This was an odd little experiment, which I undertook because I'm so on the hook for Nalini Singh's Psy-Changeling novels, but then I haven't been down for much else she's written. I'm not sure what the official name for this series is -- Lords of [Something] would be my guess -- but it's four different paranormal romance novels with an overarching plot written by four different writers. I find this sort of thing fascinating -- when novel writers collaborate like television or comic writers.
The last series like this I read was the Crimson City novels. Most of them are by someone called Liz Maverick (which is surely not a pen name at all), but the second is by Marjorie M Liu. who, before she racked up all the awards for Monstress, wrote this fucking brilliantly weird PNR series called Dirk & Steele. I mean, she really moved the markers for what you can pull off in the sometimes boring vampire/werewolf snorefest you can find in the genre. Liu took the kind of premise that made me exclaim, wait, what?? like a hundred times when I was reading the first novel, Crimson City, and in her story, grounds it so completely in believable interpersonal concerns that my brain stopped screaming every 15 minutes about how nothing about the world made any sense. That's some godamn writing right there.
Singh's outing in the Lords of [Something] maybe wasn't at this level, but I actually made it all the way through to the end of the novel, which is something I cannot say about the other three books in the series. Some of this is just the silliness of the premise, because all of the books are riffs on various fairy tales. There's one based on Goldilocks and the Three Bears, for example, where our fair haired maiden finds a rock hard cock which was just right, and I just couldn't stop my brain from squealing immaturely, and then breaking into laughter.
Lord of the Abyss is very loosely based on Beauty and the Beast, and it works in the places that Singh tends to excel, and otherwise is kind of a mess. She does an excellent job writing characters out of trauma and abuse. She doesn't go for the magic vagina, the ladybits that can cure all, but constructs believable psychologies warped by neglect, and then slowly, carefully, draws them out. But the world, and the magic, is slapdash, so the parts of the plot that intersect with that are shaky at best.
So, fun to see a writer I tend to enjoy, at least in one limited context, pull off something in a shared world. Didn't captivate me like Psy-Changeling, but it was a perfectly cromulent way to pass the time.
ETA: Ok, I actually looked, and the series is called Royal House of Shadows, which seems kind of stuffy and conceited, but what do I know.