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Strangely Beautiful #2

The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker

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With radiant, snow-white skin and hair, Percy Parker was a beacon for Fate. True love had found her, in the tempestuous form of Professor Alexi Rychman. But her mythic destiny was not complete. Accompanying the ghosts with which she alone could converse, new and terrifying omens loomed. A war was coming, a desperate ploy of a spectral host. Victorian London would be overrun.

Yet, Percy kept faith. Within the mighty bastion of Athens Academy, alongside The Guard whose magic shielded mortals from the agents of the Underworld, she counted herself among friends. Wreathed in hallowed fire, they would stand together, no matter what dreams -- or nightmares -- might come.

320 pages, Mass Market Paperback

First published April 23, 2010

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About the author

Leanna Renee Hieber

50 books1,045 followers
Author, actress, artist and playwright, Leanna received a BFA in Theatre, a focus in the Victorian Era and a scholarship to study in London. She adapted 19th Century literature for the stage and her one-act plays have been produced around the country. She is a 4 time Prism Award winner for excellence in Futuristic, Fantasy, or Paranormal Romance. Her debut novel, The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, first in the "Strangely Beautiful" saga of Gothic Victorian Fantasy novels (Barnes & Noble Bestseller) won two 2010 Prism Awards (Best Fantasy, Best First Book) has been hailed by Tor Books as a "foundation work of Gaslamp Fantasy" and has been reissued in new, revised editions as STRANGELY BEAUTIFUL. The prequel, PERILOUS PROPHECY and the never before published MISS VIOLET AND THE GREAT WAR finish the quartet (Tor Books). DARKER STILL: A Novel of Magic Most Foul was named an Indie Next title by the American Book Association and a Scholastic book fair "Highly Recommended" title. All books in the Magic Most Foul trilogy are now available as is THE ETERNA FILES trilogy of Gaslamp Fantasy novels (Tor Books). Her new series with Kensington's new Rebel Base imprint, THE SPECTRAL CITY, a Gaslamp Fantasy / Supernatural Suspense became a # 1 Amazon bestseller in Gaslamp Fantasy, Steampunk and Metaphysical Fantasy as well as hitting the top ten across other platforms. The series continues with three novels. Her short fiction has been included in anthologies such as QUEEN VICTORIA'S BOOK OF SPELLS and the MAMMOTH BOOK OF GASLAMP ROMANCE. All her Victorian-set series feature crossover characters. A member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Mystery Writers of America and the International Thriller Writers, she is a proud co-founder of Lady Jane's Salon Reading Series in New York City. A member of Actors Equity Association and SAG-AFTRA, Leanna works often in film and television on shows like Boardwalk Empire and Mysteries at the Museum, works as a ghost tour guide for Boroughs of the Dead tour company and creates unique neo-Victorian and Steampunk jewelry on Etsy. In 2018 Leanna wrote, developed and now tours a one woman show "By the Light of Tiffany: A Meeting with Clara Driscoll" about the talented 19th century artist. Visit http://leannareneehieber.com for free reads, writers' resources, interviews, videos and more, and follow her on Twitter http://twitter.com/leannarenee and FB http://facebook.com/lrhieber.

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5 stars
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284 (37%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 108 reviews
Profile Image for Larissa.
530 reviews103 followers
April 9, 2010
I had such high expectations for this book. I absolutely loved the first one in this series (The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, check out my review HERE!) and it was the first time ever that I gave 5 Loveys to a book. So, you can imagine that I was dying to get my hands on its sequel. I was lucky enough that the author offered me a galley for it and I simply jumped at the chance.

The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker is a great read. I think it might have lacked the wow factor that I got from the first one, but it certainly kept up the quality and I loved being able to reconnect with the characters I fell in love with in the previous novel.

In this sequel we get to understand better the role of each of the Guard members, whose job is to protect our world from being invaded by the spirits of the whisper-world. Their history is based on the love story between the goddess Persephone and The Phoenix. A tragic story that became a legend and gave birth to a prophecy that has found its way to reality in 1888 London.

The mythology and world created by Leanna is great and very compelling, you can’t help but be entranced by the 19th century London she transports us to.

This book starts right when the previous one ended. We have Alexi and Percy finally coming together and in this installment we get to see them actually being together and learniung to deal with their love and their personalities.

Percy, Persephone, is such a cute and wonderful character. I adored seeing how much she has grown from the beginning of book #1 and on this new one. She is stronger and is absolutely able to fight her own battles. She stands up for what she believes in and even though she is still the sweet woman you can’t help but love, she is definitely a new woman who is not afraid to say and do what is necessary.

I don’t give out any spoilers, but the plot gets more complicated and the stakes are definitely higher. We get to spend more time in the other members of guard and get into their heads. I loved being able to follow their own stories, loves and heart breaks.

The Strangely Beautiful Series is a Dark-Goth Fantasy full of heart and adventure, If you’re up for a trip to 1888 London and open for a beautiful story of darkness versus light, you should definitely give a chance to this series!
Profile Image for Katyana.
1,429 reviews175 followers
July 29, 2010
I really loved this book. The tenor of it was much different from the first, but still wonderful. I would say the first sort of unwound or unfurled itself, like a rosebud opening. It was lovely, almost poetic at points, but still told a gripping story. This second book had a feverish pace. Even in the opening, when there were pauses for our characters to live a few moments of life, those moments felt like borrowed or stolen time. As a reader, you were horribly aware of the terrible force building against them, and of how precious those few moments were.

This one also told a much broader story. Or rather, from a broader perspective. The first book stayed largely focused on Percy and Alexi, but this one gathered threads from many directions and wove all The Guard into the coming war.

I don't want to say too much, because I don't want to give it away, but I would just love to impress on my friends how much I loved these two books. And the story really does wrap in this book, for these characters. There are plenty of places the author could go in this world for more stories, but I would be very surprised if these characters are pressed back into the fray again. They have earned their retirement - no more stolen moments, instead they get to enjoy the rest of their lives. It makes me a little melancholy, as is always the case when a story I adore comes to an end, but I am certainly satisfied. And I also have to say: the last 2 lines of this book? Perfect. So incredibly, satisfyingly perfect. *blissful sigh*
Profile Image for Lady Jaye.
474 reviews50 followers
November 15, 2011
This tale was in a sense, Darkly Luminous, I guess. For me, it just didn't have the magic that made its predecessor a strangely beautiful tale. The stuff I found endearing in the first was tedious in this one.

Alexi and Percy, though lovable in the first installment, were rather annoying in this one. "Oh. Percy belongs to ME! I won't allow her to go into ANY danger, even though if she doesn't we all die and the whole world with it and Percy spends eternity being tortured by the dark." Yes, that was pretty much Alexi throughout. Annoying.

Percy wasn't much better. "Oh no my Alexi, please believe me. I love you. I won't have any opinions of my own, because without your constant professions of undying love, my life is over. Oh please please profess your undying love once again. And don't doubt mine. I will NEVER disobey you." Yeah. NO.

The rest of the cast were just there. As usual. Rebecca, who's as unserious a human being if I've ever read about one; Elijah, who's not very likable at all; Josephine who's just there; the vicar, whose bland and forgettable and whose name I just forgot; Jane, who's marginally interesting.

A new cast of characters - Beatrice, Ibrahim, and Aodhan joined in.

All in all, it was a good tale, but nowhere near as good as the first tale. It was all very melodramatic and theatrical (it makes so much sense when you find that Ms. Hieber has a background in theater :D)
Profile Image for Melissa.
1,009 reviews36 followers
June 15, 2010
If the talk of war in the first book made you think, "that was it?" then you know you are in for a huge ride with this book. In this one you also get to meet more of the guard in a more personal way and also see what is in their hearts they so badly hide from one another. The question with these little secrets becomes is this what can tear them apart? Can this be a betrayal not only of the heart, but of the guard or even Percy?

