This one is going to be a loooong review and also will contain mild spoilers (which I'll "warn" about :))
First - I loved this book! I feel like it's been a while since my last PNR series, but actually it's only been a little more than 2 months from finishing the Midnight Breed series. It seems that no matter how much I enjoy reading "regular" romance books I always find myself missing a dab of supernatural in my reading. I yearn for those manly man creatures with inhuman strength and special abilities (and disabilities ;)) that simply doesn't exist in our world.
Though I'm a HUGE fan for vampire related PNR this one is different. Vampires are mentioned in about a sentence (meaning they probably exist somewhere) but there is nothing on them and probably wouldn't be in the future. We have a group of 6 warriors, immortal warriors that each one share their existence with a demon inside of them. This demon makes it hard for them to manage a "normal life" so they choose to live together and stay off society. That's in a nutshell..
This novel tells the story of Maddox who shares his existence with the demon of Violence. Not a very "happy little demon" as you might imagine.. and also the gods (the Greek ones in case you were wondering) "gifted" him with a curse for killing a woman he shouldn't have. His curse is he must be stabbed at midnight each night 6 times - until his death - and then delivered to hell for the rest of the night to be burned there. Just from those details you can see that Maddox isn't really a relationship material kinda guy.. But nevertheless by the end of this book he and Ashlyn find their happy ending.
Ashlyn always knew there are other creatures in this world - first because she has the unique ability to hear all conversation that has ever been made in a certain place and also because she works for an institute that research supernatural beings. She hears that on a hill near Budapest there are special beings, maybe even angels that she hopes might help her control her ability. She discovers first hand that the ones living up the hills are far from being angels but though she is being held there captive she learns that they are by no mean monsters.
Maddox captures and holds Ashlyn against her will because he things she is "Bait". In the past Hunters - people determine to kill the Lords of the Underworld (he and his friends) - used women to lure them and kill them. But right from the start there is something about Ashlyn that makes him re-think the possibility of her being there other than to help herself. Surprisingly from the very second Ashlyn encounters Maddox she stops hearing the voices of the past making her long for his presence (doesn't that remind you of Sookie Stackhouse and Bill Compton in the Southern Vampire Series?).
You can guess what happens with Ashlyn and Maddox. Don't need no guessing here :) But what is interesting is all the changes that happen to Maddox and his relationship with his demon.
We have the POV of Ashlyn and Maddox throughout the book but also other characters - the other Immortals and also a little bit by Danika - a woman who is captured (with 3 other members of her family) by the Immortals by the request of the Titans that as it seems threw out the Greek Gods. The warriors don't really know what to do with the women so they keep them captive for the meanwhile..
As you can see there is a lot going on in this book. A lot of "world" to be unraveled. But that's not the least of the things that happen. They also have Hunters on their back and also a "surprise from the past" -(show spoiler)
Which keeps them "on their toes" since there is no trust with whom they have to work with now.
I loved this book and really looking forward to the next ones!! the only complaint I have for this book is there's just too many damn characters to follow! :D
Mind you, I've read "A song of Ice & Fire" and if you want to blame SOMEONE for creating too many characters - George R. R. Martin WOULD be the guy.. ;)
Since this is the first book in the series (the novella before gives only a feel of the story - actually this book happens maybe even a thousand years after it..) there are simply a lot of details about this world and the characters with their special characteristics. It took me half the book to really get "who's who" you know? but then there were more to come and I was a little lost there for a while.
* * *
This is the place to stop reading if you don't want to read any more possible spoilers. The spoilers aren't "huge" ones but if you want kinda "clean slate" I guess it would be best to stop here.
So thanks for being here and getting to this point! Farewell now :)
* * *
OK. So in the beginning we are introduced with Maddox and the rest of the gang - 6 warriors in total. As you understand each one is not only a character in itself but also contain a demon which makes them kinda like "double characters" you have to remember which is which and "what's his deal".
By the middle of the book I was kinda feeling I got the hang of it and felt I was "on it" you know? THEN dear miss Gena introduces us with 6 more.. yeah, 6 new warriors each with his/her demon, appearance, special behavior etc.. I just thought to myself - REALLY?! that's how it's going to be now? So I get that she needed those guys, but it was a little too much for me for the first book in the series. Too many characters. too many features in a completely new world that she'd built. I think that I'm totally OK with the Budapest guys, but the new ones? I'm not really sure I remember who's who without clues ;)
So basically it's really not THAT bad it's just I think that if I'd read this one in a longer period of time I would have gotten totally lost. But since I'm an obsessive reader anyway.. honestly, I feel like I just got sucked into this world and there is nothing to be done about it but keep reading more! :) I feel intrigued by each of the characters and really want to read more about them!
