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Review: The Darkest Whisper by Gena Showalter

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The Darkest Whisper (Lords of the Underworld #4) by Gena Showalter
Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Demons
Mass Market Paperback (HQN BOOKS, 416 pages, $7.99)
ISBN# 0373773927
Bound by the demon of Doubt, Sabin unintentionally destroys even the most confident of lovers. So the immortal warrior spends his time on the battlefield instead of the bedroom, victory his only concern until he meets Gwendolyn the Timid. One taste of the beautiful redhead, and he craves more.
Gwen, an immortal herself, always thought she'd fall for a kind human who wouldn't rouse her darker side. But when Sabin frees her from prison, battling their enemies for the claim to Pandora's box turns out to be nothing compared to the battle Sabin and Gwen will wage against love.

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Turning up the heat on the Lords... (4 stars)

When you're cursed to carry the demon of Doubt around with you it's hard not to question your own decisions some of the time. Sabin has tried and unsuccessfully had relationships with women who were confident and strong. But Doubt has always found his way into their hearts and minds slowly destroying them. The best way to protect them is never to allow himself to have relationships with them. Which could be easy to do with the war between the Hunters, lead by the demon-disguised-as-angel known as Galen, and the Lords of the Underworld catching flame and burning faster than ever.

When Sabin finds Gwendolyn the Timid locked away in an Egyptian prison at the mercy of Hunters he is immediately drawn to the sad, beautiful woman. Tormented and abused at the hands of the Hunters Gwen and the women with her are just the surface of their latest evil scheme. An immortal in her own right, Gwen should be fierce and capable of protecting herself. Yet doing so means giving in to her dark side, a side she is afraid to accept lest it make a monster of her. To Sabin she represents a chance to truly strike a blow to his enemies if he can persuade her to claim that half of herself but with Doubt fighting him and a multitude of threads to unravel only time will tell if he can get Gwen to trust herself and his growing feelings for her.

It's no secret this isn't my favorite series out there that follows a band of brothers. Sometimes the Lords of the Underworld can really feel like a generic version of this concept. The Darkest Whisper, however, seems to be the book that has begun to break the mold a bit. Sabin and Gwen aren't particularly memorable as hero and heroine but there is a definite stronger chemistry between them than previous H/H in the series. Gwen is a timid immortal with an interesting past/family life and Sabin (while probably one of the Lords I could care least about) is an strangely good match for her. The demon of Doubt is well used in this story, trying to make both Sabin and Gwen question one another's feelings and motives. As a romance I think most readers will be pretty satified.

The overall plot of the book does incorporate bits of what is going on with other Lords. The trouble with Paris takes a dark turn, Gideon's role gets a lot of attention preparing for his book (the next in the series) and previous H/Hs have roles that aren't just silly cameos. Readers who like this sort of book will probably still want a little more but I think this is a step in a strong direction for the LOTU on the whole. I'm also really thrilled to add that the plot for this book, while trying to bring a few too many different angles together, did something that rarely happens to me as a reader--it surprised me! It isn't often an author can pull a great plot twist without me seeing it coming. I loved that Showalter managed to do that this time around.

If you're a LOTU fan I think you will love this fourth book in the series. If you haven't read any of them yet this would be a really confusing story plot wise but is definitely a great example of both Showalter's best writing and the potential this series has if you want to give it a try. Enjoy!

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