The Darkest Promise by Gena Showalter – Full Review

Disclaimer: This is a very long post. It contains SPOILERS, I literally give everything away, so don’t read if you haven’t read the book yet. I do talk a lot about some topics more than others, and went off a little bit, sorry. I tried to separate my points into different sections so you can read which one you prefer.  Most Important Warning: I do talk about rape, if this could be a trigger for you anyway please skip this section.

Index:

  • Overall
  • My thoughts on rape in the book
  • Viola
  • William
  • The box
  • The ending
  • My main issues
  • Links to Gena

#ParanormalRomance

 

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Blurb: ( Goodreads)

Possessed by the demon of Misery, Cameo isn’t allowed to experience joy. If she dares, her memory is wiped clean. With no other recourse, she sneaks into a land more fantastical than any fairy tale, determined to find the one man with the key to her redemption.

Lazarus the Cruel and Unusual rules his kingdom with a single unwavering focus: to build his army and annihilate his enemies. Nothing distracts him – until Cameo. He is relentless in his quest to make her smile and seduce her into his bed.

As dark forces conspire against them, threatening to destroy the fragile bond they’ve forged, the once-calm Lazarus grows crazed. Every heart-stopping kiss and wicked touch causes Cameo to teeter on the brink of happiness. But if she falls, she risks forgetting him forever.

 


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Housekeeping:

I have spent the last few weeks re-reading the whole ‘Lords of the Underworld’ series, getting ready for the release of ‘The Darkest Promise’, June 13th.

I’m very angry at myself about this book, numbers seem to not register in my mind because I ordered the PAPERBACK  version of this book, but this version will only come out in MARCH 27TH 2018.

Also, if I were to order the hardback, it will only come in July. Dearest brain, why do you hate me? Thank God for Kindle, I had pre-ordered the book, but it just wasn’t the way wanted to read it after drowning myself into this universe for the last few weeks. I didn’t enjoy the book any less, I loved it, but I was just mad at myself for such a silly mistake.

 


Now, to the book;

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My rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Overall:

I loved it. Cameo is a character that I really wanted a happy ending for, she’s the only woman immortal, apart from Pandora who has only recently came back, and hosting the demon of Misery for so long she deserves a happy ending. All the other Lords had their turn, and I’m so glad that she now has hers.

I started reading this book and I was a bit scared. The book started straight away with fairy-tales references, and I was a bit scared that Cameo’s story would become one,  a bit of a cliché really. That Cameo would be represented as a weak woman that need to be saved only, and not the warrior that she is.

I was very gladly surprised. Gena showed Cameo as the woman she is; as the woman that we have been getting glimpses of throughout the series. She had her gentle, sensitive and feminine moments, and she most definitely had he bad-ass moments. I think Cameo is a very good representation of what a woman can be. She’s feminine, fragile, sexy, gentle and kind, and that doesn’t take away from the fact that she’s a warrior, it adds to it in my opinions.

I loved the romance between Cameo and Lazarus. It was very sweet, but not sickly-sweet, it’s not Gena’s style, and I’m so glad. Even though I was scared of the fairy-tale theme, I did enjoy it in the end. I think it fit Lazarus more than Cameo in the end, which I think it’s intriguing.Adobe_20170626_133029

 

My thoughts on rape in the book:

After I finished reading this book and got over my excitement about a new LOTU book, I realised that one topic stood out for me in this book and I found it interesting that it stayed in my mind, instead of all the other things that happened in the book.

Rape is a pretty important theme in this book, and I found very interesting how different characters reacts to the aftermath of it. Lazarus and Hera mostly.

I feel like Lazarus had a need to differentiate himself from his father. Lazarus’ mother was raped by his father, and I think that could have shaped the way that he saw women. His mother couldn’t protect herself, neither from his father or Hera, so I feel like Lazarus did everything in his power to protect Cameo, because;

  1.   That’s the reality he knew, women, Cameo, have to be protected, or else the same thing that happened with his mother would happen to her.
  2.  He wants to show that he’s better than his father; saving himself by keeping his distance, allows him to protect her from afar.

However, his point of view changed. He saw Cameo as the warrior she is in the end, he let her fight Juliette in his place. I felt that this wasn’t just because he loves Cameo, but because throughout the book Cameo saved him as much as he saved her in different tough situations.

