Kathy's Reviews > The Darkest Pleasure

The Darkest Pleasure by Gena Showalter
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Mar 14, 2012

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bookshelves: fantasy-romance, demon
Read from March 12 to 14, 2012

** spoiler alert ** Setting - mostly Budapest, Hungary, the fortress of the Lord’s of the Underworld.

Tone - dark, serious,

Themes -
trust: in oneself and in others. Most especially for Reyes and Danika. Reyes is afraid of tainting Danika with his Pain demon, who had influenced women in the past to indulge their liking of pain to obscene dimensions. Danika to trust her feelings for Reyes, and then to trust Reyes to truly care for her, and even protect her.

Characters -
Aeron - cursed by the god Cronus to hunt and kill the Ford family. He is insane with blood lust, though he had found Grandmother Ford, hurt her, but did not kill her - and did not remember what happened. He is cages underground for a while by Reyes, and caged at the fortress for a while by Lucien.

Legion - a female demon (who we did not know was female until the end). She claims Aeron, and though no hint of sexual on his side, he is soothed by her, the way the other women soothe their men & their demons. Hmmmm

Cronus - we see a bit more of him. The lords are thinking he wants to set up the world to worship them as was done thousands of years earlier. He wants the Fords dead because he knows one is the All-Seeing Eye - who can see into heaven and hell, who can operate as a portal to heaven and hell. The all-seeing eye of his glory days betrayed him... but he starts to consider that the all-seeing eye can help him. He also is fascinated by Paris, keeper of Promiscuity - and entertains his request to see him, and his request for Sienna Blackstone to be brought back to life... but challenges him to choose between Sienna and his long, long time friend Aeron.

Paris - hmmmm we thought he was really gonna screw things up by asking for Sienna back. But in the end, and without knowing how critical it was, he chooses Aeron, (stopping Aeron from killing the Fords). But he is so tired and disgusted by have sex with faceless women...

Sienna - Cronus indicated to Paris that she is now in his court... hmmmm

Galen - a Lord who hosts the demon Hope. He betrayed the Lord’s, seeking power and fostered their resentments about Pandora being put in charge of the box... not seen for thousands of years, Danika ‘sees’ him, her grandmother told stories about him... and they all come to realize he is the head of the Hunters - and he and the Hunters are upping their game. The hunters in the know think he is an angel.

Dean Stefano - Galen’s right hand man - has it in for Sabin, because his wife fell for him but ultimately committed suicide because of the demon Doubt’s influence.

The second half of the lords are of more of a presence - Sabin, hosting demon Doubt and their leader is integrating them... his female lord Cameo (Misery) and our lord Torin (Disease) are becoming close friends.

Tilly - 16 years old .. hmmm... Danika and Tilly, in the beginning, work as waitresses together under the radar, and take aggressive self defense courses together. At the end Danika invites her to the fortress, And Ashlyn takes her under her wing.

Danika Ford - running... tired of running... trying to develop her defensive skills. Kills a hunter who takes too much liberty, but then captured by the hunters. Drugged... Dean talks to her, convincing her to be bait, and keeps her drugged to keep he illusion of her not being on the hunter side when Reyes rescues her. Danika first fights her feelings of safety with Reyes, then fights her attraction to Reyes, and then finds herself responding to his protection, his warmth, his care of her (having clothes for her, setting up an art studio for her, etc). And when she watches an unknowing Reyes masturbate after making out with her, cutting his thigh quite violently while imagining her so that he can feel the pleasure, she gets over her shock and wants to be able to give him what he needs, certain that her nature will not be affected by his demon. She struggles with whether to help the hunters and whether to be honest with the lords. And as she shares with Reyes her dreams, and after they finally have sex and Reyes glimpses the heaven of her dreams she finds the truth of herself, of the All-Seeing Eye/heaven hell portal.

Reyes - he wants to do right by Danika, he wants to protect her from demon Pain, but he cannot let her go. As they get physically closer he comes to her after Pain is satisfied (been in a fight, self cutting, etc)... so that he can be gentle with her. Pain claims her too, and is soothed by her (not needing to be thrown off the castle walls to the rocks below). Reyes puts the puzzle pieces together (the pictures, her nightmares, what happens when they make love) and recognizes Galen for who he is, recognizes her as the 2nd artifact - the All-Seeing Eye and also a portal to heaven and hell.

Plot -
The Hunters are stepping it up - and it seems that Galen wants the god’s power, to dethrone Cronus (one of Danika’s early pictures are of Galen successfully decapitating Cronus). All are looking for the artifacts...

The Hunters bring the battle to the castle again - with Galen revealing himself to Sabin. The Hunters are of course defeated - and we get to see a bit how Sabin’s demon Doubt influences the bad guys.

Reyes and Danika find trust, and fall in love. When they make love - when there’s penetration - Reyes’ demon Pain leaves him via Danika’s portal to hell, allowing him to feel their pleasure without the pain (interesting resolution), and Reyes glimpses heaven through her portal - through the meshing of their souls. And when she has her dreams, some horrific

In the end, Aeron stabs her and before aid can be rendered Cronus takes her body. He heals her but keeps her in suspended animation. He tries to pierce her mind, even disguising himself as Reyes, but she holds Reyes’ image and blocks his access. Reyes and Cronus talk, Cronus admits that he wants to avail himself of the knowledge of the All-Seeing Eye and therefore wants to protect her... and then tells Reyes if he can prove he cn protect her, then he will release her. Reyes recalls how he can transport with Danika, and comes up with a plan... he calls for her soul to embrace him and bring him to her - then when Cronus shows up, he instructs her to take Cronus’ sythe and then to hold him in place - and Reyes talks with him, tells him of her picture of his decapitation, holds a knife to his neck, negotiates with him... and Cronus is reasonable... agreeing to let her go if she will agree to warn him if she sees anything - and to revealing who was in the picture with his head - it was Galen. So now Cronus knows of this enemy & his influence with the hunters.

And 3 weeks later (after Reyes and Danika spend most of their time in bed), Danika gets up to paint an image from her mind - and she thinks she has found the 3rd artifact - the cloak of invisibility - at an Egyptian pyramid.
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