You also get more romance with Percy and Alexi. Lot more of Alexi's Darcy-esque manner and steamy looks he only gives Percy. Not to mention you get a little more action than you would have in those 18th century novels. ;) They do explore their relationship and what her past and his possession means to one another. I felt it was dealt with in a very adult manner which I enjoyed. All of these characterizations are important in understanding how the Guard and Percy stand a chance to beat Darkness. The question remains. Are they able to see past their own mortal hearts? Are they able to stay true to one another? Can they stand a chance against Darkness? Guess you'll have to read the book to find out.

I give this book 4 stars. It is a great companion to the first and really finishes up aspects of the first book that might have lingered. Leanna Renee Hieber has really made a great saga with these books alone. I do so hope you get a chance to read them.
Profile Image for Mandi.
2,299 reviews718 followers
April 23, 2010
Why I read: Author submitted for review, and I adored the first book in this series.

Favorite Quote: “Hello, my north star.”

Percy Parker has not only become Prophecy, but she has fallen in love. At the end of The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker we discover the meek, almost ghostly Percy Parker fulfilled a destiny to become Prophecy, the seventh member of an elite Guard that keeps the evil spirits and demons in London at bay. Led by their fearless leader, Alexi Rychman, they battled great evil, and it was during the battle, Percy was revealed to have even greater powers.

Her powers are not the only thing making her life more interesting these days. She is in love, engaged and about to get married to Alexi, her former professor. Percy is not only shy and mild mannered, but merely nineteen in age, quite a contrast to the older, and aggressive Alexi. But age does not matter for these two who are quite desperately in love.

Percy is reintroduced to the other five that make up the Guard – Rebecca, second in command who is the intuition in the Guard. Josephine, the artist, and one that always has a pleasant smile. The very rakish Elijah, the memory of the group, and the one that always has a witty comeback. Jane the Healer and finally, Michael the Heart. Percy looks at this group, people that have given their life for a greater cause and can’t help but feel a drop of sadness that she is so very lucky to have found Alexi. Percy has not known family, and now she has a very generous fiancé, and a family of people who understand her.

The job of the Guard waits for no one however, and as they dine one evening, the spirit of Beatrice Tipton, a former Guard member appears. Percy is able to communicate with ghosts and translates for the rest of the group. Beatrice brings troubling news from Whisper-world. The Darkness wants vengeance, and Beatrice has a call to arm. As Beatrice starts to warn Percy of the dangers ahead and her duty to one day enter Whisper-world as she only can, Alexi fears for his beloved.

The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker is truly a wonderful book. Now that Alexi and Percy have found each other and are madly in love, the angst of the future war brings many dark clouds. The ever fearless leader Alexi, is truly terrified of placing Percy in harms way. But because she is Prophecy, that may be her only course of action. He not only fears danger, but that she truly may not be human, and one day she may belong to a different place, rather than at his side. His fierce protectiveness refuses to allow her into the other side. The meeker Percy loves her dear husband, but knows this is what she is destined to do. She looks at her new family, and knows to keep them safe, she must be brave and face Darkness by herself.

The romance in this book is just swoon worthy. There is not a sex scene, but pages of beautifully written words between these two lovers. Really, Alexi stole my heart. They are absolutely adorable together – in the midst of new love. They are so cute going back to Alexi’s professor office where their flirtations began. Alexi, the ever strict professor, now with his cravat messed up and buttons undone. We also see them married and on their wedding night:

“Do you require further aid?” Alexi rasped, staring at the line of her collarbone.
“I won’t be but a moment,” she replied, biting her lip.
Shifting her skirts and closing the washroom door, she learned a sumptuous lace gown awaited her upon the back of the door, with ribbon closures from neck to toe. Percy blushed. It was nearly transparent light blue lace without lining. The note attached to the first ribbon said, Tie every bow. I have waited all my life for this night, and it must not go quickly.

This book also focuses on the relationships of the other Guard members whom have all given up much in their life to follow their purpose. Rebecca, who has pined for Alexi for so long, must now truly admit, he is not hers to have. Her despair, her fight for wanting to be strong and follow purpose as second in command, and her despair for wanting to give up on her lonely life, is heartbreaking. But for as many soul-filled glances she has thrown to Alexi, another has been doing the same to her.

Elijah, one of my favorite characters, must decide if his love for Josephine is worthy of public knowledge. And Jane has a long lost love of her own – in another world and time.

While there was a time or two when I thought knowledge of future events could have been communicated better between the spirits and the Guard to warn off of impending danger, overall the build up to the conflict is well done.

The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker is a book not to be missed. It is adorable, utterly romantic and while the first book in the series, The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker made my favorites list of 2009, Leanna Renee Hieber wrote a second book that I enjoyed even more.

Rating: 4.5/5
Profile Image for Christine Rose.
Author 16 books94 followers
May 20, 2010
Although Ms. Hieber set the bar quite high with her first book, she certainly doesn’t disappoint her readers with its sequel. Slower paced than the first, the reader gets to luxuriously bask in its Gothic romanticism. Ms. Hieber’s eloquent writing style weaves another beautiful, romantic tale along the dark streets of London.

The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker is the immediate continuation of the story from the first book. It begins with the final showdown in Strangely Beautiful seen from the perspective of a new character: the shade Beatrice, the leader of the last generation’s Guard come forth from the Whisper World to assist the current guard in a daunting task. From there, the author takes the reader on a delightful holiday through the horror of the underworld and the wonders of new love. Along the journey, we learn more about the other members of The Guard as well.

Readers got to know the handsome and intense Alexi Rychman quite well in the first book, but we see a different side of him in this book. Having saved his beloved Percy in Strangely Beautiful, he promptly marries her in a supernaturally luminous ceremony and whisks her away on a romantic honeymoon in York where they uncover a new mystery surrounding Percy’s birth and strange appearance. However, he becomes quite possessive, controlling, and aggressive when his new bride is put up to a horrifying task. Beatrice tells Percy, the only one of the guard who can hear as well as see ghosts, that she must undertake a dangerous mission into the Whisper World in order to save thousands of imprisoned souls. Alexi, the leader of The Guard would rather the entire world fall into Darkness than allow his beloved to be put into harm’s way.

I particularly enjoyed getting to know the other members of the Guard in this book and understanding their unique powers and personalities. By far my favorite was Elijah, the memory of The Guard. He can wipe memories of innocent bystanders when they see something harrowing, allowing them to lead a normal, ghost-free life. His wit had me laughing out loud several times throughout the book. He refers to Alexi as “Your Royal Eeriness,” and his quips often lighten a scene, bringing a relief from the horrifying reality they all must face. He is deeply in love with Josephine, the artist of The Guard, who hopes they might reveal their love and get married themselves now that Alexi has found his Prophecy.

Rebecca, the intuition of The Guard and second in command, is heartbroken over Alexi’s marriage and obvious adoration of Percy. She has loved him in silence for twenty years, and now she must face the truth that he will never love her. Still, she must hold it together long enough to play her part in the coming fight. And yet, love may not have eluded her completely, as there is Michael, the heart of The Guard, who can calm worry, fear, and anger with just a touch. He, in turn, has loved her these many years. His is the story that touched my heart the most in this book. He endured in the shadows for so long, always needed but never seen. Now he has a chance to come into the light and have Rebecca see him for the first time.