We meet Hera and find out that she was also rape victim, that she was raped by Zeus, and this really surprised me. I must admit, the only reference I have for Hera is the Disney ‘Hercules’ film. It’s a sad fact about myself. Trusts me, I know. Anyway, I was a little surprised. We learn that Hera hates men and has done everything she could to hurt them, specially her husband. It wasn’t specifically said, but its implied  to be because she was raped.

I think it’s very interesting the direction that she took because of her rape. She was hurt by Zeus, and betrayed by Lucifer, all that changed her to the point that she wants to destroy all men, by putting her own body at risk. Throughout this series we seen how much the Lords struggled with just one demon, I can’t even imagine the agony that she’s going through with hundreds.

This direction that she took is a good representation to what can happen if a victim turns to hate, and she shows how unhealthy it is. I felt like she was very unbalanced, probably because of the demons, but they were a consequence of how she reacted to her rape, she did that to herself. I have no trouble seeing the demons as a personification for drugs or something just as destructive. I felt very sorry for her when I took her rape into consideration for her actions, there’s no excuse for what she did to Lazarus mothers, but I couldn’t help feeling sorry for her, and understanding a little her actions.

(FYI, I’m not saying this what Gena intended, not at all. This is my interpretation of possibilities of a deeper meaning. Conspiracy theory? Maybe.)

Lazarus doesn’t have the most healthier attitude to rape, like I said he allows himself to be killed and to seek revenge, but he makes a huge effort to differentiate himself from his father. I think that Lazarus just wants justice and he won’t even forgive his own father for such a crime. I think that it’s kind of nice to have a man acknowledge that rape is a crime so unforgivable that not even family can be forgiven, and to aim for justice. Not that a mans acknowledgment is what important, but with so many news and actions that are discrediting the seriousness of rape, it just made me feel like not all if lost in that aspect.

(Again, I know that this book isn’t a advocate of rape victims, or a representation of any sort, it’s just what it made me think of after I finished reading.)

Hera, on the other hand, takes things to the extreme, she pretty much plans world destruction, for revenge against all men, not just the one responsible. I got the feeling that she loves women and hates men; protect one and destroy the other, but she kills Lazarus mother instead of saving her, and slut shames Cameo.

I felt very strongly about that. she says that Zeus created women warriors to be whores to the other immortals, and then makes Cameo feel bad about dating her immortal friends. You cannot say or act that you are on women’s side, and then put them down like that. It’s like feminism all wrong.

 

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Viola:

Viola was very involved in this book, and I really enjoyed that, we got to learn more about her and I’m very interested in how she’s going to turn out in the following books. I felt that her involvement in this book is a set up for her own story in the future. Her presence brought lots of  questions, and I’m dying of curiosity;

  • Who are Viola’s parents?
  • Why does she refuse to say their names?
  • The spirit realm is her kingdom? Is it just because she’s the goddess of the Afterlife?
  • Will she steal the artefacts from the Lords?
  • What will happen between her and Brochan?
  • He seems to have started to like her in the end, will she do the same thing she did to his brother or will she choose to sacrifice herself (sacrifice being a huge theme in this series) to save him somehow?

 

William:

Supposedly, William is the reason that Hades lost the first fight against Lucifer.  His encounter with Cameo, when she feels his misery, its so heart breaking. He’s one of my favourite characters, and it so clear that he’s in so much pain. My heart is breaking for him.

We learn from Siobhan that William believes that Gillian is the only girl for him, but there’s another women. I’m not sure to feel about this. In one hand I don’t see another women for him apart from Gillian. On the other, I feel like maybe he needs to let her go. As it is right now, I don’t see how William and Gillian can be together, her marriage to Puke is for life, he can’t hurt Puke like he wants without hurting her. What is going to happen there? it’s killing me.

Who is this other women? Are we going to meet her?

I’m guessing here, but I think William will be getting his book next, either him or Galen. I want it to be William, things have been escalating with him so much lately, and I’m dying to know what happens to him. He’s one of my favourite character’s and I cant stand to see him hurting.

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The box:

We have been waiting a long time to find out that who took the box, and who has it now. I was even more shocked that Hera was the one to make it, steal it, and have kept it all these years. I had a serious OMG moment for a few long minutes. When it was explained it made so much sense. We learn from Siobhan, the goddess of Many Futures that,  to punish her husband, Hera made a deal with Lucifer, to give him the Morningstar and he would punish Zeus for her. Hera went and got 1,000 demons and hid them in her body and planned to release them into the world because that’s where the Morningstar was, but plot twist, the demons didn’t want to leave her body. So, she created a box from her friends bones, the goddess of Oppression, and managed to put a quarter of the demons inside the box, since the box had a limit. Lucifer betrayed Hera by telling Zeus of her plans and he stole the box and gave it to Pandora who she can’t hurt, because she’s a woman. When the Lords opened the box, Hera took the box back and put another quarter of the demons inside it, and now she has 500 demons still inside her.