But since I complained, I made myself a nice solution! I found the "Classified Files" containing all the details on all the guys! YAY! :)
They can be found on the "Into the Dark" Novel - containing the pre-novella "The Darkest Fire" (LotU #0.5) and "The Darkest Prison" (LotU #3.5) novella but also more cool staff like Q&A, behind the scenes etc. Later on Gena published just the Companion part (without the novellas) in a book called "Darkest Facts" (so you don't need this one if you have the other..).
Since I don't want to spoiler (more than I already have) I'll hide the information that might contain spoilers. The book containing this data was published just before the 5th book (meaning we had those guys story already - #1 Maddox, 2# Lucien, #3 Reyes, #4 Sabin) so MOST spoilers will naturally be of these guys, BUT surely some information about the other characters will be revealed during those books so I'm saying - thread with care! :)
I'll be adding this data to all my further reviews of this series.
Maddox / Violence (Book #1)
Eyes: Violet (Note: eyes glow red when angry)
Butterfly tattoo: Upper left shoulder, wrapping around to his back
Other distinguishing marks: Demon’s skeletal face becomes visible through subject’s skin when subject is angered.
Preferred weapon: Fists
Lucien / Death (Leader of Budapest Contingent) (Book 2)
Hair: Black, shoulder-length
Eyes: Mismatched—one brown (normal eye) and one blue (believed to allow subject to see into the spiritual world)
Butterfly tattoo: Upper left shoulder, front of chest
Other distinguishing marks: Face and body are covered in scars. Subject emits an odor of roses presumed to be linked to his demon.
Preferred weapon: Knives. Beware poisoned tips.
Reyes / Pain (Book #3)
Hair: Dark brown
Eyes: Brown Butterfly tattoo: Chest and neck
Other distinguishing marks: Deeply tanned skin; frequently sports scars caused by self-mutilation Preferred
weapon: Daggers; sword; guns
Paris / Promiscuity (Book #9)
Hair: Varying shades of brown and black
Butterfly tattoo: Lower back
Other distinguishing marks: Subject is widely regarded as the most physically appealing of all the Lords.
Preferred weapon: Sword
Aeron / Wrath (Book #5)
Hair: Military-cropped, brown
Butterfly tattoo: Middle of back
Other distinguishing marks: A pair of black gossamer wings hidden by slits in his back when not in use. Face and body are covered with tattoos of war scenes, weaponry and the demon’s victims. Two eyebrow rings.
Preferred weapon: Subject does not discriminate and embraces any weapon at his disposal.
Torin / Disease (Book #11)
Hair: White, shoulder-length
Butterfly tattoo: Stomach
Other distinguishing marks: Always wears long black gloves Preferred weapon: As subject is confined to the Budapest fortress he has dubbed “the House of the Damned,” he does not generally use weapons but is believed to have gun and sword training.
Sabin / Doubt (Leader of Greece Contingent) (Book #4)
Butterfly tattoo: Right ribcage and waist
Other distinguishing marks: Wears a necklace believed to be a gift to him from his deceased friend, Baden, demon of Distrust, the Hunters’ first victim.
Preferred weapon: Subject used to rely on knives, guns, throwing stars et al, but now, like the coward he is, he prefers to hide behind his Harpy bride for protection.
Gideon / Lies (Book #6)
Hair: Dyed Blue
Eyes: Blue, kohl-rimmed
Butterfly tattoo: Right thigh
Other distinguishing marks: Multiple piercings and general Goth appearance Preferred weapon: All of them. Subject seems to have no specific preference, using whatever is nearby.
Cameo / Misery (What about her? :( )
Hair: Long, black
Butterfly tattoo: Lower back, wings spreading around to both hips
Other distinguishing marks: Her voice is enough to make you want to kill yourself. Earplugs are needed when around her.
Preferred weapon: Semi-automatic, long-range rifles
Amun / Secrets (Book #7)
Butterfly tattoo: Right calf
Other distinguishing marks: Dark skin
Preferred weapon: Things of an exotic nature.
Strider / Defeat (Book #8)
Hair: Blond Eyes: Blue
Butterfly tattoo: Left hip
Other distinguishing marks: Subject was created, not born, yet has a birthmark on the right side of his buttocks. Small, brown and jagged at the edges.
Preferred weapon: Subject embraces all weaponry.
Kane / Disaster (Book #10)
Hair: Mixture of brown, black and gold
Butterfly tattoo: Right hip
Other distinguishing marks: We are still searching.
Preferred weapon: Rifles and other long-range weaponry