I wasn’t sure how Gena Showalter could possibly satisfy me with this book. I have been waiting for poor Torin to get some human contact since the very first installment in this series. But we went through warrior after warrior, even bringing in a new crop of Lords, until I started to fear we’d never get Torin’s story. Now, that’s it’s finally here, I am happy to say by and large, Showalter gave me what I wanted; and if this ends up the last book in the series, I could walk away content.
As the story begins, Torin is behind bars with poor Mari, the woman Cronus paired him with; the female who was supposed to be immune to his touch. Obviously, she’s not. She’s dead by the third page. But even though Mari is not the woman for Torin, she is a link to the real deal. Keeleycael is the all powerful Red Queen. She was imprisoned with Mari and counted the young woman as her only friend. When she discovers Torin’s role in Mari’s death, there is hell to pay. Keeley won’t rest until she gets revenge on Torin.
Obviously, it’s not the most auspicious start to a relationship, but Torin is drawn to Keeley right away. It takes a little while for her to come around. In the meantime, they have to escape the prison and get back to Torin’s dimension. That’s no small task as they are targeted by fellow prisoners and emissaries of Hades, bent on recapturing the Queen. Oh yeah, plus that whole pesky Disease thing.
While all of this is happening, remember, Cameo and Lazerus are stuck in the Paring Rod. Their sidestory is unfolding. So is one surrounding Baden, who is dead, but alive in spirit and stuck with the ghosts of Cronus, Rhea, and Pandora. There isn’t a lot of time spent with the Lords for the first half of the book, and I am glad, because I feel like it would have been too much happening at once. The balance was just right.
But of course, it’s Torin you want to know about. I have to say that one of my small complaints is that Torin wasn’t exactly the man I was expecting. He’s been a major character from the start, but I don’t remember him being so violence-driven or alpha. I expected a bit less blood-thirsty and a little more tortured. I thought he would be more distinct from the other Lords, but that wasn’t how it played out. As for Keeley, she reminded me a lot of the Harpies. She is violent and powerful, yet emotionally vulnerable. I was good with her as a mate for Torin. She puts up with A LOT. That brings me to my other complaint: how many times Torin waffles on their relationship. I understand why he has fears, but he tries to walk away a few times too many. It got to be a broken record. Maybe two times fewer would have been less annoying. I never thought I’d have more sympathy for the heroine than for Torin, but that’s exactly what happened.
Then there’s the sex. It totally worked for me. Not too crazy, not too tame. Showalter did a great job here, making me anticipate every touch and every kiss. Very well done.
We get many loose ends tied up here, but the door is left open with some dangling threads. Showalter could expand on stories for Cameo/ Lazerus, Galen/ Legion, or William/ Gilly. But there are enough questions answered and story arcs resolved that I feel good about leaving it here even if we never get to those books. I give Showalter credit for pulling so many elements together for the payoff here. And while it felt a little long, she did it without making it feel bloated or over-reachng.
I think fans will enjoy this one. I did.
*ARC provided by publisher for review
Click to purchase: Amazon
The Darkest Touch
by Gena Showalter
Release Date: November 25, 2014