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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Review: The Darkest Surrender (LOTU #8) by Gena Showalter


Possessed by the demon of Defeat, Strider cannot lose a challenge without suffering unimaginable pain. For him, nothing stands in the way of victory.

Until Kaia, an enchanting Harpy, tempts him to the razor's edge of surrender.
Known among her people as The Disappointment, Kaia must bring home the gold in the Harpy Games or die. Strider is a distraction she can't afford because he has an agenda of his own—steal first prize, an ancient godly artifact, before the winner can be named. But as the competition heats up, only one prize will matter—the love neither had thought possible.…

My Review:

I have never had an author push a character so far down my throat like Showalter pushes Harpies in the Lords of the Underworld Series (LOTU). Oh – I take that back! Her 'pushing’ rivals Alan Ball’s push of Bill Compton to those of us who have read the books inspiring True Blood.  But I digress.

Unless you love/adore/can’t-live-without Harpies, you’re not going to enjoy The Darkest Surrender, the eighth installment of the LOTU series. Yet again, Showalter features a less prominent player as the main lead in this book. Strider, the LOTU keeper of the demon, Defeat, who must win at all costs. If a challenge is given to him, and he loses, he will be subjected to debilitating pain and suffering for days.


To save some time, here is a list of what I didn’t like in The Darkest Surrender.

  • Harpies, Harpies, Harpies. Can we please get them their own series so they can leave the LOTU series alone? Good Lord, if I have to hear one more time on how beautiful, how powerful, how strong, and how perfect they are . . . *rolls eyes*
  • Strider and Kaia. – sure Kaia (Harpy) slept with Paris in the past, and this makes Strider reluctant to pursue her, but good Lord, it’s not until about 70% of the book goes by that Strider FINALLY relents and takes Kaia for his own. It was way too drawn out.
  • Lack of other storylines. – Showalter keeps adding characters to this series like I add excuses of why I can’t start my diet today. With that being said, I would have liked to see more of what’s going on with everyone else in the series (that I care about), but The Darkest Surrender is bogged down with everything Harpies, that what Showalter does reveal is extremely sparse. One such storyline omission I wish had been touched on more was Legion’s, who is battling with being raped and almost killed by every demon in hell. It was heartbreaking knowing she was in an almost catatonic state. Hopefully we get to see more of her in the next installment.
  • Changes. Eight books into the series, and Showalter starts changing up some rules in her universe. First, she reveals the demons trapped within the LOTU can now momentarily leave them and invade another person to drive them mad. I think this would have come in handy before, but adding this now – this late in the game – just reads as her trying to make an upcoming storyline work. Next, she also reveals a new rule the Harpies must adhere to, but I can’t be bothered to remember it. I just remember rolling my eyes and saying, “What? Another rule?”


I was ready to dismiss this book and give it 1 Kiss, but there were some things I did like which prompted me to up my Kisses, but not by much.

  • Humor. There is a lot of humor in this book, so it is evident Showalter was having a good time writing it. It made the Harpy overload somewhat bearable as I trudged through the book with a chuckle every now and then.
  • Paris. Paris, the LOTU keeper of the demon, Promiscuity,  is given a small role in this book – though it was one I looked forward to reading. He is up in Cronus’ realm, fucking and fighting his way to rescue Sienna, the only woman who has been able to arouse his demon more than once. Paris is obsessed with finding her and stops at nothing to find her, even pleasing a male servant to get information (though it wasn’t clear who was pleasing who, as we got a fade to black). I’m glad Paris finally gets his own story in the next book, The Darkest Seduction. Now I’m only holding out for Torin, the LOTU keeper of the demon, Disease. Can’t wait to see how Showalter gives Torin his HEA. :)
  • William. Though we get a darker William in The Darkest Surrender, I can’t help myself around him! Just love him. He finally sets out to get justice for Ginny from her family who abused her. The amount of torture he meets out is not at all pretty, and quite gory, but at least at the end of it, he tries to clean up the mess he made. And I say ‘tries’ because as he is being helped by Kane, the LOTU keeper of the demon, Disaster (might have not been a good choice in hindsight) a grenade gets thrown in the living room and William and Kane are captured by Hunters. After escaping and then being captured again, at the end of the book we are left at the edge of seats as both Kane and William are carted off to Hell – the one place William (who is the brother of Lucifer) truly hates. *sobs*
  • Kane. Though he’s been way in the background, Showalter brings up Kane in this book as he is first summoned by The Fates – three sister/witches who know what is going to happen in the future, and they are never wrong. They tell Kane he will be the one who starts the end of the world – The Apocalypse. As he is doing brain matter clean up duty with William, Kane shares this info, and William spills a few more interesting secrets that will at least (maybe) help Kane to save the world. But before Kane can process and ask more questions, both he and William are captured. Gah! This is the main storyline that has me running to the next book.
  • Artifact Hunting. Finally, Showalter gets back to hunting for the four artifacts to get back Pandora’s Box. In this book, the LOTU are going after the paring rod. When we had last seen the artifact, it was under the care of The Unspoken Ones, and it wasn’t clear how the Harpies got a hold of it and were offering it as a prize in their tournament. There is some speculation, but nothing is really revealed as certain. But I’m glad the series is FINALLY back on track.
  • Mystery. There is a whole deal of mystery going on in The Darkest Surrender (even though they are BRIEFLY mentioned, in between all things Harpies). At the top of the list is how no one knows where Rhea or Galen are, and it’s not clear who’s leading the Hunters. Hopefully, the next book lets us in on what’s going on. Cronus is also absent in the book, though we do ‘hear’ of him, so we are assured he is still alive. We also are still awaiting the birth of Ashley’s twins. Can’t wait to see how that turns out! :)

All in all, if you can look past the Harpies, or if you enjoy the Harpies, then you’ll have no problem enjoying The Darkest Surrender. But as for me, since I hope this is the last book we’ll EVER hear of the Harpies (*sighs* wishful thinking, I’m sure), I give this book 2.5 Kisses.


