Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Darkest Fire Review

As a prequel to her new Lords of the Underworld series, which is completely rolling now (though I've only read the novella and the first book so far), Gena Showalter released this short novella about how the demon lords were trapped in Pandora's box, but the mention of said box and said demon lords is really minor. This is a stand-alone story about the goddess of oppression - Kadence, the gate-keeper of hell - Geryon, and their unlikely romance.

I've read some other reviews of this story, and while I can agree with some of the points made, as a writer who has done both novel-length and novella-length pieces, I have to comment in Ms. Showalter's defense - novellas are hard. Especially if you're a novelist. I think the other readers must have been expecting a novel's worth of story. I found the pacing and the plot to move along as a novella should. It kept me engaged all the way through and was a quick read. The characterizations were good and the setting was painted vividly for me.

The love story developed between the two characters was sweet and endearing, and their coupling, though brief, was very steamy. I did think the ending was a bit anti-climactic, but I took this story as a 'taste' of a new world, so it didn't bother me much. It's the first of Ms. Showalter's work I've read, and I have since read the first book and purchased the others. That said, this one didn't spike my 'wow' meter in any particular way. I give it a solid 3 Bleeding Hearts.

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