Published Date: November 22nd, 2011
Finished Date: November 20th, 2011
Publisher: Harlequin Nocturne
Format: eARC from Netgalley
Series: Royal House of Shadows #4
My Rating: 4.25/5
As always, Nalini Singh comes back to tease us with more unconditional love and hot sex scenes! Oh man, this is so wrong on so many levels for someone my age, but sigh. I have always loved Singh's writing, and it was no different in LORD OF THE ABYSS.
Liliana is the ugly daughter of the infamous, powerful and ruthless Blood Sorcerer, the one who murdered the previous King and Queen of Elden who were peaceful, just people, the one who caused 4 children to be orphaned. The Queen, using the last of her life's force, scattered her children to the corners of the realm where the Blood Sorcerer would not be able to find them. The youngest of the 4, Micah, who was but a babe of 5 years, ended up in the lower floors of the Abyss's castle, and a few years later took the helm as Lord of the Black Castle, and Guardian of the Abyss.
The Castle held within it the gateway to the Abyss, where the servants of evil were banished after death to suffer eternal torment at the hands of the basilisks and the serpents. Technically, our equivalent of hell, and Micah was its Guardian, the one who would hunt those shadowed beings of evil and thrust them into the Abyss. And that was where Liliana was headed. To find the Lord of the Black Castle, the youngest heir of Elden, and a crucial member to save Elden from the evil clutches of her father.
Liliana's plan? To infiltrate the castle, get to Micah, and help him remember a past that he cannot recall, and get him to Elden by the midnight in a few days time to defeat her infallible father. Her job's tough enough as it is, and the longer she stays at the castle, the harder it gets. As the more time she gets to spend with Micah who doesn't only see her flawed exterior, but to the true woman inside, the more he gets under her skin, and gradually to her heart. But how can she allow this to happen, when the only way she can kill her father is through a killing spell which would require a sacrifice - her.
I thought that the collaboration between four authors idea - Gena Showalter with book one, LORD OF THE SHADOWS, Jill Monroe with book two, LORD OF RAGE, Jessica Andersen with book three, LORD OF THE WOLFYN, and Nalini Singh with book four, LORD OF THE ABYSS - for this series was ingenious, really. But I've started out with Singh's masterpiece first, since I am a die-hard fan of ANY and every of her books. Yep, she is that good, no matter how many times my sister says otherwise. (Curse you, sista! Lol, kidding. I'm above that.)
LORD OF THE ABYSS started out with a brisk pace, throwing Liliana right into the midst of the throne room in the Black Castle. So the suspense and thrill level has always been on the up high. And from there, it never got boring.
I was a little miffed that the heroine was ugly, deformed, and just very flawed on the outside. Yes, yes, I am one of those who loves her heroine pretty and badass. What can I say? Cliches are cliches for a reason. Micah's reaction to her was very lukewarm too initially, which was only natural. I wouldn't put it past many authors nowadays in the PNR-UF line to make an instantaneous and revolting connection between the protagonists. So again, I applaud Singh for her pragmatism which ultimately made the book more believable. But as the story progressed, and Micah and Liliana got to know each other better, the romance that developed was so sweet! The way Micah behaved around Liliana made her forget about her imperfections... Made me forget her imperfections. He made her feel hot and beautiful. All that and both personas' basal characters held firm. Bravo, Nalini. Bravo.
Liliana, though flawed and with a low self-esteem, had a heart so pure and compassionate. I loved her, and Micah (who wouldn't?). They were just too cute together, especially since Micah's never been around courting couples and as such, he is, in a way, very child-like when it comes to wooing Liliana. He's very honest about his feelings, very straightfoward and explicit in showing what he wants. He loves to tease Liliana as well, oh those parts I like! Example:
“I beg you don’t forget that, or I might forget which is the salt and which the chili.”
Ignoring her threat, he waved her forward. “Pour me more chocolate—” the order of an emperor to his con-cubine “—then you may go and bathe.”
She really wanted to smash the teapot over his head, but she poured the luscious liquid into his cup, watched his eyes glaze over for an instant as his mind tried to drag him into the past. It was the truth she’d told. She hadn’t ensorcelled either the cinnamon or the chocolate—but some sensual memories were strong enough to act as spells on their own. “Now, may I go?”
“My lord,” he said, licking out his tongue to capture a drop of chocolate on his lip.
Her entire body hummed. “What?”
“You forgot to add ‘my lord.’”
She grit her teeth and put down the teapot with extreme care. “May I go, my lord? ”
He took a sip of his chocolate, paused for a second.
Ahahaha, I love you, Micah. All the taunting and teasing...They are really so adorable together. There is a lot of affection between them that made reading it such a joy. The sexual tension's a killer too. It got so intense that I cracked my finger bones unknowingly while clenching my fist too tight. Oh, and one more thing about him - he REALLY knows how to make a woman blush. That is all.
The plot's a little fantasy-like with the usual Paranormal Romance touch. But I daresay it bordered on being an Erotica. There were quite a number of explicit sex scenes in here! Not that I'm complaining, but it did slow down the plot. Upped the sexiness, but debilitated the action.
All in all, I did like this book. A lot. I loved the action, the romance, the suspense, the characters... Everything! People said that there wasn't that feel of finality in LORD OF THE ABYSS, and they blame it on having different authors write each book in the series, but I thought it was there, just not talked about too in-depthly. The three siblings were mentioned and given minor roles in the final chapters of book four, so I guess it still constitutes as a wrap-up. The epilogue's mainly about Liliana and Micah, which is fine by me since I haven't read the first three books yet. Think I'll try book one to three soon!
*Egalley courtesy of Netgalley and Harlequin in exchange for an honest review.*