Saturday, October 15, 2011

Early Review Lord of the Abyss (Royal House of Shadows, #4) by Nalini Singh

Lord of the Abyss (Royal House of Shadows, #4)

     "Once upon a time," she began as he poured Jissa's pretty-making lotion onto his palm, there were three princlings and one princess. They were named Nicolai--" 
      A kick of his heart, his mind burning as his hands worked the lotion into Liliana's tangled locks, the sharp points of his armor having retracted themselves.
      "--Dayn, Breena, and--"
     "--Micah," he found himself saying, his hands fisting in her hair. "The third prince must be called Micah. You will do this."
When the royal kingdom of Elden was overtaken by the Blood Sorcerer, Micah, the youngest member of the royal family, was only 5. When his parents cast their spell in an attempt to save their children, the Blood Sorcerer cast a spell of his own to make the children forget who they were. Only his daughter, Liliana, knew he thought he'd failed, and he had with all except for Micah. When she entered the Black Castle and met it's master she instantly recognized the man who was now the Lord of the Abyss. It was Micah.

You would think being the child of the Blood Sorcerer would allow her to be safe from his cruelty, but such was not the case. The Blood Sorcerer only loved himself and saw Liliana as just another possession. He abused her and attempted to mold her into what he wanted. Finally, she gathered up her courage and used her magic to escape from him. She'd meant to travel beyond his reach, but ended up at the Black Castle. Upon seeing Micah, she knew what she needed to do. She needed to help him remember who he was and what had transpired. It was her and the kingdom of Elden's only hope to escape the cruelty of her father. She just hoped she was up to the task. "For those he bespelled rarely, if ever, broke through the veil and found themselves again."

This was the fourth and final book in the Royal House of Shadows Quartet. Finally, we learn what happened to Micah and how the tetralogy ends. As the series progressed, we found out more and more of what happened that fateful day when the beloved King and Queen of Elden were murdered and how the spells cast truly intertwined and reacted with each other. I believe this was done so we'd only know what the character whose story we were dealing with knew or believed. In this book, Nalini puts her own spin on 'Beauty and the Beast' and weaves a fun and enchanting story.

Micah, in some ways, reminded me a bit of Singh's Psy characters from her Psy/Changeling series. Due to his being whisked away from his parents and separated from most people at such an early age, he seems cold because he doesn't know how to act or react around others. I loved how Liliana kept telling him he shouldn't say certain things and he'd respond that he could say anything he wanted because he was Lord of the castle.

I enjoyed how Liliana stood up to Micah, and he liked it. His appearance coupled with his demeanor would be enough to frighten just about anyone away. His description said he was handsome, but "his eyes were full of nightmares" and he wore impenetrable black armor with "gauntlets over his forearms that extended to his hands in spiderwebs of black. A spray of razors rode over his knuckles, while his fingers were tipped with bladed claws the same shade as his armor." I liked that what attracted Micah to Liliana was that she didn't cower from him, and that he wasn't put off by her appearance which was described as being "mismatched". "Though her skin was a smooth golden brown that reminded him of honey from the redblossom tree, her eyes were tiny dots a peculiar sort to nowhere color and her mouth much too big, her hooked nose overwhelming every other feature."

The chemistry between the two was hot and steamy. I couldn't help sympathizing with Liliana for worrying Micah's feeling for her would change. Revealing to Micah that she was the daughter of the man who killed his parents would not be an easy task. Plus, after a life of being belittled for her looks, she couldn't help but feel a bit self conscious and have a low self esteem. They were just what the other needed. *sigh*

Nalini added some interesting creatures into the story that I really enjoyed. The idea of the abyss was creative. She has such a wild and vivid imagination. Plus, I thought the armor being a seemingly living part of Micah, an extension if you will, was a nice touch. I think a portion of what sets apart a great writer from a good writer is a great imagination and the interesting details they pour into the descriptions and the story. Nalini is definitely a master of both. If you haven't tried one of her books, you are truly missing out.

On the Lisarenee Romance Rating Scale, this one gets a SHOWER rating - a warning label should be be attached which states you should make sure your significant other is handy or your shower is in working order because a cold shower may be necessary when reading this book. Need I say more? Overall, I gave this one 4 1/2 out of 5 roses. I would have liked Micah's siblings to have played a bigger role in the overtaking of the Blood Sorcerer, but I'm guessing that would have been a difficult thing to achieve since this was a joint, yet somewhat separate, project among this very talented group of authors.

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