Thank the stars this book was not totally terrible. After reading the prequel, I didn't know what to expect and I was pleasantly surprised at what I discovered. It's almost as if it was written by a completely different person and I say almost only because every now and then a paragraph would come up that was reminiscent of the prequel. I did find the prequel enlightening/useful during some parts of this book, it's a pity the author didn't spend more time polishing it up. Anywho, on with the review!
This review has content that could be considered spoiler-ish. Sorry, I tried to keep most important things under wraps.
The story started out with me going, "Okay, I know I've read this somewhere before." The female lead, Ashlyn, hears voices. The guy she falls in love with at first sight (yes, it's one of those) magically silences those voices. Ashlyn belongs to an "organisation" that tracks down and creates records of paranormal individuals/artifacts. So, as you might have guessed, at this point I'm picturing a cross between Sookie (from the Southern Vampire Mysteries) and Jesse (from the Vampire Chronicles). So, as far as this character goes, she didn't win any points in the unique department but at least she didn't lose any points for being annoying.
The other characters are slightly better in being unique but border on the annoying. These guys are the reason humans suffer but don't want their demons getting put back in Pandora's Box because they don't want to die (even after living thousands of years cursed). Perhaps they each harbour the demon Pride although no such demon was ever mentioned in this book. What brought them down was that their uniqueness was heavy handed, so far as to make them almost cartoon like.
The male lead, Maddox, shares his body with the demon Violence. The two combined make for some hilarious scenes of Maddox trying to resist the demon and the demon chanting KILL! KILL! KILL! until he inevitably goes on a rampage. This back and forth was amusing and I was laughing so much but wondering at the same time, should I be laughing at this?
The world building was a little lacklustre, the back story and how each of the warriors were connected to each other somewhat more interesting. The writing wasn't fantastic, but it kept my attention and urge to find out what would happen next. This does not mean that it was compelling enough to read straight through, it took me about a week to complete. The wording used (heady this and heady that, needy, MINE) and character action (lip chewing, blood blistering, muscle griping bone) was sometimes repetitive.
The romance parts were what you'd expect from an instant, love at first sight, story. The sexy times were okay but a little over-the-top and eye-roll worthy. For example, the first sex scene is in a bathroom and Maddox is directing her to remove her clothes, saying please and somehow that makes him even more irresistible. For me it made him sound dorky. The entire scene seemed abnormal even under the already super abnormal conditions (knowing each other for only a few hours). Then the virgin card had to be played and I wanted to chuck my Kindle across the room. **I originally rated this a 3 but then I remembered the severe eye roll when the virginity card was played a second time... minus half a star~***
Their relationship bordered on creepy at times, unbelievable (especially the dialogue) and also repetitive. Both main characters are just constantly thinking about screwing each other. Maddox was funny in his line of thinking at least. "I want to make love to her... I want to have sex with her... I want to fuck her... violently!" I was kind of disturbed at how the violent side of this character didn't offend me as much as it probably should have. It did tone down over time and when it would resurface it just seemed so bizarre that I had to laugh. On a somewhat related note, I don't think I'll ever get used to reading dialogue as characters are having sex, it's so distracting.
My grade on the romance, C+ and that is pretty good considering I still haven't warmed to this genre. The plot is deserving of a C- as it came about almost as an afterthought towards the end. The ending was alright, it could have been better without the spoiling that came a few chapters before. I think most romance lovers will be pleased with the ending, anyway.
I still have to read through another one of these, the actual book club pick, which focuses on the warrior that shares his body with Death. I'm hoping there will be improvements and maybe that book might earn itself 3 solid stars. We'll see.
One more thing, the cast of characters is quite large and I was interested enough to do a little research to find which books match the demons. Here's the list for anyone interested (I might even read book #5 because Wrath was one of the more interesting side-characters):
Maddox - Violence - The Darkest Night (Book #1)
Lucien - Death - The Darkest Kiss (Book #2)
Reyes - Pain - The Darkest Pleasure (Book #3)
Sabin - Doubt - The Darkest Whisper (Book #4)
Aeron - Wrath - The Darkest Passion (Book #5)
Gideon - Lies - The Darkest Lie (Book #6)
Amun - Secrets - The Darkest Secret (Book #7)
Strider - Defeat - The Darkest Surrender (Book #8)
Paris - Promiscuity - The Darkest Seduction (Book #9)
Kane - Disaster - The Darkest Craving (Book #10)
Torin - Disease - The Darkest Touch (Book #11) lmfao... good luck, Torin!
Cameo - Misery - Saving the best for last? Misery was the only female warrior mentioned.