Monday, March 04, 2013

Review: Beauty Awakened by Gena Showalter

I was so eager to read Gena Showalter’s Beauty Awakened, the second book in her Angels of the Dark series, which is a spin-off of the Lords of the Underworld.

I read all nine of the Lords of the Underworld books this summer, one right after the other and was completely addicted.  I followed that with Wicked Nights, the first Angel of the Dark book, and was so sad when I realized it would be months before another book in either of the series was released.
When the gorgeous cover of Beauty Awakened was revealed, I was sure this book was going to be amazing.

But this book wasn’t amazing.  This book was not at all what I expected.  It wasn’t that I entirely disliked the story, but it wasn’t the story I was hoping to read.  It’s interesting and I am still fascinated by the world Showalter has created, but I’d been hoping for a return to the hot, sexy, steaminess I discovered this summer with the Lords of the Underworld.  Unfortunately, this book left me cold. 

I was uncomfortable with the heavy religious tone of this book.  There was so much talk about requesting assistance from the “Most High” and forgiveness and joy.  I got the impression this book was more about ideas, and less about the characters.  The two sisters in this book (they call themselves La La and Co Co, which made me cringe every time I read that) were born with weak hearts, but can supposedly be cured by being less fearful and adding more joy into their lives.  I found that a little offensive to the medical community or to anyone who has suffered from a heart condition.

My biggest issue though was the level of graphic violence in this book. In the Lords of the Underworld books, the violence is present, but it's implied, for example, you know Paris and Aeron are downstairs torturing hunters, but the details aren’t provided.  In this book, the violence is explicit, every cut, every drop of blood, every lash of the whip is explained in detail, but the sex is implied.   Why is that so often the case with religion?  Lots of violence and death and doom, but stay away from the sex, because you know, that's bad.  Sorry, but I very much prefer explicit sex to explicit violence.

I wouldn’t say this is a bad book and I feel so guilty giving this a bad review because I consider myself such a big fan.  But overall, I found it disappointing and feel as though this wasn’t written for the same fan base as Showalter’s earlier books.  That’s fine, an author should write what she feels the need to write.  But I wish there had been some sort of warning.  The sexy cover and the description is misleading in that it gives no indication that this book is so very different from what she usually writes.  It was as if the sexy book weekend I had planned morphed into a grim, violent church sermon, and that’s not my idea of fun times.