I never saw this coming. Finding that the Morningstar could possibly be inside the box, was a big deal for me, it blew my mind. Now, with this plot twist, I’m still picking up my brain pieces. This twist has now created a whole new development for the series.

I freaked out when we learn about the 500 demons still inside Hera, and Lazarus and Cameo was on their way to kill Hera. When Hades freaks out, you freak out, that should be a rule. Hera, escaped though, and I wonder when we’re going to see her again, and if those demons are going to be released or not.

I like how the box added to the fairy-tale theme this book had going on. It did give a Snow White feel to the story, and at the end of the novel I felt like Lazarus was Snow White, and that made me super happy that he was “the mansel in distress”.

 

The ending:

I must admit I guessed the ending, it guess it around chapter 13. With all the references to butterflies, and by them following Lazarus around I kept feeling that it wasn’t just a coincidence.

It made me very happy that I guessed it, and that it added to the fairy-tale theme that’s been going on in the book. I found it a bit funny that Lazarus is a butterfly King. Though I found a bit funny, the idea that he can’t die because of it, is amazing.

Some of the other Lords have tied themselves to their women, making them live as long as each other. If Cameo and Lazarus do that it would mean that Cameo can’t die either?  I wonder if that’s going to be explored more in the future, I think that would be very interesting to read.

When I guessed I started to wonder if Lazarus would gain wings. I’m very happy he didn’t, because I think it would be just too much. Though at the same time, I’m sad he doesn’t, I think it could have been kind of epic. I can’t make up my mind. Fine, I’m glad he didn’t grow wings, it would have been just too much.

I love that Cameo is free of her demon. She can finally be happy, and its well deserved. Though getting rid of demons is a bit of a theme now, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Most of the demons that are gone, are demons that no one could possibly live it, and we need happy ever afters, thank you.

The Lords now have the box, what are they going to do? They can’t get the Morningstar without letting all the demons out. I feel like now that the box has been found, that chapter of the story is closed and another one has began. The war in the underworld has began, so I’m guessing we’ll be seeing more about it in the following books. Truthfully, I can’t wait to read it.

 

My main issues:

So, I did goon a bit about the rape theme, which I found interesting. However I didn’t have a problem, I only one main issue in this book.

There’s a scene in this book, where Cameo is overwhelmed with Misery, because of the demon, and Lazarus, as a way to show tough love, spanks her in front of all the others. My issue isn’t the spanking, if it was a sexual act, people can do whatever you want in the bedroom. As someone that who struggles with depression though, I’ve heard many times from people things that people with depression need to spanked or slapped or something like that to get over depression.

Cameo being the keeper of Misery, she’s the personification of misery which includes depression. I connected to her because of that, because I understand the feeling of having no hope of happiness, and the thought that a spanking will make me get over it’s ludicrous and upsetting to me.

This scene went from a spanking, to Lazarus taking Cameo outside and pretty much having a mud fight. This made me feel better, because Lazarus, and everyone else joining in, are showing Cameo how to have fun again and what she has to fight for. This scene makes sense to me, so I think that the spanking scene is unnecessary.

I did really enjoy this book, I love this series, but this scene took a bit of the enjoyment away for me.

Also,  realised that this book/series doesn’t have a lot of diversity, be either sexuality or people of colour. I realised by re-reading this series that diversity is something that it lacks.

Things such as homosexuality has been played with the women mostly as jokes, and with the men is only seriously mentioned with Paris and Strider. We find out in ‘The Darkest Seduction’ that Paris and Strider did sleep together at some point, but it’s shown as something to be ashamed of and never to be spoken of again. I’m not saying to all of a sudden to turn everyone gay, nothing like that. Just, maybe add some more diverse characters, and situations.

Let me know if I’m wrong. I don’t remember there being any POC characters, did I miss it?

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Links to Gena Showalter:

Amazon *  Goodreads *  Official Site

Let me know any thoughts you had about the book. If you enjoyed this review please like and share.


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