The final member of The Guard, Jane, the healer doesn’t have a love interest, at least in the world of the living. Her power enables her to heal any wound or disease with a single touch. All of The Guard is possessed with a muse from ancient times, working together to save the world from Darkness, the character based on the classical Hades, who kidnapped Persephone and killed her love The Phoenix, which now possesses Alexi.

No spoilers here, but I will just say this about the character of Darkness: he certainly lives up to his name! The scene between him and Percy is quite dark and delicious. Ms. Hieber, once again, excels in her gift, describing Darkness as to reveal both his evil, smarmy nature and the desperate love that lies beneath it all.

The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker is pure Gothic brilliance. Ms. Hieber expertly and eloquently weaves together a beautiful story full of Greek Mythology and a myriad of Shakespearean references in this delightfully dark romance. The Strangely Beautiful series is a must-read for every paranormal romance fan.
Profile Image for Smokinhotbooks K.C..
211 reviews218 followers
April 27, 2010
Favorite Scene

“There was that kiss.” Percy giggled. “You threw me against the bookshelf.”

“Ah, yes, there was that.” He smirked. “how did that go again?” He lifted and spun her. Her breath fled as he pressed her against the shelves for reenactment.

“Yes, that was it,” she finally gasped, as he carried her again to the desk. “Alexi, were you really thinking such things during our tutorials? You seemed so cold.”

“I began to unhinge the moment I demanded you reveal yourself, the moment you took off your scarf, your gloves, your glasses, all your shrouds, and stood bravely before me, diamond blue eyes piercing my soul.”

Percy frowned. “You looked at me in surprise, then.”

Alexi leaned closer.”You were a revelation.”

lu·mi·nous {loo-muh-nuhs} when something overtakes a human body – a possession with intent to harm…

war { wawr} spirits say it is war, all hell has broken loose now that the bride is gone. The fight on the borderland was just the beginning…

Where do I begin…I fell in love with Percy Parker in The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, where a shy, awkward, ‘freakishly pale’ girl became the missing piece in a prophesied puzzle. We meet the illustrious Miss Parker again in The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker and resume the fight against ‘The Darkness’, complete with the broodingly handsome Professor Alexi Rychman and the rest of the guard. Now that Alexi has realized that Percy is his mythical destiny, their proclamation of true love is confirmed for all to see. But alas, it’s not all moonbeams and rainbows as something sinister is lurking in the depths of the Athens Academy, something that want’s Persephone. Percy will have to be on her guard as one within her group is foretold to be a betrayer, someone who she is close to. With the daunting task of being the newest member of the guard, navigating a new position at the academy and being the wife of Alexi, Percy cannot help but feel a little lost. How is she to save herself when someone close to her will betray her at her most vulnerable? All I can say is that Alexi and Percy have a difficult road a head of them, but not to fear, Percy is a being of light, and light always defeats the darkness….right? Just who is Percy Parker, and is she even human?

Leanna Renee Hieber is one of those authors that can write a romance that is both poignant and heartwarming. Usually when you read a sequel from a beloved first book, there is really no option but to go down. Not so with this book. Although, I did miss Alexi and Percy’s tutorial tete a tete’s I enjoyed the journey of their relationship from whirlwind of forbidden feelings to a working partnership. And yes, Alexi is still the same old aloof Darcy-like character, who only has eyes for Miss Persephone Parker, a fact that I deliciously enjoyed. *swoon* Not to disappoint, our full cast of characters from the pervious book come back to life and add a richness and humanity to this second installment. I enjoyed that Alexi and Percy were not always at the forefront of this story and that we began to see more of the Guard than just magical shields against the underworld.

I will make a hint that I can’t wait to read more about Rebecca! Rebecca has sacrificed everything for Prophecy, even her feelings for the ambivalent Professor Rychman. So long as they could work together, her sacrifice seemed achievable with Alexi at her side. But Alexi has found Percy, his goddess in human form and now Rebecca is left with nothing but the cold embrace of duty. She is the one who knows of the betrayer but her bitterness of Alexi’s feelings for Percy could cloud her judgement. What if Rebecca is the one that is to betray Percy, could she be the one?

The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker is made of all kinds of awesome and is just as exciting and romantic as the first book. Not to be missed.
Profile Image for Heather C (Darkly Reading).
34 reviews62 followers
April 22, 2010
Darkly Luminous picks up directly where Strangely Beautiful left off. After facing deadly nightmares in the previous book, Alexi and Percy now get to have a dream come true and be wed. Although the newlyweds as well as The Guard know that their fight is not done and that Darkness may still try to claim his now mortal bride. While Alexi and Percy enjoy their new married life together dark signs begin to gather in Athens Academy that point to a great war coming with the Whisperworld and allies appear in the form of ghosts of previous guard members.

Though this book had its fair share of complicated love stories, Micheal's love for Rebecca as well as Josephine's love for Elijah, it starts on a happy note - the marriage of Percy to her dark and stormy professor, Alexi. Finally, the moment that I hoped would occur but feared would never happen in the previous book is laid out in delicious detail in this book. Thankfully, Ms. Hieber allows her readers to also witness the event rather than start the second book after the marriage and we get to tag along on their honeymoon as well. The romance between Alexi and Percy is young and they have alot of growing pains to go through in their relationship. Since they were both solitary creatures in their pasts they have to learn how to live with another person and learn to establish their relationship dynamic beyond professor and pupil and more as partners. One of the biggest changes in this book for me was Alexi becoming a bit unhinged at the thought of Percy being in more danger and of the possibility of losing her. Alexi who was always the calm and cool leader has so much tumultuous passion in his breast when it comes to his wife he doesn't know how to cope. Percy also slowly learns how to develop a backbone when it comes to Alexi and stand up to him, even when what she wants goes against his wishes. And it's important that they work out this difficult part of their relationship quickly since they face a war with the Whisperworld. Though Alexi and Percy certainly do have passion for each other that even overcomes them while in their magical chapel (oh my!).

Another favorite part of this book was learning more about the other members of The Guard and their loves and desires. You had to feel for Rebecca as she watched the man she loved and felt she should spend the rest of her life with married to another. You also felt for Micheal since he had to watch Rebecca go through this and her feelings were not for him. And learning about Jane and her mystery lover was surprising as well, as well as learning more about the mystery of her life and her multiple names. The Guard is integral to the fight with the Whisperworld and Darkness himself, and the sacrifices that have to be made to win the war are heartbreaking.

This book was a 4.5 out of 5 stars for me, a fitting end to this chapter of the fight against Darkness and it was lovely to see Alexi being an emotional mess about his beloved Percy.
Profile Image for Brooke.
116 reviews6 followers
April 19, 2010
Because the synopsis on the back of the book is so beautifully written (just like the rest of the book) I wanted to post it here for you to read.

From Leanna Renee Hieber's website:

With radiant, snow white skin and hair, Percy Parker was a beacon for Fate. True love had found her, in the tempestuous form of Professor Alexi Rychman. But her mythic destiny was not complete. Accompanying the ghosts with which she alone could converse, new and terrifying omens loomed. A war was coming, a desperate ploy of a spectral host. Victorian London would be overrun. Yet, Percy kept faith. Within the mighty bastion of Athens Academy, alongside The Guard whose magic shielded mortals from the agents of the Underworld, she counted herself among friends. Wreathed in hallowed fire, they would stand together, no matter what dreams or nightmares—may come.

