Genre: light sci-fi romance
In a universe where corruption and deception rule the day, sparks of rebellion ignite.
Who to trust…
For one man’s greed, Zarya’s entire family was murdered. As a Resistance leader, she must topple the government that forced her to grow up alone on the back streets of hell. Zarya’s right hand is a mysterious man with a dark secret. His name is Darling Cruel, and he is heir to the government Zarya wants to overthrow. Like Zarya, he wants his uncle – who murdered his father and stole his crown – to pay for his crimes.
When the hero becomes the monster?
Zarya is the only person Darling has ever trusted. Yet when she allows a weapon he designed for her to be used against his beloved sister, all bets are off. Now Darling wants not only to reign, but to kill every Resistance member. Zarya is the only one capable of stopping him. But can she reach past his insanity to restore the hero who once fought by her side?
There is no one who can write tortured heroes like Sherrilyn Kenyon and what she did to Darling really made me sick. It stopped reading for over a week at a certain moment. In comparison Zarya looked like a spoiled brat complaining about imagined slights and threatening Darling with some things, knowing full well what has happened to him. I really, really disliked her at those moments.
Darling has suffered at the hands of his uncle for decades, especially after he saved his mother’s life by claiming her lover was his own. Being gay is not something tolerated in this world, and that is the second thing that really kept throwing me. How could a whole civilization condemn Darling for that, make cruel jokes and hate him blindly.
Lucky for Darling, he has one very close friend who is really gay, who stands by him. As do his friends at the Sentella, who come to his rescue when the Resistance has kidnapped him, and have been torturing him for months. Months Zarya has been searching for her lost lover, not once guessing he is her own prisoner.
After so many years of brutal torment, being betrayed by Zarya was the last straw for Darling. Something broke inside him. He has killed his uncle with his bare hands, killed all the guards who have abused and tortured him since he was a child at his uncles command, and gone after the doctors and nurses in the mental institutions his uncle put him in to be abused some more. He has hot wired himself, his palace and his city with bombs, so no one will dare to kill him for fear those bombs will go off. And Darling, or his alter ego Kere of the Sentella, is brilliant when it comes to weapons and explosives.
His friend Maris is despairing, and finally sets out to find Zarya, as she will be the only one who can bring back Darling’s sanity…
I really felt for Darling, I have never read anything worse than what has happened to him. I really had trouble continuing this book, but Sherrilyn Kenyon is a really compelling story teller. In the end I had to know what would happen next.
Darling is a very honorable character, always protecting his family even though they despise him, and wanting the best for his people, who also hate him. His uncle sure did a great job blackening his name. But he was still a child! So how could they all believe that about him?
I did enjoy meeting all the previous main characters in this series, when they came to Darling’s aid a few times. Zarya did really love Darling, and when she finally realized Darling and Kere are the same person, she was horrified by her own actions and of those under her command. I liked the parts where Darling took charge of his empire and really ruled, outwitting his enemies.
I really am not sure if I will read more books by Sherrilyn Kenyon though. She goes too far with the torture and abuse, while her heroines remain unscathed for the most part. The worldbuilding is also kind of simple and with unexplained technology, travelling from planet to station to planet in a matter of hours or less. The only part that is sci-fi is mentioning the different races, planets and interstellar politics, but nothing is really elaborated on. Yes I am a bit disappointed.
© 2014 Reviews by Aurian