I didn’t care much for Strider early on in this series. It wasn’t until The Darkest Secret that I ever really gave him much thought at all. Here, he charms me utterly with his over-inflated ego and inner dialogue. And while that may not sound all that attractive, I found him more endearing that I ever expected that I could.
As the story begins, Strider is working hard to resist his attraction to Kaia. At the end of the last book, she revealed that he is her consort, but he rejected her outright. After all, he thought he had feelings for Haidee and on top of that, Kaia once slept with Paris. What if Strider couldn’t measure up to the Lord of Promiscuity? It would cause him immeasurable pain. But Kaia refuses to give up, and she forces herself back into his orbit.
In the meantime, Kaia and her sisters are summoned to participate in the Harpy Games. The last time they took part was over a thousand years ago, when Kaia made a terrible mistake that resulted in the deaths of many of her kind. Now, it’s clear that the Skyhawks are targets; their lives are in danger. So Strider comes along, knowing his blood could help Kaia in the event she is injured.
The story surrounding the Harpy games is really quite good. The backstory allows you to see vulnerability in Kaia, who is overwhelmingly strong. We learn alot about the Harpy culture and the bonds Kaia shares with her sisters. At the same time, a real relationship begins to develop between Kaia and Strider. It’s fun watching them challenge themselves and each other, yet somehow they each manage to put the other person first. Like in all of the Lord books, the sexual tension is uber-hot and the payoff is sooo satisfying. Win!
We’re also treated to a side story with William and Kane which shines some light on Willy’s background and Kane’s possible future. And additional cut scenes feature Paris and his search for Sienna. Hallelujah — Paris’ story is finally up next. That poor guy really needs a happy ending. He has been miserable forever. Almost 5 stars.
*ARC Provided by Harlequin
The Darkest Surrenderby Gena ShowalterRelease Date: September 27, 2011Publisher: HQN Books