Beauty Awakened is the second in the Angels of the Dark series, a spinoff of the Lords of the Underworld series by Gena Showalter. And, well, it wasn’t exactly a source of warm shiny light.
As we learned previously, Zach was given a year to reform his band of angels. The upcoming war between the titans and Greek gods and the Diety will require the services of all. We also knew that Koldo’s mother cut off his wings, but we didn’t know why. Now we do: Koldo is only half angel and his other half is demon because his mother was raped. So, his mother hates him. We open with a chapter where Koldo is a young boy, just trying to get some attention and love from his mother, but she is a hateful awful angel. I think its enough to say that she cuts off his wings and dumps him with his father. And his father is pure evil. So… now he is in the Army of Disgrace and faced with fighting demons. He happens upon Nicola and her sister Laila in a hospital and Koldo can see that they are both being directed by demons. He instantly feels a connection to Nicola and he decides to try to save her – and by extension then he needs to try to save twin sister Laila. Meanwhile, during his teaching he and Nicola fall in love.
The cut to the chase is the same here as with all in this genre – Koldo and Nicola do find a way to be together. He manages to teach her how to fight off demons. So well in fact, that she too becomes part of the “good army” – sword and all. Lalia on the other hand, succumbs to the demons, in part because Koldo who has now sacrificed his wings for Lalia (because of Nicola’s begging) is captured and looses the water of life he sacrificed his wings for.
This preachy, not-at-all-steamy, lame reason for less steaminess (really, Nicola passes out because of her heart condition? REALLY???), all sorts of attempts to show off what must be the author’s new found religion… is, well… mediocre at best. Where’s all the great stuff that the LOU brought us and made me love to read Showalter’s stuff go? If this is what’s in store for the next LOU or AoD installment – yikes!
This is terrible. I adored the Lords series. And I liked the first installment here. But what seems to be happening here is illustrative of a trend in the PNR category – these books are getting softer, less steamy, more preach, more theological, and less fun. Don’t get me wrong, there’s romance. And since there are angels involved, there is a certain expectation that there will be some theology. But the preachiness and PG rating are getting to be a bore. Not to mention, I felt like I was in Sunday school, being not just lectured but hit over the head with the notions of how to keep demons at bay. Where’d the Gena Showalter I used to love go? Ack!
If you want a weak female lead, a ton of bible thumping, action so quick its over before you notice it, a lot of build up to virtually nothing (talk about frustrating!!!), then this installment is for you! There are hints and tie ins to what will presumably be other installments down the line (which everyone knows I will probably read anyway since it take a lot of terrible in a lot of installments to get me to finally quit a series) but I am not betting on improvement since a lot of these PNR authors (especially those who are trying out YA too) are totally loosing their edge. And there are sooo very many little did-bits to have to keep track of, I am grateful for my own blog (how shameful is that) because I am absolutely positive I would not remember any of these little details later. The quips between the male characters made me chuckle but that was the only thing to keep me awake and remotely interested, and that’s sad. PNR should have other things to keep my attention too. Koldo was interesting and had promise, but he too came across fairly flat and boring, even with his tortured history. To have him passed out throughout most of the end of the book – totally lame.
This book was yet another reminder as to how much I miss the “old” PNR stuff (and old is relative because this really all started about 2 years ago I guess). I miss the things the first few LOU books had to offer. I was hoping that would carry through to this series – but maybe the author got stuck in the YA genre she entered into with the Intertwined series (which I admit I have not read, but it is clearly in the “YA” category). I can only hope that the references to William (whose appearance was a nice treat) might signal a return to the things that made the LOU universe so awesome.