Series & Title: Lords of the Underworld, Book 12: The Darkest Torment
Author: Gena Showalter
Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Release Date: June 1, 2016
Genre: Paranormal, Romance
ARC Received From: Harlequin HQN via NetGalley
Reviewed For: TLC Book Tours
New York Times bestselling author Gena Showalter returns with her most explosive Lords of the Underworld tale to date, about a fierce warrior on the brink of sanity who will stop at nothing to claim the exquisite human with the power to soothe the beast inside him…
Driven to his death by the demon of Distrust, Baden spent centuries in purgatory. Now he's back, but at what cost? Bound to the king of the underworld, an even darker force, he's unable to withstand the touch of another…and he's quickly devolving into a heartless assassin with an uncontrollable temper. Things only get worse when a mission goes awry and he finds himself saddled with a bride—just not his own.
Famed dog trainer Katarina Joelle is forced to marry a monster to protect her loved ones. When she's taken hostage by the ruthless, beautiful Baden immediately after the ceremony, she's plunged into a war between two evils—with a protector more dangerous than the monsters he hunts. They are meant to be enemies, but neither can resist the passion burning between them…and all too soon the biggest threat is to her heart.
But as Baden slips deeper into the abyss, she'll have to teach him to love…or lose him forever.
I had a difficult time with this story. I wish I could blame it on not reading the other ten books before this one (there are eleven but I read Book 1) but I can't.
The connection between Baden and Katarina was hard to feel. Mainly because, well, it wasn't there. Not for me at least. The attraction felt minimal, barely existing beyond the physical. Physical attraction is good but I wanted more. The longer I read the harder it was to believe their relationship had moved from lust to love. Maybe that growth is there and I'm just not catching it. Maybe?
Katarina kind of grated my nerves too. Baden was worthy of so much more in a mate, a lover, a friend. She just wasn't it for me. He is a strong male who is, unsurprisingly, demanding and sometimes unyielding, but he has heart and loyalty when and where it counts. He needed a woman at his side who understood and appreciated those qualities. Katarina approached him more like one of the dogs she trained except...slightly worse? I don't know. At times it felt like she was condescending toward Baden. Sarcasm is sarcasm. Not everyone appreciates or understands a dry or biting sense of humor. This wasn't that. Not to me.
The highlight of this story is actually one of the other characters. This is when reading the other books probably would've helped. There's an intense story going on in the background involving Gillian that, I hope, will receive it's own book.
I think I'm in the minority about this book. Maybe if I read the Book 2 through 11 my opinion of it might be different. I'm not sure. The lack of spark in the romance between Baden and Katarina coupled with how my annoyance with Katarina grew as the story went on makes me hesitant to pick up those other books or recommend this book.
Gena Showalter is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of over thirty books in paranormal and contemporary romances, as well as young adult novels. Her series include White Rabbit Chronicles, Angels of the Dark, Otherworld Assassins, Lords of the Underworld, Alien Huntress and Intertwined.
Her novels have appeared in Cosmopolitan Magazine, and Seventeen Magazine, and have been translated all over the world. The critics have called her books "sizzling page-turners" and "utterly spellbinding stories", while Showalter herself has been called “a star on the rise”.