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Monday, December 12, 2011

Lord of the Abyss by Nalini Singh

Lord of the Abyss by Nalini Singh
Publisher: Harlequin
Genre: Action/Adventure, Paranormal, Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Length: Full Length (268 pgs)
Heat Level: spicy
Rating: 5 books
Reviewed by Xeranthemum

Once upon a time…the Blood Sorcerer vanquished the kingdom of Elden. To save their children, the queen scattered them to safety and the king filled them with vengeance. Only a magical timepiece connects the four royal heirs…and time is running out.…

As the dark Lord who condemns souls to damnation in the Abyss, Micah is nothing but a feared monster wrapped in impenetrable black armor. He has no idea he is the last heir of Elden, its last hope. Only one woman knows—the daughter of his enemy.

Liliana is nothing like her father, the Blood Sorcerer who'd cursed Micah. She sees past Micah's armor to the prince inside. A prince whose sinful touch she craves. But first she has to brave his dark, dangerous lair and help him remember.

Because they only have till midnight to save Elden.

I can’t believe the series is at and end with Lord of the Abyss, and I can’t even say they’ve saved the best for last because they were all awesome in their own unique way. This story of the last child of the king and queen was the most poignant and sweet. His saving and redemption had a higher importance than saving the kingdom and reuniting with his siblings. Micah’s story is also the most challenging of them all because unlike the rest, he has no family memories of any kind to trigger; he was too young when the Blood Sorcerer attacked all those years ago. But some things do seem to make their mark even in ones so tender in age and Ms. Singh’s use of those kinds of triggers was accurate, interesting and adorable.

The heroine turns out to be the most exciting of them all. She has to overcome not only her heritage but her visage. Ms. Singh is a genius because she reversed the Beauty and the Beast story and made it her own. Liliana’s father is the worst sort imaginable and even knowing that didn’t prepare me for how cruel, heartless and twisted he turned out to be. Lily, as Micah calls her, is actually a gem of a person with a heart of gold. Despite all that was done to her growing up, she kept her purity of heart intact. How she did it, I can’t even fathom. A lesser woman would have withered and died years ago, but a weak woman would never have had the gumption to tackle the Lord of the Abyss on his own turf.

I wanted to cuddle a big teddy bear or something as this story unfolded. Not because it was scary, though there is plenty of drama and suspense to grab a reader’s emotions. But because I couldn’t hug Micah. His character was written so well, I could feel the dearth of happiness in his life, his confusion when Lily started chipping away at the hardness of his heart and the small kernels of joy that he experienced while he slowly but surely fell in love with Lily. Out of all the books in the series, Micah is my favorite because in his reawakening, he was adorable. His enthusiasm was childlike - yet he was all man. His first forays into trusting another person were beautiful and heartwarming yet he was wise to know when not to trust someone. And he wasn’t afraid to explore the physical side of what was blossoming between him and Lily. He had great focus and stamina which made him an exciting partner for Lily. Before Micah, she’d been pretty much ignored or ‘tolerated’ and she also didn’t trust easily. Micah’s loving the heroine healed her right back. It was beautiful to watch.

The main overall story arc, the reclamation of the City of Elden, doesn’t take center stage as I thought it might. Nor were there any big productions of the siblings banning together in one big coordinated siege against the Blood Sorcerer. It just was. I was pleasantly surprised that the book continued the tradition of this series and remained a perfect standalone read. Its primary focus was on the bumps and bruises of the growing relationship between Micah and Liliana. The resolving of the overall conflict does get dealt with in a most satisfactory way but the author perfectly balanced it with the romance between the two main protagonists. It’s a well told tale that tied up all the loose ends and insured a reader’s belief that all the children of the old king and queen of Elden have achieved their happily ever afters in a kingdom freed of evil and torment.

Lord of the Abyss defines what makes a fairy tale stand the test of time. It has Good triumphing over a seemingly undefeatable evil and the hero gets the girl. But just when I thought there could be no more surprises, Ms. Singh saved the best for last. It was an awesome little twist and quite humorous in its delivery. This story is romantic, delightful and gripping. My emotions were engaged, the characters well developed and even the secondary characters of the castle were full of charm and personality. That includes the mouse. I’m sad to see the end of what has turned out to be the most entertaining trilogy I’ve read in a long time. I highly recommend the Royal House of Shadows series to readers and fans of paranormal or fantasy romances. It’s pure satisfaction and entertainment.