The Darkest Torment by Gena Showalter
My rating: 1 of 5 stars
Baden, former Keeper of Distrust, has something new living inside him, something darker than any mere demon. Bound to the King of the Underworld, he struggles to fit into his new role of assassin, however his biggest challenge comes in the form of Katarina - a dog trainer that happens to be the wife of a very troublesome man.
(WARNING: This review contains spoilers.)
Let me start by saying that this instalment's number twelve in an ongoing series (Lords of the Underworld), and at the beginning - it's been seven years since I picked up the first book - I absolutely adored Showalter's steamy and mythological world. My very first reviews are of this series, where I found the characters, the stories, and the sexual heat all new and captivating. I even gave five star ratings to a couple, The Darkest Pleasure and The Darkest Passion. I had nothing but praise.
That time has unfortunately passed.
Whilst these books will always have a place in my heart, and I'll probably, against my better judgement, continue on until they come to a final conclusion, I'm truthful to myself in that I'm not enjoying them as I once did. At this point I'm just regurgitating my complaints, and it feels more like a chore to get down my thoughts. I'll however try and be coherent about my reasoning - why do I now largely dislike what was once beloved?
- The characters tend to fuse together, becoming indistinguishable. They're too similar, often having the same mental outlook, the same behaviour and even the same dialogue. Say a bunch of them were in the same scene and it wasn't directly stated who was speaking, well, I honestly wouldn't be able to tell them apart.
- The sex has become stale and it fails to thrill me anymore. What was once downright dirty has turned tame. I don't need an excuse to prefer the eroticism that once dominated the romance.
- Plot inconsistencies are plentiful. I'm not even going to go into detail, but it's clear that Showalter made a decision to change already established storylines. Baden's past in particular completely confused me.
- The writing's declined on a monumental level. Full sentences are a thing of the past. Example:
Heart pounding, she jerked her hands away from him. “Sex...from me?”
“Yesss.” A hiss. “Only from you.”
Only. Amazing how one little word could send pleasure soaring through her, warming her. “You told me never to touch you.” Which she’d just done, she realized. My bad.
Which brings me to the dynamic of Baden and Katarina, and how she ultimately considered him an animal in need of training. When someone doesn't even think of their significant other as an actual person, then there's undoubtedly something wrong with the relationship. I liked the hellhounds, though, but that's the only thing, and it's not enough to justify a higher rating.
As for the whole William and Gillian debacle - I just didn't care.
In conclusion: I initially rated this two stars, however I believe one to be more appropriate in regards to how I feel. I'm not into this series anymore, but I feel an obligation to trudge onward. If only I could walk away.
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