LoveSpell, $6.99, ISBN 978-0-505-52702-8
Fantasy Romance, 2007
The Darkening follows Jennifer Ashley’s The Calling and is the second book in the series Immortals. Naturally, if you want to know what the series is about, you can always check out the review of The Calling for the 101.
All I can say about this one is that I love the previous book much, much more. That book does a pretty good job balancing sex and fantasy so that the story isn’t some insipid excuse for the characters to have sex or dwell on sex to a ridiculous degree. In this book, however, I end up thinking that we would have avoided much of the problems that occur in the story if we have cheerfully lobotomized the characters so that they can never ever have sex or even think about sex in the story.
Our Immortal, Darius, spent the last 700 years in Ravenscroft. Who knows what he does in that time, watch reality TV shows non-stop I suppose, but he’s definitely not having sex with his mother Sekhmet like what nasty people would like you to believe. Sure, Sekhmet is an Egyptian goddess and you know all these gods and goddesses – always sleeping with their fathers, brothers, sons, and grandsons – and Darius’s breath catches whenever he sees his mother because she’s so beautiful and what-not, but Sekhmet has cast a spell on Darius so that he will never feel horny or anything while in Ravenscroft. Why would Sekhmet do such a thing? I suspect it’s because Ms Popp’s editor read the first version of the story and called up Ms Popp to ask whether the hero is sleeping with his mother.
Since the last book, witches have been performing the Calling and Darius nearly responds to one before the transmission, let’s just say, is intercepted by the bad guys. Concerned, he decides to defy his mother and go out of his home to the world in case there are demons or something. Mommy dearest, clutching at straws – or wire hangers, perhaps – that her son may fall in love with some disgusting not-Mommy person and never come back to her, casts a spell on him so that when he experiences an orgasm, he also experiences amnesia.
Naturally, we will need a heroine who is either mentally impaired or too desperate to care to consider marrying such a hero that comes with that kind of mother. Here’s Lexi Corvin, our werewolf heroine. Because it’s the full moon during this story, she’s always in heat. Darius shows up in her life due to the Calling spell and he believes that there is a reason why he is sent to her. Perhaps the demon bad guy is nearby? They have better investigate then! Let’s see, maybe they should look into that sex club. Or that sex club. Or how about that sex club? Or this one? That one?
This story never moves above the waistband of the characters’ underpants, it seems, because everything eventually zones back towards the characters’ private parts. Only, in this story sex leads to all kinds of annoying troubles like the hero getting amnesia or some useless secondary characters needing rescue after they stupidly run off to have sex with some bad goons, so at the end of the day I find myself wishing that someone would neuter these people or something so that they will behave and stay out of trouble.
The Darkening is supposed to be a sexy urban fantasy tale but I suspect Ms Popp gets the wrong idea that she is supposed to be writing some insipid “the plot doesn’t matter, just get everybody all shagged up!” porn tale for an indiscriminate erotic romance publisher or something. Trouble is afoot when the best thing that can happen to these characters is a lobotomy.