After reading The Strangely Beautiful Tale last year and giving it a five star review and naming it my favorite book of the year, it is obvious that I had super high hopes for The Darkly Luminous Fight. I was not disappointed either! I am not usually big on romance novels, but this series is the perfect blend for me. There is the magical guard that protects London and Athens Academy, Percy being able to speak and see the ghost, a battle of light vs dark, and the romance that unravels for the characters involved.

The Darkly Luminous Fight starts off with the Guard celebrating their win against the darkness, and Percy and Alexi's engagement. They are such a sweet couple, even Percy's shyness about her pale skin and what Alexi will think is endearing. She is very inexperienced with men in general, and to go from nothing at all to a husband is difficult for Percy to grasp.

I really liked the addition of the old Guard trying to help the new Guard even if there are bad feelings between some of them. Percy having to be mediator made it quite interesting, because everyone had to rely on her to know what was going on. It proved to the other members that they definitely need her aboard.

I adore all the secondary characters in this story. They have such large hearts and care so much for what the prophecy has in store for them. They get on each others nerves sometimes, but they are always there for each other; never letting one person fight on their own.

Again, Leanna has such a great voice and I enjoy reading her writing so much. I can not wait to see what she has in store for us in the future. I also wonder how she could come up with another title for the next book (lol). My review definitely isn't getting across how much I adore this series. I do hope those who are lovers of paranormal romance will give this one a shot.
779 reviews56 followers
June 24, 2010
The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker by Leanna Renee Hieber
Historical Paranormal Romance – April 27, 2010
4 ½ Stars

In 1888 London, there are six extraordinary mortals who possess the power to keep London from being overrun by ghosts. This group is led by Professor Alexi Rychman, the 6 members of the group have recently welcomed their 7th member, Percy Parker, who is the reincarnation of the Goddess Persephone. Together, Professor Rychman, his beloved Percy, and the rest of this group of misfits must stop the Whisperworld from taking over London. Worst of all, Rychman and his friends must also stop the Lord of Darkness from reclaiming Percy once more.

The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker is the second book in Hieber’s Victorian Fantasy novel involving Percy Parker and the other Guardians of the mortal world. I would highly recommend starting this series by reading the first book The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker before reading this second novel. This story picks up right from where the first book left off. If you try to dive in without reading the first one, the second book will seem very confusing and difficult to read. Thankfully, the first book is a great read as well. As soon as I figured this was not a stand alone, I bought and read the first book and then dove straight right into this one. Hieber is such an engaging and talented writer that I could not stop reading for the past five days!

First of all, I think the story in the second book is even better than the first. Percy Parker, our protagonist, really matures by the second book and becomes quite feisty at the end. Hieber did an amazing job bringing Percy to life, especially during the final climax. I was so impressed that I read out sections of it to my husband! The rest of the characters are equally well written, from the brash (yet loving) Mr. Rychman to Jane, the group’s Healer. Every character has their own problems/subplot that are original and well thought out.

Hieber is a writer who writes with love and care. You can see how much attention she pays to the details in her story and with all of her characters. She’s the only writer who really writes like a Victorian. Unlike other romance writers, who even though they are writing historical novels, they still retains their contemporary “accent,” Hieber really writes in the style of Gaskell or Austen. To keep it authentic, Hieiber also keeps her books romantic aspects very chaste. If you enjoy classics and supernatural fantasy, you will definitely want to give this book a try. Hieber does a successful job of marrying these two genres to create something unique and well worth your time.

Reviewed by Pauline from the Bookaholics Romance Book Club

Profile Image for Karissa.
3,865 reviews189 followers
November 27, 2015

This is the 2nd book in the Strangely Beautiful series. There is a 3rd book in this series, The Perilous Prophecy of God and Goddess, which is a prequel to the first two books in the series. This book wasn’t as good as the first book in the series, but it does a decent job of wrapping up Persephone Parker’s story. This review does contain spoilers from the first book in the series.

Percy and Alexi have solidified their relationship and overcome of the deceits of the first book. Now they are planning on getting married. Unfortunately a new darkness (known creatively as Darkness) is haunting London. It will take all of Percy’s power, combined with that of her guard to save the city.

This book was another beautifully written story that has both gothic and Victorian overtones to it. There wasn’t as much history in this book (pretty much none) and there was about as much mythology as in the last book (which is to say some, but not a ton).

The first half of the story focuses on Alexi and Percy’s marriage; which was nice to read about but not all that exciting. The story gets more exciting in the 2nd half; as the Darkness gains ground and Percy and the Guard have to join forces to fight it.

The biggest problem with this story was how protective and domineering Alexi is over Percy. Percy is there to be the Guards’ seventh, to be their strength. Alexi is constantly trying to hide Percy away and protect her; without ever asking what Percy actually wants. Percy just goes along with it for the most part, although she does show a bit more spunk toward the end of the book. The whole dynamic between Alexi and Percy kind of ruined the story for me some.

I really enjoyed the rest of the Guard though and some of the Guard from previous times that we meet as well. It’s a darkly beautiful story, full of the message that love can conquer all.

Overall a decent wrap up of this story. I enjoyed the beautiful writing style and the Guard. I did not enjoy Alexi’s alpha over-protective attitude or how Percy meekly went along with him most of the time. I would recommend these two books to those who enjoy paranormal romance with gothic overtones. I won't be reading the prequel because the character itfollows (we meet her in this book) just doesn’t interest me that much.
Profile Image for Anna.
497 reviews144 followers
April 26, 2010
The story starts the day after the big battle. Percy has survived her fever and saved the day. Now that the goddess powers have awakened in Percy, she is plunged in and is part of The Guard. With the first battle won comes relief, but things are just beginning for Percy and her new family.

Last year I was lucky enough to get an early copy of this book and well it really went above and beyond of what I expected and absolutely fell in love with the Gothic feel and its characters. So, when I received a copy of book two you can probably imagine my excitement.

It was a treat visiting Percy's world again. I loved the romance, the magic and action packed scenes with the Guard. Alexi & Percy's romance plays a big part in the book an it is very sweet. Percy is quite the innocent, which is really fun to watch. While I think in any other character all the blushing and giggling might become a bit annoying, but in Percy it just makes her more endearing. I probably mentioned this in my review of Strangely Beautiful, but another thing I love about these stories is the London that Ms Hieber has created, it is dark and very inviting, magical. It is as much a character in the story as Percy is.

Leanna Renee Hieber's writing voice shines brightly. I love it. The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker is a lush love story and an enthralling tale about good vs. evil. I look forward to the continuation of the series and learning more about the secondary characters.

If your a fan of the Paranormal genre and haven't picked this series up. I definitely urge you to do so, you missing out on a pretty amazing world.
Profile Image for Katie(babs).
1,803 reviews541 followers
April 27, 2010
The strange, radiant looking Percy Parker and her gang of ghost busters (think of a Victorian Scooby Doo) are back in The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker, the sequel to The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker by Leanna Renee Hieber. Darkly Luminous takes place a few days after Percy and a group of six, known as The Guard, was able to stop the evil forces responsible for Jack the Ripper stalking London. They must also keep watch over all those nasty type of ghouls and goblins that have escaped the Whisper-world and enjoy causing havoc in London.

The shy and sometimes timid Percy has now found her calling as the seventh member of the Guard that was prophesized decades before. Percy has also found her one true love and soul mate with the leader of the guard, the older, dashing, brooding, "I look mighty sexy and fine wearing my blood red cravat", Professor Alexi Rychman, who also coincidentally teaches at Athens, the school Percy was a student at. This meeting, and eventual relationship between the two, was most likely fate since Percy is the reincarnation of a goddess Alexi was supposed to fall in love with. After Percy has recovered from her injuries in battle, she and Alexi have a, "blink and you miss it" engagement, are married within days, and go off on their honeymoon to enjoy the delights of marital congress with one another. While Percy and Alexi are enjoying this sensual waltz together, the Guard enjoys some down time to reflect on what the future may hold in store for them.

