Gena Showalter is back. If you have to ask where she went, you haven’t been reading some of her latest books. The past few have definitely failed to measure up to her earlier offerings, especially in the sexual arena. But I believe if you liked the Lords of the Underworld books from the days of Lucien and Aeron, you will definitely enjoy Burning Dawn. It’s angsty, snarky, and very sexy.
This is Thane’s book. He is one of the trio of especially tortured angels serving Zacharel. He has certain, ah, proclivities with his women. And there are many, many women. He hurts them. He asks to be hurt in return. And no one ever gets a repeat performance. At least, until Kendra came along. She appeared to him as different women, then used her Phoenix mojo to enslave him. As the story begins, he doesn’t even know who he is anymore. He is Kendra’s sex slave and nothing else. But a brave halfling named Elin sees more in him. She risks her neck to break his addiction and help set him free, hoping he will get her out of the camp where she, too, is a prisoner.
Her plan works. She and Thane escape, and he grants her protection as an employee in his club. He also takes all the Phoenix (Phoenixes? Phoeni?) who were at the camp with them and proceeds to torture them without mercy. So who could blame Elin for keeping her half Phoenix heritage to herself? Of course, this sets up The Big Secret that you know is going to come back and bite them just as they start to fall in love.
Anyway, Thane is drawn to Elin from the beginning, and he is shocked that his regular desires are missing. He doesn’t want pain with her, only pleasure. Elin wants him too, but she struggles with the memory of her dead husband and the guilt that moving on brings. There’s definitely emotion in their journey. Thane’s a pretty good tortured hero and I enjoyed watching him learn to love. I liked his emotional commitment; how he goes all-in with Elin; how loving her prompts him to want to be a better
Elin is a pretty good heroine and she grows a lot too. I like that, despite her youth, she has not only had a sexual relationship before, but a real loving one. (Showalter loves virgin heroines, so this is a pretty novel thing.) Her sass and smack-talk are a little over the top at times: very reminiscent of Anya, or Kresley Cole’s Valkyries. It didn’t seem to fit her character, especially in the beginning. But it gets more palatable as she grows friendships with other immortal women. My only other beef: the constant misunderstandings between Thane and Elin. Neither ever gave the other time to explain things. They would storm off and invariably Something Bad happens. All of those snap judgments started to feel a little contrived and got on my nerves a bit.
But on the plus side: The sex is rockin. As hot and satisfying as the Showalter books of old. There is no message. It’s just classic-style sexy PNR. I think fans will be so pleased. I also think loyal readers will enjoy the LotU crossover. It’s a bit more than in the earlier books of this spinoff, IMO, and it makes me (even more) excited to read Torin’s book.
Overall, I enjoyed this one. And I’m a little sad not knowing for sure if there will be any more. There are threads left open here and I’m afraid we’ll never get resolution on them. I have wanted a Xerxes book since the beginning, Gena. Hook me up!
*ARC provided by author for review
Click to purchase: Amazon
by Gena Showalter
Release Date: April 29, 2014