, as if these are different episodes and we aren't tracking the same things from one point to the other. I tend to like scenes with more characters than just the protagonists in romances but in this book this aspect made me lose interest in cameo and Lazarus (again because their relationship didn't felt vital now).

This author is also one of those that presents multi POVs as well and I like that in general, like in Lucien's book the scenes from Paris' POV which led to my favorite part of the whole series so far. But now... I feel the characters aren't being developed as well, emotionally. Everyone is this and that but with lack of layers and personality. Even Urban and Ever, the children of Maddox and Ashlyn (couple from book#1) are portrayed as crazy and having personalities of grown-ups with all the sarcasm and irony and behavior, almost not caring about anyone else. It just feels silly and instead or enriching the novel, by providing contrast, they are just two more characters that need to prove their hidden goodness. They are little children! Oh well.

I think there's a decrease of balance in the stories. They now seem to focus more on incidents, of never ending situations, unsolved quests that lead nowhere and the characterization is losing its complexity. I want the feel and the tone of the first 5 or 6 books back. After that, even the ones I liked no longer offered the same complexity, which I felt was a great detail. Let's see how the next books are but I foresee much waiting time...
Grade: 6/10

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