It seems that all is not well within the Whisper-world and on the moral plane. The former head of the Guard, the spirit Beatrice Tipton, appears to the present Guard to warn them that the ruler of the Darkness (ruler of the Whisper-world), wants revenge. Since Percy is the only one who can communicate with ghosts, and they with her, she is called to action. The Guard must prepare for a major battle with The Darkness, who wants to rise up and destroy the land of living, especially Percy who holds the key, or rather is the key to stopping this grave travesty. The Guard is in turmoil because everything they thought they knew, or were told, may have been wrong. There is also some internal stress as well with Rebecca, the Headmistress of Athens, who has always longed for Alexi, but now knows that can never be together, and with the Frenchwoman Josephine and her lover Elijah, who refuses to give her the one thing she wants above all else from him.

Whereas Percy is more than willing to take up arms so to speak, the others are not as willing to make the sacrifice, or allow Percy to do so. Alexi, who adores and loves Percy, even more than his own life, refuses to let her walk into the fires of hell, so to speak. He has just found her, and after his twenty years of waiting and fighting a good fight, he is ready to put aside his responsibilities and enjoy his newly married status. Whereas Alexi only had to watch out for himself and his fellow Guards, who are quiet skilled at not being killed, now there is Percy, who is still thought to be fragile as she tries to adjust to her new life. Percy feels she must do whatever she can to make all the wrongs of the world right. She places herself in danger, and may do more damage then good, including that of her marriage.

Leanna Renee Hieber's writing is so very beautiful; perhaps even more so than her debut with Percy Parker. Leanna has such a skill at writing wonderfully descriptive actions and dialogue. Darkly Luminous is a story you must take your time and read, savor and ingest, because there maybe some passages that may confuse you. The prologue is a bit disjointed, and the downtime from where Percy and Alexi are off on the honeymoon to those scenes with the Guard, as well as what is occurring in the Whisper-world may turn away some readers. But this is needed because it is all about the buildup to the final battle that brings forth some big fireworks.

Whereas The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker was more focused on the character of Percy, in Darkly Luminous, we are given more insight on the Guard as individuals and their motivations. Leanna excels at writing this connection these men and women have for one another. My favorite scenes are their interactions and why they all care deeply for one another.

But the main reason for reading Darkly Luminous is the relationship between Percy and Alexi. Talk about one humdinger of a romance! If you weren't certain if Leanna could pull of the older teacher who romances his student angle, you will be astounded by how well it works here. Leanna delivers this and more. Alexi is everything I adore in a hero. He is still very much a brooding stickler, but with Percy, he loosens up a bit, and his tender and protective side comes out. Percy, who was well known as a swooner in the first book, has grown into a more mature woman. She knows how to handle her husband and is sensitive to his nature. And, when these two come together in the intimate sense, meaning their lovemaking, it feels as if you are reading about the communion of souls. The love scenes are tasteful and will make you sigh. Leanna also has a sneaky way of penning The Rychman's love that can be on the naughty side, but still expressed in a very lovely way. A perfect example is an explosion of passion between Percy and Alexi that happens in the school chapel.

Darkly Luminous has a great combination of supernatural, mysticism, and spiritualism. The religious aspect can be heavy at times, but again it does fit the overall tone of the story. One character who grated on my nerves was Beatrice. I couldn't figure if she wanted to help the Guard or hinder them in such a way to suit her own needs. But then as I found myself annoyed, I quickly changed my mind the moment Alexi and Percy appeared. This couple is incredibly engaging, where you can't help but want to know what happens next in their journey.

Leanna Renee Hieber is one author who has a very unique voice that is shown very well in Darkly Luminous. Not only does she have an intricate way with her world building, but her characters are so welcoming, not to mention seductive, mainly in the case of Alexi Rychman, who with one heated glance at his beloved Percy, makes a lover of romance literature like myself swoon in total glee.
Profile Image for Lillie Roberts.
Author 12 books28 followers
June 15, 2010
Percy Parker has finally found a place to belong to in this world of hers. She has more than she ever hoped for growing up as a convent orphan. Though well cared for and loved by the good Sisters and Mother of the Convent, she never hoped to find love, friends, and family. Now she has it all, if only she can hold on to what she has struggled to find. The Whisper-World calls to her beckoning her back, ready to take her as she is. The Whisper-World doesn't like to give up those who cross into it's world, but it may be her only chance to save what she has come to love.

Percy's professor and husband, Alexi Rychman is loath to release his new young wife to the questing hands of Whisper-World, but Athen's Academy may give him no other choice. Even with his refusal, Athen's stones and bricks are coming alive, and if Percy doesn't seek The Darkness, it may be the end of them all. The Guard who have always give their all to The Grand Work may have no other choice than to watch their seventh and one-time Goddess return to The Darkness who had kidnapped and imprisoned her in the deepest, darkest part of the Whisper-World. The Darkness who holds a secret key and only with this key can all The Guard be saved. It's up to Percy to visit gray world and retrieve the key, the key to release all The Guard, both the past and the present.

The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker by Leanna Renee Hieber is the second book in the Strangely Beautiful Series. In this story, Persephone Parker comes into her own. She can no longer be the innocent student of Athen's Academy, hiding beneath her layers and scarves. She is destined for great things and greater responsibilities. Strangely Beautiful left off with the whimsical Miss Percy Parker saving all of The Guard from an unspeakable evil, all six of her new companions laid at the brink of death, and only she was able to force the evil Gorgon away. Already enamored and endeared to Professor Alexi Rychman, he claims her as his own, his Goddess reincarnated and his prophesied love. But in this part of the story, the whole of greater good needs to be served. The Guard has protected the earth bound realm for centuries, and with the departure of The Guard from this world to the Whisper-World, The Darkness has been imprisoning them, locking them away, foes for an eternity. But there is one who can save them all, to do so she'll have to enter the Whisper-World with all it's dangers and with her captor, The Darkness himself.

Darkly Luminous is a fantastical tale of Gothic romanticism. Once again Percy Parker is called upon to save her companions and friends. She's such a fragile beacon of light, almost transparent, but within her resides the strength of Goddess and it's this power that both the Earth bound realm and the Whisper-World needs. The Darkness wants nothing more to claim her once more as his own, to kidnapped her and drag her into the bowels of the Whisper-World, his prize. But there has to be a way to save them all, the Goddess would not have taken human form only to perish and remain unrequited. Darkly Luminous is a tale of honor, pain, need, sacrifice, and above all love. It is with and through this love that Percy Parker Rychman may save and be saved. Without love and sacrifice, all would be lost to The Darkness. If you haven't started the journey of Ms. Parker, now is the time to pick up the tethers hold of this beautiful story and read. Start with The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker and continue with The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker, both are more than worthy of your time. This series is one of the best I've read, it will be in my top picks for 2010. If you haven't tried it, I'm flummoxed, I don't know how to get you to pick up the series. I highly recommend to all book readers, something for everyone.
Profile Image for Kelly.
616 reviews146 followers
April 20, 2010
Percy Parker and Alexi Rychman have finally confessed their love for one another, and they and the Guard have scored a victory against the forces of evil. They scarcely have time to celebrate and regroup, though, before trouble finds them again.

