Sunday, July 1, 2012

Review of WICKED NIGHTS by Gena Showalter

Wicked Nights
(Angels of the Dark #1)
by Gena Showalter
Revised Review

Wicked Nights by Gena Showalter
Release Date: June 26, 2012
Publisher: Harlequin HQN
Length: 416 pages

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Rating: 4.5♥s Very Good/Recommended
Sensuality: Mild
Cover Rating: 4.0♥s
Genre: Paranormal Romance/Angel

Redemption or Downfall?

Zacharel is a cold, unfeeling warrior angel. He allowed humans to be killed during his battles with demons once too often. As punishment, he is to lead an army of rebellious, rejected angels for a year. He is to teach them the respect, discipline, and sanctity for human life that he has yet to learn himself. If his warriors fail, he will suffer their consequences. At the end of the year, they will all either be allowed to stay in the heavens or lose their wings.

Annabelle Miller witnessed her parents' deaths at the hands of a demon--a demon that only she could see. Accused of the crime and committed to a mental institution for life, she is constantly attacked by demons. When Zacharel's army is called to attack a hoard of demons around the institution, he discovers that Annabelle is the draw for the demons. A crack opens in his ice, and he rescues her.

But will she be his redemption, or his downfall?  

Wicked Nights is the first book in the Angels of the Dark series, a spin-off of the Lords of the Underworld series. Fans of the Lords of the Underworld series will recognize Zacharel from that series, most recently from Paris's story, The Darkest Seduction. If you liked him in Lords of the Underworld, you'll love him in Wicked Nights because the greatest strength of the book is its characters. Zacharel starts out cold and tortured, but his character's journey throughout the book is poignant and powerful as he learns to truly live from Annabelle. Annabelle was abused by humans and demons alike, and yet she retained her basic love of life and her sassy spirit. She's an absolute delight who thaws the "Winged Wonder" with her warmth. Gena Showalter's signature humor shines in Annabelle, though Zacharel does learn to "make a funny" or two.

I don't want to spoil too much of the plot. Let's just say that Zacharel had shut down his emotions because of a tragedy in his past. Annabelle is pursued by minions of a high demon who marked her as his own. (Even saying that is giving away a bit much, but it's integral to the story.) The demons continue to pursue Zacharel and Annabelle after he rescues her from the institution, which propels the plot forward. A heartbreaking twist will surprise you.

I felt that at times the book took on a preachy tone. An overall theme of good versus evil, of humans choosing to listen to demons rather than rejecting them, pervades the book. Even Zacharel's description of the Lords of the Underworld, some of whom make cameo appearances, took on a moral overtone. I suppose that's appropriate from an angel's perspective, but it seemed out of character for the Lords. I don't mean to offend anyone--you might find the book uplifting and inspiring.

Again, I believe that the strength of the book lies in the characters. Read it for the funny, bittersweet, action-packed, self-sacrificing, loving interactions between Zacharel and Annabelle.

Koldo's story, Beauty Awakened, is up next in early 2013.

Happy Reading!

1 comment:

  1. I didn't know there was a spin off of the Lords of the Underworld sereis. How did I miss this? I know it wasn't intentional because I love Gena Showalter! I will have to check out the Angels of the Dark sereis! Thanks for posting the review! =D