Author: Gena Showalter
Series: Otherworld Assassin #1
The Verdict: ★★★★
For: Lovers of Gena’s Alien Huntress series
Genres: Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy
Publication details: December 26th, 2012 by Pocket Books
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 436 pages
All images link back to their respective Goodreads page
This review contains some unhidden SPOILERS!!
Book Synopsis: The breathtaking first novel in New York Times best selling author Gena Showalter’s new paranormal romance series, Otherworld Assassins, featuring a black ops agent who is captured and enslaved…and the beautiful deaf girl who holds the key to his salvation…
THE SWEETEST TEMPTATION…
Black ops agent Solomon Judah awakens caged and bound in a twisted zoo where otherworlders are the main attraction. Vika Lukas, the owner’s daughter, is tasked with Solo’s care and feeding. The monster inside him yearns to kill her on sight, even though she holds the key to his escape. But the human side of him realizes the beautiful deaf girl is more than she seems—she’s his.
THE ULTIMATE PRICE…
Vika endures the captives’ taunts and loathing, hoping to keep them alive even if she can’t free them. Only, Solo is different—he protects her. But as hostility turns to forbidden romance, his feelings for her will be used against him…and he’ll be put to a killer test.
My review: My first thoughts on Last Kiss Goodnight was that it was a touch darker than Gena’s other work – which to be fair, are occasionally, dark in their own right – LKG however, was darker in all aspects. The book opens with Vika Lukas tending to her circus animals and trying to set them free of the circus; her father – Jecis – catches her and kills them all and forces Vika to shoot her injured lion One Day. One Day becomes a sort of mantra for Vika in the time before and the time after the deaths of her animals.
Jecis decides that normal animals are not drawing enough money and visitors to the circus and decides to use Otherworlders as the attractions – by any means necessary to get them. You can sense the evil just emanating from Jecis even in the prologue and the extents he went to to make sure that Vika didn’t leave him – it’s an abusive relationship between father and daughter to the point of Jecis deafens his daughter as punishment. He’s not a nice character at all.
Solomon “Solo” Judah is an Otherworld Assassin – an Allorian to be precise, a species that not a lot of people know about and he is considered a monster due to his appearance when enraged. He is an assassin who kills for the government but not quite for the government, Solo is captured after a meeting with his handler Michael, and his colleagues and friends Corbin Blue and John No Name. A bomb explodes and everyone is separated and Solo becomes the newest attraction in Cirque du Monstres.
From here on out the relationship builds between Solo and Vika. It’s slow to begin with, coupled with various threats from Solo towards Vika and from the other captives towards Vika – she’s doing her best to keep them alive even if they are trapped in cages and when you consider how they’re treated by Jecis and Matas (another dark magic wielding maniac who has a hard-on for Vika) and the others at the Circus,, Vika puts up with a lot. The biggest saving grace in this aspect is that she can’t hear the things that the Otherworlders want to do to her or what the other Circus performers/workers say about her.
The fact that her father is a dark-magic wielding psychopath with a penchant for abusing women and Otherworlders is the only thing that keeps Vika safe – the others are not willing to risk Jecis’ wrath to cause her harm. This changes later on in the book when it becomes clear that Solo has claimed her – mentally if not physically – even Jecis realises that there is a link between Vika and Solo and after Matas injures Vika in anger he shoves Vika in Solo’s cage with a demand that he make her hate him.
Solo has to maintain extreme control over his temper as the handcuffs he has around his wrists are imbedded in his skin and when he gets angry they release a sedative into his bloodstream and if he tries to escape they will activate a blade that will chop his hands off (and all the other Otherworlders) later after his first escape his cuffs are changed to ones that will activate the blade if his bones lengthen as they do when he shifts shape.
The book itself is much darker and less sexier than Gena’s other work, that’s not to say there isn’t sexual tension abounding or no sex scene whatsoever but it isn’t until the final third of the book that this happens. When it does, it’s so sweet – Solo promised Vika he’d give her all that he is and with his species that is a literal binding vow and she gets her hearing back in stops and starts whereas Solo gets her deafness. They are literally sharing everything that they are, it’s quite beautiful.
In terms of characters I loved both Vika and Solo, also Corbin Blue and John No Name (what little we heard from them and of them from Solo) but was not overly fond of Jecis and Matas and all I can say is their deaths were too swift for my liking.
I really liked X and to a lesser extent Dr E. X and Dr E. Are Solo’s companions and they are pretty much the good and bad side of his conscience (Dr E. is evil, X is good) when Solo goes towards the evil side X gets weaker and the reverse happens if Solo goes more towards the good side. Dr E. was funny in his own way; he was the quintessential character who suffered with Napoleon Syndrome but he was evil to the core whereas X – bless him – was so nice it was hard to see why Solo wasn’t less aggressive at times then again, with Dr E. in your ear telling you to do bad things and he was persuasive.
I felt sorry for some of the Otherworlders in the cages the ones who were not overtly cruel to Vika but the ones who were not quite so pleasant I’d have left in the cage. Other secondary characters I felt were just as evil – Audra she was evil due to Jecis and Matas “helping” her into dark magic but I also feel that she was evil even before that influence as evidenced by the hatred towards Vika and another of their friends.
The setting itself was very well described and on par with Gena’s usual type, it has been said that during the writing of LKG, Gena was experiencing a dark time of her own and it is clear to see that this had an effect on her writing. Though a dark time is not always a bad thing, sometimes you have to go through the darkness to come into the light and the ending of LKG is very much that way – out of the long darkness and into the light and happiness. Very well written book, unlike what I’m used to from Gena but still very good; I promptly went and stole the second book from my best friend 😀