My review of The Darkest Warrior!
The Darkest Warrior is the story of Puck, who harbors the demon of indifference, and Gillian, a former human girl who was in love with William. Now, I have not read every book in this series, so I have not been as privy to the build up of the Gillian/William love story. This is important because this book ends that idea! For me, it didn't matter because I wasn't that invested in them as a couple (and what little I have gotten on William in previous stories, I was not really a fan of!). Puck's brother has turned into a monster and is destroying their homeland. Puck knows he must fulfill the prophecy and kill Sin (his brother). In order to do that, he needs a wife (enter Gillian) and help from William. I loved Puck. He was so devoted to his brother (before indifference) and that bond was amazing. He put everything before Sin and then Sin betrayed him. Prior to indifference, Puck had imagined having one woman to love forever. It was kind of sweet! Once plagued by indifference, he not only had to suppress ANY emotions, he grew horns and hooves. He became unable to rid himself of the horns and hooves. He still had access to magic though. Gillian had a miserable life. She was sexually abused by her stepfather (and others) until she ran away. She is about to turn 18 and wants to be with William. She loves him and is pretty sure he loves her. But, William has put Gillian firmly in the 'friend zone' and continued to sleep with other girls. Then, days before her 18th birthday, she gets sick and is on her death bed. Enter Puck, to save the day (and her life). This leads to serious changes in her life in many ways. I liked getting to see her come into her own. She needed to feel empowered and free. I actually wanted to see her away from William. I think she was much stronger and braver than she thought she was and used William as kind of a shield. I also think it was critical that she had all that time away from both Puck and William. She learned who she was and really grew up. She was only 18 at the start of the book-while she had had lots of horrible life events, she was still a young girl and not ready for the real world yet. I thought the way Showalter handled the plot to give Gillian some time to grow up was interesting and worked perfectly for the story. As I said, having not invested in the entire series, I didn't have super strong feelings about Gillian and William being together. Honestly, I wasn't a big fan of William anyway, so I actually enjoyed that this book took them on different paths. I loved Puck and thought he was a very well written character. Showalter has a way of taking demons and making them relatable.
Puck eased into the room, silent, and padded forward. Wait. Had he remembered to dress today? A quick glance down revealed his sheepskin pants had been torn so much they resembled a loincloth. No matter. Barbarian chic really made his horns pop and fit the whole romance-novel-hero mystique he’d hoped to convey. He might even pass for Prince Charming—well, a prince in need of true love’s kiss. Puck’s pulse points spun into a wild rhythm when he reached the side of the bed and spied his future bride. He wasn’t the only fairy-tale character in the room. Sleeping beauty lies before me. Dark ribbons of hair spilled over the pale pink of the pillow. Her eyes were closed, long black lashes throwing shadows over her cheeks. A rosy flush spread over her delicate features as she parted her lips. Practically begging for my kiss. Focus! Keep this short and sweet. No telling when William would return. “Gillian,” he rasped, surprised by the husky tone of his voice. A sweet fragrance wafted from her. Breathing in, he detected a note of poppiberries, and his head fogged. His blood heated. The butterfly tattoo sizzled on his torso, surely melting his skin. Indifference snarled with more force and slashed at his mind. Trouble brewed. Fortify ice. Regain control. Gillian turned her head toward him and blinked rapidly before focusing on him. Panic filled her whiskey-colored eyes before she looked away—anywhere but Puck. Her mouth opened wide, as if she was trying to scream. Only a squeak escaped. “There’ll be none of that now.” To prove himself harmless, he tucked the covers around her, as he’d seen William do. “I’m not here to hurt you.” Truth. The movement caused the razors woven into his hair to clink together, drawing her attention. Her gaze darted to him and darkened with shock and dismay. He swallowed a curse. Romance novel heroes didn’t usually smuggle weapons in their hair. Must proceed anyway. Puck wouldn’t part with his razors; they were his saving grace. Anytime he was challenged, and had no sword or dagger, he plucked a razor free and started slashing. Tears rained down Gillian’s cheeks, and her chin trembled. So vulnerable. So broken. A pang of...something lanced his chest. As gently as possible, he wiped her tears away. Skin as soft as silk and hotter than the sun. The action helped relax her, even as it hardened muscle after muscle inside him. Her panic began to fade—until her gaze snagged on the loincloth. Or rather, the erection underneath the loincloth. With a whimper, she began to thrash atop the bed in a desperate bid to escape. Thought he would take what she had not offered? Never. “Eyes up here, lass.” Her gaze lifted up, up...she gasped, as if she’d noticed his face for the very first time. Confusion contorted her features before a deeper shade of rose spilled over her cheeks. Did she like what she saw?
The three were woven together long before they were aware, strands of spun, silken steel that could not be separated—not even when their fate insisted upon it.
Brothers, born on the same day, in the same hour, at the same minute to different women. The high-priced courtesan. The seamstress. The soldier’s widow. Born on the same day, in the same hour, at the same minute to the same man.
The duke, their father, whose arrogance and cruelty fate would punish without hesitation, stealing from him the only thing he wanted that his money and power could not buy—an heir.
It is the Ides of March the seers warn of, with its promise of betrayal and vengeance, of shifting fortune and inalienable providence. But for this sire—who was never more than that, never close to father—it was the Ides of June that would be his ruin.
Because on that same day, in that same hour, at that same minute, there was a fourth child, born to a fourth woman. To a duchess. And it was this birth—the birth all the world thought legitimate—that the duke attended, even as he knew the son who was to be his heir in name and fortune and future was not his own and still, somehow, was his only hope.
Except she was a daughter.
And with her first breath, she thieved future from them all, as powerful in her infancy as she would become in her womanhood. But hers is a story for another time.
This story begins with the boys.
See full review on The Book Disciple