Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Review: "Lords of the Underworld" & "Black Dagger Brotherhood" #9's

These two books/series fit together nicely, so I thought I'd review the latest ones I've read together. Both were #9, which is even nicer. I like symmetry. :) I'll do a quick overview for each series and then review the actual book, just in case you haven't read or heard of them. And if that's the case, I would definitely recommend them to fans of YA paranormal who are maybe looking for a more "adult" story. Because, while these are both considered paranormal fantasy, they are very much adult books with "adult" relations. Woo. Lol...

Lords of the Underworld by Gena Showalter
The Darkest Seduction #9
4 out of 5 stars (3.75/5 for the series overall)

The "Lords of the Underworld" are a group of immortal men (and a few women) who were, at one time, warriors for the Greek gods. They did a bad, bad thing and let loose the demons from Pandora's Box. As punishment, they were each stuck with a demon for eternity. What kind of demon, you ask? Well, violence, disease, death, pain, doubt, lies, and disaster are a few. Fun times, right? It took the lords several centuries to get themselves and their demons under control, during which there was lots of destruction and mayhem on Earth. Of course, there are Hunters constantly looking for them, trying to get their demons back into Pandora's Box. But if they are killed without the box there, their demon is set free on the world again. That's no good. So the Lords and Hunters are constantly fighting, naturally. Throw in some Greek and Titan Gods and some other magical creatures occassionally and that's pretty much the main conflicts of the stories.

A small group of the Lords have settled in Budapest, in a huge, old castle on top of a cliff. They've got top-notch security and are relatively happy living in seclusion...until all these girls start showing up and they start pairing off, one by one. Each book centers on one of the Lords and his "happily ever after". How romantical. And that's pretty much all you need to know if you haven't read these yet. So, spoilers abound after this! ;)

This story focuses on Paris, that sexy, hair-tossing, pheremone-releasing warrior possessed with Promiscuity. Yowza. Paris' demon is nicknamed Sex because he needs it to survive and he doesn't care who helps him. He also has the unfortunate liability of only being able to "bed" a person once and only once. Luckily for him, he's not riddled with Promiscuity and Disease...or Procreation lol. Until he met Sienna, a Hunter, a few books back. She's the only one he's been aroused for more than once and is now convinced she is his better half. Only problem is, she's kinda dead. Or was. He's been looking for his girl for a few books now and has taken his search to the Heavens, where it's rumored that Cronus, King of the Titans, has her stashed.

Paris meets up with Viola, another Immortal, to try and get some answers about Sienna. Viola is cursed with Narcissism and quite annoying at first. She "screeches" (tweets) on her pink, glittery phone all the time...the concept is bad but this quote made me giggle like a teenager lol. "Lord of Sex is filthy and looking to score. I'm not interested, but should I help him rack up points with someone else?" But she kind of grows on you after a while, especially when she starts annoying all the Lords left back at the castle. Lots of things happen at the castle, including Galen (one of the "bad" guys) stealing Ashlyn, the super-preggo wife of Maddox. Viola kind of helps Legion, the little demon girl, and grows a little in the process. I'm sure Viola will find her "one true love" by the time the series is over. Kane maybe? That's the only problem with this series...she keeps introducing more and more characters. Is the series ever going to end??

Anyway, Paris finds Sienna pretty quickly, with the help of William (who might be some sort of God and has truly awesome hair) and Zacharel (an angel determined to keep Paris & Sienna apart). There's lots of steamy scenes between the two and also some mega fighting. Oh and did I mention the steamy scenes? ;) I think what made this book so great (besides the steaminess lol) was that it wrapped up most of the ongoing plotlines by the end. I was actually pretty surprised by the ending and while doing this review, I've reread most of the book lol so I'm really looking forward to the next one now. But alas, it won't be out until next year. Bah.

Black Dagger Brotherhood by JR Ward
Lover Unleashed #9
3 out of 5 stars (4.25/5 for the series overall)

This series is about vampires, so it's kind of been done to death (get it? death? heh), but these are some seriously bad-ass vampires lol. And hawt. We start out with 6 "brothers" who have fought together for centuries and are reluctantly led by Wrath, the last purebred vamp left, who also just happens to be mostly blind. Not that you would know it, because dude knows all kinds of stuff and still fights with his brothers. They all have weird names like Phury, Zhadist, Rehvenge, Vishous, etc...and lots of new made up words like "doggen" (servant), "Shellan" (female mate), and such. It takes some getting used to, but it's not too bad. They are very modernized vamps though: huge high-tech mansion with massive amounts of security and lots of fancy cars with rap/rock music blasting.

The Brotherhood's enemies are Lessers...gross, pale guys who smell like baby powder. Uck. I hate the smell of baby powder and yes, I know I'm like the only person in the world probably who does. ;) These Lesser guys gave me the serious heebies. The brothers fight on the streets a lot, saving the city from evildoers, killing the Lessers, and then they go clubbing in their "shit-kickers and leathers". Woo. Some of the brothers have already been mated at the beginning of the series, but for the most part, each one gets his own book and HEA. Since this is a "Brotherhood", this series is obviously mostly about the boys, but this latest book is technically about a female warrior. And I can't say much more, so on to the spoilers!

I say technically, because the better half of the book is taken up with finishing off Vishous' previous story and is actually what bumped it up a star for me. Payne, Vishous' twin sister, is the leading lady in this book, but...eh. Her and Manny's story just didn't do much for me. I, like pretty much everybody else, was mostly just interested in whether Vishous & Butch would go "there" and when we were going to get to see some Quinn & Blay action. Not really a spoiler: They kinda did and not for another 4 months bah.

Payne has been kind of flash-frozen for a really long time by her mother, the Scribe Virgin. (A kind of Goddess, religious-type, all-knowing person for the vamps.) She is obviously a little peeved at Mom and decides to take her aggressions out in her training fights with Wrath. But then she gets seriously hurt, Wrath freaks, and brings her back to the mansion so Ghost Doc Jane (Vishious' lady) can help her. Jane can't do everything though, so she decides to go to her former, human, boss Manny. Only problem is, Manny thinks Jane has been dead for a year and is still grieving over his friend. When Jane shows up, it takes Manny a minute to freak out, but once he gets over his shock, he's on board. And of course, as soon as he sees Payne, he's like "mine mine mine". Whatev. Don't these guys ever go on a few dates first, see where things lead, let the relationship mature?

So, Manny does his best to fix Payne but she's pretty much paralyzed from the waist down and is so depressed she considers killing herself. Manny has had his memory erased after the surgery but it's having bad side effects for him and he starts going downhill too. The only thing saving him is his racing horse and the dreams he keeps having about the mysterious black-haired chick. Jane convinces Vishous that Manny is needed for Payne's recovery, so he's brought to the mansion and the two start falling in love. Yuck. ;) Having been locked up for hundreds of years, Payne doesn't know much about anything, especially s-e-x. Manny uh...teaches her a few things and they find out that thru uh...pure happiness...she kind of glows and starts healing her legs. So there's lots of teaching and lots of pure happiness and lots of healing going on here.

Of course, Vishous is pissed and says "no way. I'm the man of the family. You can't date a human. Blah blah blah." Manny pretty much agrees and tells Payne they can't be together. She goes out into the city, fights some Lessers, and gets kidnapped by these rogue vamps called the "Band of Bastards". Yeah, really. They're apparently going to be big in future books and technically, they're bad guys, but I don't think that'll last for too long. This felt like a middle book for me...sort of combining two parts of the story, building up to new storylines, but not really going anywhere. Hopefully the next one will be better.

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