I read this book back-to-back with 'The Darkest Secret' and I'm not sure which I liked better. This book kept my attention better for the first half but I became kinda bored through the middle. The ending rocked, though, and I couldn't stop smiling.
I completely understand why Strider had such a hard time accepting Kaia. With his demon having to win EVERYTHING (or he suffers horribly), of course he wouldn't want to start a relationship with Kaia after she slept with Paris. Who could compare to a sex demon?!? Poor Strider and his Stridey-Monster would suffer the worst pain ever! Or so he thinks...
Kaia portrayed this strong, independent woman to the outside world but, on the inside, she was vulnerable and utterly human--which made me like and accept her when at first I really couldn't stand her. After the mistake she made as a child and the (uncalled for) loathing she faced from her entire race is something no one could handle unless they hardened their heart. Poor Kaia, at least she had her sisters to help with the pain and humiliation.
Once Strider and Kaia finally branched out from friendship to a romantic relationship, the book really grabbed hold of me and sucked me in. He supported her in everything and treated her with the respect a warrior deserved. She loved him enough to lose fights and pet his ego even though it went against her very nature (she did so for his demon and to save Strider from the agony of losing because she was clearly the stronger, more physically-fit person). Kaia confused Strider so much with her teasing, wild and violent Harpy ways that he went so crazy with wanting her and fighting himself, including his demon Defeat, to not break and give in to his desires to claim her.
I have a Love/Hate relationship with the Skyhawk sisters. On one hand, I adore them and their crazy antics (they're fun chicks to be around) but, on the other hand, they can be so childish and downright cruel/crazy that I think 'Oh, crap, they're baaaaack' when they show up in the books. Gwen's story (The Darkest Whisper) is my least favorite of the series. I actually liked Bianka's short story (The Darkest Angel) and I'm a huge Lysander fan!!! I'm anxious to see all the Skyhawk sisters mated with their consorts--Taliyah the Cold-Hearted is the only one left to find her man!!! And I really didn't like their mother, Tabitha the Vicious! Even though she sided with Kaia in the end and finally respected her daughter, she lived up to her name. The woman was just plain vicious!
I loved how the Phoenix race was mentioned periodically throughout the book. Kaia's red hair matched the heat of her personality and the fire that ran through her veins perfectly! I wish the author wrote more about Neeka and the deal she and Taliyah made with the Phoenix men. Hopefully, that will be explored more in later books!
The only part that I really got upset with Kaia was when she attacked Haidee. I understand that Kaia was jealous over Strider's new-found friendship with and acceptance of the other woman (when he wouldn't agree to be her consort--aka boyfriend/husband/lover) but I just don't approve of when jealous women attack other women and not their wayward, flirtatious boyfriends. I also thought that Amun didn't stand up for Haidee enough when he just let Strider and a smug Kaia go off to the dance floor at the bar. Errrr.... it really irked me!
Another thing that bothered me was that Strider didn't want to be her consort and then, all of a sudden, he changed his mind because he couldn't control his sexual needs anymore. It didn't seem like a smooth enough transition. He fought himself for so long and then just up and changed his mind after she was injured a few times during the Harpy Games. I guess he finally realized that he found a good thing and was too afraid to lose her.
One of my favorite minor characters was Lazarus. Even when he murdered an untold number of Harpys in the beginning of the book, I had a feeling he was a good guy deep down. (Yeah, I know what you're thinking if you haven't read the book. A mass murderer is a good guy? Seriously? Yep, seriously!) Hmmmm... I so want to cuddle this hunk of man and kiss all his wounds! He better come back to life!!! After all, with the Paring Rod now in the Lords's custody (and he soul trapped in the Rod), they should be able to figure something out.
So happy to see more of Zacharel and Lysander! I HEART the angels!
Personally, my favorite parts were with Paris, William and Kane.
I'm anxious to finally read Paris's book. (This fangirl has been waiting YEARS! Haven't we all?) I feel so bad for this sweet, sexy man. He's depressed, a drug addict and willing to use/abuse his body and sleep with whoever he has to for info regarding Sienna. He's determined to save the woman he's obsessed with even at the cost of his own pride, health and life. He's the ultimate bad-boy hero!
I'm so worried about William and Kane! We, the readers, don't know what happened to William by the end of the book other than the fact that the Hunters knocked him unconscious and have captured him. Kane was transported into Hell by the Hunters. I'm dying to know what happens! Does he meet White, the female Horseman that William thinks he's going to fall in love with? If so, is she also the Keeper of Irresponsibility that the Fates believe is the woman he's going to fall in love with? Errrrr, there's so many questions!
All-in-all, I liked this book a lot but there were a few instances that just bored me so much that I had to put the book down for a while. It took over four days for me to finish this book. That's not good for me when I had nothing else to do.
3 1/2 Stars!
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