Review: Land of the Beautiful Dead by R Lee Smith

Reviewed by Jen

This book absolutely, positively blew me away. It is the third book I’ve read from R Lee Smith and like the other two, it reeled me into its amazingly crafted world, tethered my heart to its characters, and despite its impressive 751 pages, left me so very sad once it was over. It’s one of those books that immerses you so completely in its story that you feel at a loss when you come to the end… not because the ending doesn’t satisfy, but because now you have to start to let it all go.

None of Lee’s books feature conventional heroes. The Last Hour of Gann featured a lizardman; Cottonwood had a roachman for crying out loud. With that as my basis of comparison, I didn’t find Azrael the Undying to be shocking at all. Yeah, he’s made of undead flesh and he can make zombies with varying level of sentience; yes, his features are grotesque and I kind of pictured him like Jason Vorhees in the few scenes of Friday the 13th movies where they strip away his mask. But Smith does such a remarkable job making me see beyond those things, that I positively ached for him to find happiness.

The heroine is Lan, a decidedly practical, uneducated farm girl who is mourning the death of her mother. She seeks out Azrael in his luxurious home of Haven to beg him to end the undead that plague their world. Azrael made the monsters; he can just as easily destroy them. The thing is, Azrael is biting and jaded in his view of humans. Why wouldn’t he be? They’ve persecuted him for the entirety of his existence. He rules with an iron fist to protect himself and the “family” of sentient undead at Haven. Despite his unwillingness to consider Lan’s request, he allows her to stay as one of his concubines, and she accepts, hoping to eventually wear him down with her commitment to her cause.

As with every book I’ve read from Smith, the humans are the real monsters of the story, though it’s not as overt as in her other books. It’s an onion that takes time to peel. The way Azrael falls for Lan is heartbreaking because there is such fear in the power you give someone when you give them your heart. This man is essentially god-like, but he’s never been loved. Meanwhile, Lan fights her feelings, but easily gives her body. After all, that’s what a “dolly” does, but you can see the jealousy creeping in at the other girls in his stable, and how hard it is for her to reconcile her growing feelings for a man who she views as the destruction of her world.

I could go on and on, but I want to save some of the discovery for you. My heart is still wrapped up in this book hours after I read it. It’s just so very good. Would absolutely recommend.

Rating: A

Click to purchase: Amazon

Land of the Beautiful Dead
by R Lee Smith
Release Date: October 29, 2015
Publisher: Red Hot Romance


  1. OMG you are a R LEE SMITH fan. ♡♡♡

    I absolutely adore her books, especially HEAT – I’m a 150% Heat connoisseur. 😀

    Are you part of her FB chat group (it’s not her group but it’s only about her books)?

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