This one was a torture.. most of 435 pages of torture.. probably except for the side POVs which I'll get to later on.
That being said, if you read my previous reviews of the series then you know I LOVE it and gave most of them 5 stars reviews. I"m really bummed that I didn't like this one, but I guess it was pretty clear I wouldn't like it because of my obvious dislike for Strider. though sometimes we have a character who is simply "misunderstood" and you end up cheering for the last character you thought you'll cheer. well, wasn't like that for me on this one..
I'm sorry but most of the review is going to be a slaughter house for the book and it's characters.. I still love the setting, the Lords and the writing itself so I'll try to sweeten up the pill with a few favorite quotes in the end
First let me say I've never been an admirer of Strider Keeper of Defeat. I never got him, his (lack of) humor, his (unreasonably) huge ego and especially not his competitiveness which, sure, in part is due to his demon, but not always and anyhow in my mind it was TOO MUCH. Couldn't handle 80% of what the guy said and done (what a douch!). He's so into himself I'm surprised he's so invested in the other lords and their well being, I'm also not surprised he decided to stay and help Kaia (the Harpy he's "into") and not go to the heavens helping his brother Paris with his search of Sienna.
How is he helping Kaia? well, Kaia decided that Strider is her consort and since she and all her family are summoned to these stupid Harpy games that should determine whose the "kick ass" Harpy (truly, who cares?) she needs him as a medicine cabinet (well, she would have loved to get more then that but that's all the asshole is willing to offer). this year is important since it's been 500 years since Kaia and her sisters were invited. and that's because 500 years ago Kaia did something childish and stupid and so she was banned from the event. Now, her "arch nemesis" Juliette is in charge and she is planning on taking Kaia down, especially now when Kaia's mother had disowned her and Kaia is playing in a new team - "Team Kaia" - have you ever heard of a more stupid name? This team is practically herself, her 3 sisters (Taliyah, Bianka and Gwen) and also 3 more (we only get a real reference to one of them). So lets just say they start off with very low stakes.
The games are stupid (and bloody) and as they go on all I can think of is - Kaia's mother Tabitha couldn't have been more accurate 500 years ago when she called Kaia - "Kaia the Disappointment". Geez, I can't believe the book actually concluded in a happy and victorious note having this one in the main cast.. add to that her insecurity in herself (translations - constant blubber about how no one appreciates her and/or that she can't possibly be good enough - and all that without Sabin around..) on top of that we have the obsessive way she runs around Strider (that doesn't need more ego busts..) there isn't anything less sexy then a woman throwing herself on a disgusting (while VERY attractive) man like Strider that should be fucking himself (since no-one more perfect). He actually offers her a deal - Basically if she agrees to let herself be disqualified from the games (and by that also become a target for life) she gets to have sex with him - and she actually sorta agrees. YUCK!
Lets complain about other characters I couldn't handle -
Only bright thing we had was the VERY few side POVs
At last!!!! the walls of Gilly's parents house we painted red (figuratively speaking) -
this quote speaks for itself!
"His ears suddenly twitched, picking up the sound of the garage door sliding open. He grinned. Oh, goodie. The first contestant of Hurt, Suffer and Die was home."
William is THE man! I really wish we'll get a whole book with him and not just a novella (though I don't know if we'll get either..).
another gem by my man William (which made me think of Jeanine Frost's Night Huntress side series - The Night Prince which is one of my favorites if not THE favorite)
"Like William's long-ago good buddy Vlad the Impaler. Talk about getting a bad rap. Behead a few thousand of your enemies, spear their bodies on pikes and display them for the world to see and boom, you were "evil". It was ridiculous!"
OH!!! he has a very interesting conversation with Kane revealing a lot of interesting staff about his background. and well. we also had a little of Kane's POV which I've been waiting for so lone! We know so little about him!
We also had a small part of Paris looking for Sienna in the heavens and since his book is next I simply can't wait to continue reading. Paris is so much more then sex incarnate.. and I really want him and Sienna to have their HEA.
In general we had little of the Lords (and not even all of them) in this book since it was located wherever the games were on. We had a small glimpse of most of them I guess but mostly as a background (except for Sabin who was there with Gwen)
As promised a little sweetener -
Lets start with Tabitha (Kaia's mother) view on life -
"Their mother has always stressed the importance of taking care of yourself first, your family second and everybody else not at all."
"A kind word will win you a smile, but who in their right mind wants to win a smile?"
"You can't really kill a human with kindness. You have to use a sword."
"If you don't take the treasures and the males you want, you'll never get the treasures and the males you want"
with a mother like that...
Kaia: "New rule - if a daughter doesn't hear a warning, she doesn't have to heed it"
Bianka IS the sweetest, too bad we only got a novella for her..
"Bottom line, Bianka was too damn sweet. Once, she'd BBQed another Harpy who's trashed her appearance. Cool right? Well, as the girl screamed and writhed, a guilty Bianka had raced off to fetch a glass of water for her. Who did that? Marshmallows, that's who."
Let's finish this review with a Harpy saying - as we all LOVE harpies and want to be one (just not the annoying ones ;))
"Humans had a saying. Mess with the bull and get the horns. Well, Harpies had a saying, too. Mess with a Harpy and die."
* * *
As promised in my previous reviews here are 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..).
Just to let you know the data on the Warriors was published just before this book (the 5th one) so if you're up-to-date till the previous book there aren't spoilers ahead for you. I'm concealing all the data about the warriors just so the post wouldn't look that long.
I'll be adding this data to all my further reviews of this series.
Maddox / Violence (Book #1)(show spoiler)
Lucien / Death (Leader of Budapest Contingent) (Book 2)(show spoiler)
Reyes / Pain (Book #3)(show spoiler)
Paris / Promiscuity (Book #9)(show spoiler)
Aeron / Wrath (Book #5)(show spoiler)
Torin / Disease (Book #11)(show spoiler)
Sabin / Doubt (Leader of Greece Contingent) (Book #4)(show spoiler)
Gideon / Lies (Book #6)(show spoiler)
Cameo / Misery (What about her? :( )(show spoiler)
Amun / Secrets (Book #7)(show spoiler)
Strider / Defeat (Book #8)(show spoiler)
Kane / Disaster (Book #10)(show spoiler)