“GET LOST, WOULD YOU,” Kaia whispered fiercely to Paris as they descended the steps that led to her freedom…and Strider. “You’re like a bad rash that keeps coming back.”

He laughed, a booming sound that still managed to hold traces of pain.

“Seriously. This is the most attention Strider has paid me in forever, and you’re ruining everything. Beat it before I beat you.”

Paris stopped and gripped her arm, forcing her to stop, as well. Sympathy had replaced his amusement, highlighted now by the golden rays stroking him with the care and concern of a lover. Such a beautiful man. Even the elements had trouble resisting him.

“Listen up, sweetheart, because I’m about to give you a lifesaving tip. Be a good girl, and don’t poke at the bear today. He’s on edge already.”

Her eyes narrowed, dark lashes fusing together to keep Paris and only Paris in the crosshairs. “I thought you were the smart one, giving in to my wiles as easily as you did, but, hello. Sometimes the bear needs poking or he’ll never come out of hibernation.”

One corner of his mouth twitched. “Oh, yeah? Well, think about this. What’s the first thing a bear out of hibernation does?”

Duh. “He eats. And to be honest, I’m really looking forward to that.”

“Yeah, yeah, I know. That can be fun.” Leaning down, mouth still twitching, Paris whispered, “But you know what else? Bears torture. Bears love to torture, Kye. They’re mean. When a human gets in a bear’s way, especially after a long sleep, the end result is never pretty. Let this one acclimate to your…what did you call your smart-ass mouth? Wiles.”

“First, I’m not exactly human,” she said, raising her chin. “And here’s a news flash for you, my little man candy. I’m stronger than you are. Stronger than he is. Stronger than all of you put together. I can handle anything he dishes out.”

“For fuck’s sake,” Strider suddenly snarled. “Enough already. We need to leave, Paris, so you can stop making out with our fugitive.”

Our, he’d said. Not your. Such sweet progress. Trying not to smile, Kaia stepped away from Paris and slowly turned to face Strider, some of her annoyance with him cooling out. Breath snagged in her throat. Paris was beautiful, yes, but Strider…Strider was magnificent.

Her first glimpse in weeks had been of him standing in the station’s lobby, stark white walls surrounding him, and her knees had almost buckled. His finger-combed pale hair had been in complete disarray, sticking out in spikes. His navy blue eyes had swept over her, lingering in all the right places, and her stomach had quivered.

Now, at this second glimpse… He was tall, towering over her even though she stood several steps up and wore high heels. He had a delicious muscle mass that couldn’t be hidden underneath the long leather jacket, tight black shirt and denim. And gods, his face. His oh-so-innocent, yet oh-so-wicked fallen angel face.

At first, she hadn’t recognized that face for the luscious contradiction it was. She had seen only the innocence, and had continued searching for someone with the qualities she’d always found most attractive: brooding, dangerous and temporary.

That’s why Paris had snagged her attention.

He mourned the loss of his human female. Brooding—check. He was an ambrosia addict who could kill without hesitation. Dangerous—check. He was a sure thing, a onetime-only event, and wouldn’t cling. Temporary—check. Afterward, though, she’d snuck out of his bed—a Harpy always left after the main event—hollow and empty.

Which was probably why she’d gone back for seconds a few weeks later. She’d wanted to feel what she’d felt while they were together. Fulfilled. Satisfied. But he’d turned her down, physically unable to give her a repeat, and pushed her out of his room. Yeah, he could have pleasured her and taken nothing for himself, but that would have been a pity-session and wasn’t something she could tolerate.

So, because she’d worn a robe and only a robe to his second seduction, she’d left in a robe and only a robe—and, distracted as she’d been, she’d smacked into Strider in the hallway.

That’s when she first saw the devil in his eyes.

In that moment, she felt as if a switch had been thrown inside her. She’d made a mistake going after Paris. The man in front of her was everything she’d ever wanted and more.



  1. Hi sweetie. New follower. OMG Love your blog. You are one of my Blogs I am Luvin.

    A little bummed Strider story is not that good. I just finished The Darkest Whisper and was not happy with it. I am hoping The Darkest Passion is good like the first 3 books were. I am looking foward to reading Aeron story. The Highlight for me in The Darkest Whisper was the little bit I got of Aeron and Paris.

    Have a good week. If want stop by and see my blog sometime.

  2. Hiya, Wicked! I don't think Strider had anything to do with it, I'm just over the whole Harpy thing. If someone else had been paired with Strider I would have been all over it, but Showalter goes overboard with all things Harpies. She just can't write about one, she has to include the whole clan and then include a whole tournament that encompasses 80% of the book. It's just so tiring to me since I don't enjoy her Harpy storyline.

    And I agree, the first 3 books were AMAZING! My favorite one was Lucien with Anya. OMG I loved it. At the moment, I'm just trudging along the series to see what happens to Ashley's babies and William.

    In Aeron's story, I fell in love with Legion. She's another reason I'm following the story, too. I hope Showalter puts the Harpies on the backburner and highlights the characters I want to see more of in the coming book. *fingers crossed*

    Thanks so much for dropping by! Going to check your blog now! *hugs* :)


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