Roughly the first third of The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker focuses mainly on Percy and Alexi’s relationship, as they announce their engagement and move quickly toward marriage. The news makes plenty of waves at Athens Academy and at the convent where Percy once lived. If you wanted more closure to the romantic plot at the end of The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker, you’ll find it here. Leanna Renee Hieber gives her hero and heroine a resolution fit for fairy tales. I can see now, too, why she waited until this book to tie that storyline up. If these chapters were tacked onto the end of the first book, they’d seem too long and anticlimactic. Placed at the beginning of the second book, they work perfectly. Readers get what they want, and Hieber gets the chance to juxtapose these scenes of fulfillment with hints of a threat on the horizon.

Around the one-third mark, the fantasy plot — previously in the background — takes center stage. Old enemies are rising again, and it becomes clear that Percy will have to venture into the spectral Whisper-world alone if she is to thwart the designs of Darkness, Hieber’s “Hades” figure. Yet she will not be without help. I think I teared up a bit when I realized what all those blue dots on the Guard’s map represented. Hieber skillfully describes both the gruesome landscapes of the underworld and the beauty of Good’s transcendent powers, and places them in a quickly moving plot that will keep readers frantically turning pages. And it’s wonderful to watch Percy’s continued growth. She’s gone from a timid convent girl to a brave woman who can stand up to Kings of the Underworld and snarky math professors alike, while still being recognizably the same character.

Like its predecessor, The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker comes to a satisfying close but leaves room for future stories starring these or different characters. Along the way, Hieber gives us plenty of her lovely, delicate prose, and a few moments that are riotously funny.

If anything, I wanted more! Specifically, I would have liked to see more development of one of the secondary romances, filling in the gap between the ending and the epilogue. Hieber has a forthcoming short story that will address this; the story is titled “A Christmas Carroll” and will appear in the anthology A Midwinter Fantasy, to be published by Dorchester in October 2010.
Profile Image for Beth.
783 reviews4 followers
May 12, 2010
I thought this might be like a Soulless sort of book - it's a supernatural fantastic fiction debut novel that reminds me of a cross between A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray, and Sabriel by Garth Nix.

19-year old Percy can communicate with the dead and is part of The Guard, a 7 member group that fights against the forces of darkness. She discovered her powers while away at a school for girls - part of the plot revolves around her impending marriage to her professor, Alexi, who is part of the The Guard. She is being watched over by two spirits from the Underworld who are former members and on the "good" side.

I read about 100 pages. This is not a stand-alone sequel, because of all the referrals to events in the previous book, such as Percy & Alexi's courtship. Percy is recovering from some ordeal in the team's last adventure which is part of an epic good vs evil type war that will destroy their world if the Guard doesn't triumph. I kept wanting to flip back to see if I missed something. There is some indication that Percy, with her unusual talents, might be a god or goddess (or related to one).

Percy's relationship with Alexi is tinted with her doubts about her appearance and attractiveness (she's very pale, nearly albino, with piercing eyes) and her lack of experience (she's gone from no friends or lovers to an engagement to an older man).

The historical setting didn't really add anything to the story, except for some dress details and concerns over Percy's reputation if she was alone with her beloved.

The omniscient point of view wavers from focusing on Percy to focusing on one of her guardians to focusing on Alexi, and there isn't time or attention for a lot of character development. I'm not sure if reading the first book would help or make me feel more connected.
Profile Image for CJ - It's only a Paper Moon.
2,199 reviews156 followers
May 6, 2010
First of let me just say that Leanna Renee Hieber is a magical writer. While the prose in this book could've been tighter, it still contained an ethereal quality that both moved the reader and the plot.

Percy is back in this installment as Mrs. Alexi Rychmann, the wife of her beloved from the last book. Alexi is also her destiny. Unfortunately one cannot succumb to the joys of marital bliss when a dead God wants to take you back to the Underworld as payback for a Goddess' actions. You see, Percy is kind of sort a Goddess or at least a mortal carnation of one. Except she's also not. She has no memory of anything that Persephone did, has no wish to be pulled and poked by a story that should have ended long ago and frankly she's a little scared and tired of the visions that she keeps having.

But with the War between the Whisper-world and reality inching ever so closer, Percy, her husband and their friends have little choice in whether or not they want to comply. They were born to stand at the ready and unfortunately happiness has to take a backseat.

But it is something to fight for.

This book seems like the conclusion of the Percy books - making it two in total, and it was a nice ending. The battles and the war were big and the depth of emotion at things lost, betrayed or gained was almost tangible. Percy also grew a spine in this book, which is perfect because her husband could be quite overpowering and bossy, not to mention that in order for her to win the war, Percy needed to grow a pair.

This book is a 4.59 because again the prose could have been tighter and some of the story lines (early on) could've been less vague. Over all, it's a good ending to Percy and The Guard's fight.
Profile Image for Torzilla.
278 reviews131 followers
April 22, 2010
Darkly Luminous--much like in SB#1 (Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker)--started off somewhat slowly. Leanna took care to ensure that no detail was shrugged off while setting the scene. She focuses on Percy and Alexi's relationship so thoroughly, I can guarantee you there is absolutely no room to doubt the love betwixt them.

The second half of Darkly Luminous finally begins to pick up speed. Much like a person crawling up the hill of a roller coaster at a snail's pace, Leanna builds the tension between the members of The Guard and between Alexi and Percy. Without warning, readers quickly plummet down in a series of events that will make your jaw drop. My eyes were literally glued to the pages at this point. I ignored everyone (including my college professor...twice. Yes, I was reading during class LOL) to keep on going. I also nearly screamed in class upon reading what Darkness murmured in the Whiper-world.

Alexi, while cold and almost brutal to an extent in SB#1, undergoes a transformation. Instead of being constantly cold and scowling, his persona maintains a brilliant vitality about him. He's a pervert too! I was laughing hysterically at some of the comments he made to Percy and Elijah. Oh, and despite his alpha-esque qualities, Percy slowly learn how to put the man in his place. I was cheering for her inside my head the whole time.

Like I've said before, this series is definitely worth reading. It is a new and exciting breath of fresh air, sure to leave you salivating for more.
March 1, 2013
This book is about how a girl by the name of Percy Parker who is destined by fate & as well love. She is forced into battle because, of the overrunning of Victorian London. This book wasn't that interesting to me, the love scenes between Percy & Alexi sort of irritated me because their relationship seemed sort of possessive well Alexi cause he seemed to over protective of Percy but besides that.I thought it was gonna be a book on horror or something scary but it seems to me like an adventurous book or a book about some kinda of history. Far as recommendations I don't know if I would but it depends on the reader who enjoy books like that.
Profile Image for Shavonya.
84 reviews
May 10, 2010
I really enjoyed this book. I got to know the characters from the first book better, and since they are great characters so i was happy about that. I really enjoyed it. The mythology is a little wierd the random reincarnation/ is Darkness Hades? (If so why not just call him that)/was Alexi reincarnated or posessed with a muse (if he was reincarnted with who's spirit exactly). Other than these admitadly nit-picky things, great and enjoyable read.
Profile Image for Val the Virgo.
82 reviews12 followers
February 17, 2021
3.5 Stars - contains spoilers for prequel "The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker"

It's not that I'm disappointed. It's more that I was less enchanted than I was while reading it's prequel, "The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker". I realized how annoyed I was with Percy's submissive attitude. It didn't seem as annoyingly obvious in the prequel, given the context surrounding her and Alexi's statuses. I think it's completely fine to have a heroine that doesn't have the qualities we'd expect in a fantasy-action style story, but her lack of confidence and leadership do get old pretty fast. Not to mention Alexi's patronizing and aggressive actions (however unintentional they are).

