Leader of the most powerful army in the heavens, Zacharel has been deemed too dangerous, too ruthless, and if he isn’t careful, he’ll lose his wings. But this warrior with a heart of ice will not be deterred… until a vulnerable human tempts him with a carnal pleasure he’s never before known.
Accused of a crime she did not commit, Annabelle Miller has spent four years in an institution for the criminally insane. Demons track her every move, and their king will stop at nothing to have her. Zacharel is her only hope for survival, but is the brutal angel with a touch as hot as hell her salvation-or her ultimate damnation?
Wicked Nights is the first book in Showalter’s new spinoff series, Angels of the Dark. This series is set in the same world as the Lords of the Underworld. When I read this book, it was my first time reading anything Gena Showalter, and I was way impressed by the time I finished. Typically, you would need to have read the first series in order to really understand the spinoff. This wasn’t the case with Wicked Nights. There were a few characters from Lords of the Underworld, but I managed just fine without any background.
I had a lot of fun reading this book. Angels have become pretty popular in paranormal romance lately and it’s pretty easy to get lost in the crowd. Thankfully, Showalter has managed to avoid using the same old tropes and has created a fascinating universe for her stories. Zacharel is our leading man, and he’s an angel. Unfortunately, he’s not really an angel of the cuddly variety. After a few fairly traumatic experiences, including the mercy killing of his twin brother, Zacharel is cold as ice. Emotions are a human weakness, and he is beyond such things. He fulfills his duty of killing demons and doesn’t let anything stand in his way. So what if a few stray humans get caught in the crossfire? He’s doing his job. However, Zacharel’s boss doesn’t really see it that way, and Zacharel is placed in charge of an army of unruly angels. He has a year to whip them into shape… or else. Enter Annabelle Miller. Annabelle’s life for the past four years has basically been one big ol’ shit storm. As if witnessing a demon killing her parents wasn’t bad enough, after the demon disappeared, Annabelle was considered the only suspect, and tried and convicted for her parents’ murder. She’s been languishing in an institution for the criminally insane ever since.
Annabelle and Zacharel meet one evening after a gigantic battle between the angels and demons takes place above the asylum. Annabelle has gotten used to taking care of herself for the past four years, so some bossy guy with wings telling her what to do does not go over well. And Zacharel is used to people doing what he tells them and not having to explain himself. He’s also not used to feeling things-things like anger, amusement, affection, lust. Yup, lust is a new one to our virginal hero and he’s not quite sure how to deal with it.
Gena Showalter’s writing in this book was just brilliant. She takes the simplest of sentences and makes them really powerful just through her wording. I was also quite impressed with how she managed to avoid any swearing. It’s obviously not something that bothers me but, in a genre filled with authors perfectly comfortable with dropping f-bombs all over the place, it was refreshing to have the worst word thrown out being “damn”. The characters also made for a welcome change from the typical paranormal romance protagonists. I mean, having the hero be a virgin? I’m pretty sure that was a first for me. And Annabelle was a good mix of tough and vulnerable. She wasn’t so bent on being a badass that she was stupid, and she also refrained from being a big whiny mess. She was well-rounded, and I liked her a lot.
I’m really quite keen on reading more of this series. Showalter really is a talented writer and she’s fast becoming one of my favourites.