I have no doubt that Lords of the Underworld fans are going to love this one. It's got all the things that make a great Gena Showalter book: hot sexual tension, humor, great world-building, a strong heroine, and an alpha hero undone by his first feelings of love. --Oh, and did I mention the hero is a virgin? Mmm.
We first met Zacharel in The Darkest Secret
, an angel sent to deal with Amun when he came back from Hell, dripping with demons. He's gorgeous and powerful, but seemingly void of emotions. The only person he has ever cared about was his twin brother, Hadreniel. The brother who begged for death after being tortured by demons. The brother he killed to end his suffering.
Zacharel's lack of feelings and general disinterest in humanity have him in trouble with his Deity. Too many times, Zacharel has considered a human to be collateral damage in his fight against demons. As punishment, he must lead a band of problematic angels on the cusp of losing their wings. He is responsible for their actions and together, they will either all be redeemed or they will all fall.
A demon killing mission leads Zacharel to the institute for the criminally insane where Annabelle is being held. She was accused of killing her parents years ago. But it was really a demon attack --and she has been plagued by monsters ever since. No one else can see or hear them, though, and that only makes her look crazier.
When Zacharel and Annabelle meet, he is instantly drawn to her. She is a fascinating contradiction. Strong yet vulnerable. Naive and jaded. In many ways, her spirit reminds him of the brother he lost so long ago. He ends up rescuing her from captivity and decides to help her figure out why she is a demon target and, later, to track down the monster that ruined her life.
There were so many things I liked about this book. I loved watching Zacharel's transformation. The way he discovers emotion and desire. I liked that it wasn't an easy path and that he makes mistakes. I loved, loved, loved the secondary characters in his band of angel warriors. Koldo's story is next, but I already have a favorite and I will be waiting with baited breath for Xerxes' book.
The events of Amun's book and The Darkest Seduction
are referenced here and we do get appearances from a handful of the Lords and their mates. That was great for me, but I'm not sure how it would play for a new reader.
The sex is hot, but I felt like we had to wait a long time for it. I think I would have liked a little more payoff on Zacharel losing his virginity. My only other complaint was that I figured out the villain reveal very, very early on in the story. Maybe I've read too many Showalter books because I saw it coming a mile away. But I liked how it all worked out in the end. It was very sexy and satisfying. Definitely worth reading!
Rating: B+*ARC provided by Little Bird Publicity for review