I was craving some more of that intense passion that was so crucial to the ending of the first book. It never really came back. There are some passionate scenes but they're so sparse that I was just left wanting more. The story focuses back and forth on the romance between Alexi and Percy (and a tiny bit on the side character's love stories), and then on the impending apocalypse. It feels like both the romance side and the action side are lacking. I would have loved more romance, or more action, or ideally more of both.

Much of my love for the previous novel was based on the magical feeling I got while reading. Since this sequel is missing some of that magic, I really didn't like it as much as I'd hoped. Still a good read, and I'll most likely come back to it in the future. For now, I'll go on to the next one of the series. Let's see where that takes us.
Profile Image for Nicole D..
258 reviews
August 21, 2022


Percy and Alexi are engaged and the guard has welcomed her with open arms. I was so happy everything was made right. I love Percy and Alexi’s wedding scene. It was so beautiful. I loved seeing Percy and Alexi on their honeymoon. I loved see their contentment and joy in each other’s company. They have both lived lonely lives and am so happy they finally found each other. I loved that the Guard got a break and love what they all did with it especially Jane(love this girl so much, I loved seeing more of her in this book and finding out the mystery of her names). Percy really finds her voice in this book and love that she is coming out of her shell. Alexi and Percy have some stumbles in this book as every couple does. Alexi struggles with his emotions a lot in this book. He has never been in love before and learning to stop trying to control everything and learning how to handle over protectiveness and fear was difficult. The scene between Micheal(my favorite character of the Guard, he is the sweetest and the heart of the group)and Alexi about controlling his emotions and treating Percy as an equal not someone that needs saving and hidden away from danger was a favorite of mine. That final battle. So many emotions. One scene in this book make me very uncomfortable and I didn’t think it was needed because it was really creepy. You will know the scene when you read it. This was my least favorite book of Leanna’s and if you are new to her writing don’t start with this series. I recommend you start with the A Magic Most Foul trilogy or The Eterna Files trilogy.

Rating 4 stars
Profile Image for Paranormal Romance.
1,158 reviews44 followers
February 2, 2023
Continuing right on along after the battle that ended the first book, the hero is still reeling from guilt over his cruel abandonment of a woman who is truly destined for him and the devastating fear of having nearly lost her. He cares for his love as she recovers from her near death experience, rejoicing in the memory of her fierceness that saved not only his life but the life of his Guard. When she awakens, the heroine awakens to a whole new world, one where she is suddenly a part of a family. As a orphan and an odd looking one at that, she never truly felt like she belonged anywhere but now she has the hero and she has her loyal friends.

The hero, a man brooding and dark to others, is her husband now and the icy shell around his heart has cracked to allow his love for her to pour through. The pair take a short time to experience a honeymoon, sheltered in each others arms and pretending for that their lives can be nothing so sweet or simple as being husband and wife. But their peace is not to be. Instead, they and the Guard now face a battle more fierce than any before as the heroines prophesized forthcoming is also the means to bring her to the attention of the Darkness. Now, the ancient enemy is gathering it's forces and the safety of the school is in jeopardy. The heroines gift for language and her communications with the dead has granted her the means to foresee what is to come. She must use her ghostly appearance to steal into the shadow world in search for a key that will seal the shadow and the mortal worlds forever.

The hero, struggling to understand fear for the first time in his life is having a very hard time coming to terms with his new role as husband. The desperation to see her safe, the madness within him to see her not only in danger but also watching her willingly put herself in danger is tearing him apart. Once a man in tight control suddenly finds himself at a loss. But the heroine has grown, she is not longer the girl she was and in that's girls place stands a woman. Both characters will grow and evolve into their new roles but the love between them remains strong as ever.

While this sequel did not wow my like its predecessor, I can say that this author has a very lovely gift of words. The story was poetry and I got swept away with the story and the characters. I'm not normally crazy about sequels but this book was very much a continuation of the first book. No time had passed between the end of the first book and this story and as such, the transition was smooth. While the first book had the characters being fleshed out and the story of their love just beginning, this book was a tale of what to do with that love and how a love like theirs can change a person for the better. The hero, once cold and remote is far from it in this book. Though he will always be a stern man with little shows of affection other than what he shows his wife, his love for her has transformed him. He smiles, he teases and he is hopelessly devoted to her. His struggle was what to do with this sense of helpless he now feels. The anger and the desperate fear that she will be taken from him turns him into a man who makes mistakes and lets his passions rule him. The heroine is able to calm him and her patience and understand balances out his raw intensity. The heroine was a character who grew in leaps and bounds over the span of this book. She was still charmingly bashful and meek but there was a definite fire within her now. She could put the hero in his place when necessity demanded it and she stood up for herself. I loved their sweet romance because it was so damn beautiful. I loved reading about the tenderness between them and remarking on how drastically different both are now from how they were in the previous book. I am happy with the storyline and the conclusion to a marvelous series which I could have enjoyed for many more books. Perhaps a spin off of the supporting characters who made this book so great.
Profile Image for Lexie.
2,073 reviews297 followers
March 13, 2016
I can say with full honesty that Hieber's second tale of the most unusual Persephone Parker is every bit as intriguing, genuine and delightful as its predecessor. The opening prologue is set during the first book, following a minor character as she watches the events of The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Persephone Parker unfold (with choice epitaphs). Chapter one then picks up very soon after the events of book 1 and wastes no time in setting things in motion.

What I enjoyed most about The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker is that while the story is linear, we follow several different threads as they weave in and out of the main (that being Persephone Parker). The myth that is the foundation for the 'ancient vendetta' between Light and Darkness is put to use more heavily in this novel, with Percy alternately dreading the past she can't remember and wishing she understood her role better. Though Percy shows more backbone and spirit in this book, she is still as uncertain and unsure as ever. Several factor make her doubt Alexi, or perhaps not doubt so much as worry over, and his feelings for her. Plus her fate seems tailor made to end in an unfortunate demise at nearly every turn.

The rest of the Guard (Michael, Elijah, Jane, Josephine and Rebecca) receive more depth and time to stretch their own stories more. As Alexi and Percy grow closer, and rely on each other more, the others see this unique chance at their own freedom in different ways. Elijah dreads what will become of a promise he made to Josephine years before, Josephine is a twitter at the possibilities, Michael desperately tries to both convey his affection for Rebecca while also trying to keep it hidden out of fear, Jane retreats further and further into her 'miracles' and Rebecca...half torn by the fact she can never have Alexi now, she is also tremendously frightened that her feelings of bitterness and jealousy will be the undoing of the Guard's hard work. I felt the worst for Rebecca, though I felt keenly for Jane. We learn a lot more about her, a bit about her past.

My one irritation was with Percy and her endless worrying. She is, by far, one of the most fragile girls I've ever read about. Sometimes she seems quite capable and self-assured and ready to take on anything that presents itself. However the slightest change in attitude towards her--whether it's Alexi or someone else--and she begins to doubt everything. Alexi's love, the Guard's treatment, her role in Prophecy. That sort of fragility puzzles me, seeming entirely extreme given all the evidence to the contrary.

The ending of the novel is guaranteed to make you choke up, or in the very least get misty-eyed. It's fraught with tension and upsetting events. The epilogue is more hopeful, and Hieber's website lists a short tale will be available in the winter as part of a collection, so I look forward to seeing how the circumstances work themselves out.
Profile Image for colleen the convivial curmudgeon.
1,155 reviews285 followers
May 17, 2010
A bit more 3/5 than 4, but I up-graded this one.

After finishing 'Strangely Beautiful', when I found out this story was already out, I simply had to run out and grab it. This book concludes the arc started in 'Strangley Beautiful', but also leaves threads open for a continuation of the series. I have no idea what the plans are in this regard, but I will say that I've become so enamoured with these characters that I will definitely keep an eye out for future installments.

This story still mainly revolves around the relationship of Percy and Alexi, our brooding hero and damsel of the first story, but it focuses more on the big battle between Light and Dark and less on their "but I love you, but I can't, but I must" drama of the first book. This is both a plus and a minus. A plus because another book of that would be a bit tedious, but a minus because the author doesn't seem to capture the emotions of the battle quite as easily as she does the more romantic notions.

This story also gives us a bit more of the secondary characters, and makes nice little resolutions for them and their lives as well.

Alexi was, well, a bit much in this story - but at least his asshattery is explained a bit by circumstances and forces. And, the best part, Percy grows a spine and stands up for herself, even when having to scold her sometimes intimidating other half. She still relies on Alexi to be her protector, which is nice (as I'd hate for her to suddenly become one of those "I don't need no man" chicks) - but she gains her own inner strength as well, which was a nice change.

Overall, while it didn't have quite the same resonance of the first, and it did still suffer from some of the cheesy dialogue, etc - not to mention one of my most hated plot devices (i.e. I'm not going to give you all the information that would make you understand what I'm doing, because that would take all the drama away) - it was still a good story, and nicely resolved.

Oh, also, while it was still mostly predictable, the reveal of the previously prophecies betrayer did come as a bit of a shock. That was nicely handled.

And, for a final gripe, there is a part of the secondary characters story that happens "off-stage", and will be in a short story contained in some collection or another. I kind of hate when authors do that. I will not buy an entire collection of short stories to read one part of it! Maybe I'll pick it up from the library some day, though.

Despite my complaints, the story has lingered in my mind. When I was finished reading, I half wanted to pick it back up and start all over again. I am quite attached to the characters, and look forward to continuing the story.
Profile Image for Pamela.
316 reviews219 followers
May 3, 2010
I am WAY late with this review! I swear, I meant to write it a month ago, but I got so busy with grad school stuff. Ugh. Anyway, here we go!

The second book in Leanna Renee Hieber's Strangely Beautiful series is a lovely and exciting, if somewhat purple, continuation of the sweeping love story introduced in The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker. Hieber takes us deeper into Percy and Alexi's mystical world, delving into the underworld mythology that controls both of their fates.

I have to say, I'm getting more and more interested in the supporting characters, the members of The Guard whose job it is to protect London from angry spirits. Josephine and Elijah are particularly intriguing, and if I recall correctly, there should be a future book about Lord Withersby, and I can't wait for it. I also loved Jane in this book, and (no spoilers!) I hope she makes a few appearances in future books.

Percy continues to grow as a character, moving away from the meek girl she was at the beginning of the first book, and I'm very glad for it. As I mentioned in my review of book 1, I'm not the biggest fan of meek heroines, but I quickly developed a soft spot for Percy. It's nice to see her becoming more and more confident, particularly in her growing mystical powers. Sometimes she giggles and blushes a little too much for my taste, but she's definitely developing into a good heroine.

Alexi, on the other hand, is kind of going down a path that I'm not fond of. He's overprotective of Percy to the point of being utterly overbearing, and a few times, I wanted to reach into the pages and smack him. I understand that he loves her and doesn't want her to get hurt, but he's smothering her. Luckily, Percy stands up for herself, but I really, really hope that Alexi calms the heck down a bit for the next book.

I think my favorite thing about this book is the Underworld plot. The ghostly former Guard members are great, and I love the battle scene with all of the ghosts. The Underworld scene, where Percy goes to find the key, was fantastic, and I think Darkness is one of the most original, fascinating villains I've read in a while. He was utterly creepy in the way he shifts back and forth between flesh and bone.

The prose gets a little too purple for my taste; it occasionally overflows with adjectives, but the story is interesting, and the characters are relatable, and in the end, I enjoyed the heck out of this book.
Profile Image for Michelle (Undeniably Book Nerdy).
1,126 reviews68 followers
May 15, 2010
The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker begins a little bit before the final battle scene in the first book of the series and recounts where the feather that Percy eventually follows to save the Guard originated. After Percy saved the Guard from the evil Lucy Linden and the chimera, Percy and Alexi finally marry and everyone were able to breathe easy for a while. But there is still that prophesied final battle with Darkness himself and Percy is the key to his downfall--something that angers and frustrates Alexi to no end. Reading the first book (The Strangely Beautiful Tale of Miss Percy Parker) is a must as this book is not standalone.

I think this book is just as well-written as the first. I love the wonderful cast of secondary characters and we get to learn more about them as individuals in this book. My favorites are still Elijah and Josephine and I was really happy to see them have their happy ending at the conclusion of the book. However, the most fascinating member of the guard in this book is Jane because she was basically a mystery in the first book. Her story is heartbreaking but her character touched my heart and despite her bittersweet end, I was happy for her.

Having said all that, I admit that when I read the first book I wasn't sold on either of the two main characters, Percy and Alexi. Percy was too much of a timid, wilting flower and Alexi a prowling, brooding hero that I didn't find that likable. I was hoping Percy would grow as a character in this book and I'm happy to say I'm not disappointed. Though the change in Percy happened gradually, the Percy at the end of the book is no longer the submissive, apologetic girl she was but instead the brave, self-confident heroine I like reading about but she's still Percy. Reading about Percy's growth is one of my favorite part of the book and a joy to read. I can't say the same for Alexi because he was an brooding, over-protective, jealous husband for most of the book so I'm still on the fence with his character.

The final battle in this book was big, dramatic and exciting. I really appreciated the epilogue and though there's a window there for a possible spin off, it's satisfying nevertheless. Overall, I liked this book better than the first one. Although it's being marketed as an adult romance, it book can be read by young adults. There's some sensuality but it's fade to black and it's a PG book. If you're in the mood for a dark, classic Gothic read with ghosts, magic, friendship and romance, give this series a try. 4.5 out of 5
Profile Image for Julia.
451 reviews22 followers
September 29, 2010
The Darkly Luminous Fight for Persephone Parker picks up exactly where the previous installment concluded- with our daring members of The Guard finally finding peace in their seventh member- Persephone. The story was fascinating, beautifully entertaining and even better than the first! I suggest reading the first novel before beginning this one, you don't want to miss out.

This magical story propelled me into the emotional sacrifices Persephone and The Guard are forced to make so that their dearly fragile prophecy can continue to be protected. Now Percy finds herself with something she has never had- a family of wonderfully unique people who make her “special traits” seem not so unusual- The Guard. And after saving the Guard during a disastrously dangerous battle against Darkness, Percy finds herself starting a new life she never could have imagined possible. But the extraordinary life she has always dreamed of may not last quite as long as she would have liked. And unfortunately she finds herself wrapped up in yet another battle with Darkness. The fate of the mortal world rests on her ability to travel to the Whisper World and face Darkness herself. Can she conquer death for good this time, or will Darkness take The Guard and Persephone once and for all?

I thoroughly enjoyed this story! I was concerned that the “magic” would fade but it was just as fascinating in the second novel as it was in the first. One thing that I absolutely adored was that the plot took me to more personal places with The Guard. I felt like I could connect better with them because the story told more about their past and individual lives. Hieber writes with such beautiful detail and the romantic subplots are enough to keep the story sensitive without taking away from the terrific battles. Now I am extremely excited to get my hands on the third installment of Percy Parker - The Perilous Prophecy Of Guard And Goddess! I highly recommend this series for those that love historical romance, the paranormal and steampunk!
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