Lord of the Abyss
Grade : A

A marvelous stand-alone Beauty-and-the-Beast fantasy (or maybe Beast-and-the-Beauty, or perhaps just Beast-and-Beast?) by an author who really knows her way around the supernatural? Yes, yes, yes!

Twenty years ago, the kingdom of Elden fell to the vile Blood Sorcerer. Before dying, the queen cast a spell to transport her four children out the palace in order to save their lives, but the Sorcerer interfered and affected the spell. The fourth and youngest of the Elden royals, Micah, was cast into the Abyss, where he became the Lord responsible for ensuring that the most evil souls go there and stay there. Now, Liliana, the daugher of the Blood Sorcerer, has come to the Abyss to help Micah recover his memories and return to Elden in time to help his siblings defeat the Sorcerer.

From the clock ticking to midnight to the dark enchanted castle, Singh clearly draws on Beauty and the Beast tropes for this story, but she goes beyond the formula. In some ways, Lord of the Abyss is Beast and the Beauty, since Liliana is incredibly ugly – Micah is gorgeous, or at least he is in the parts that aren’t covered with magical black armor. In other ways, it’s Beast and Beast, since Liliana and Micah have very dark powers. Micah, as mentioned, deals with pure evil; Liliana, like her father, has blood magic. As a child under his compulsion and subject to ghastly punishments, she didn’t limit herself to using her own blood. I loved that Singh takes the best elements of Beauty and the Beast, like the isolation, the curse, and the gradual blossoming of trust and attraction transcending looks, and leaves out what feels dated or rarely works (salvation by beautiful innocence, a sweet heroine out of her weight class with a grim and tortured hero).

Micah and Liliana’s relationship is compelling and rich, especially for such a short format. Micah first falls for Liliana because of her fearless eye contact. Watching her defrost him by unlocking his memories (especially through food) is enjoyable. I believed that he’d be attracted to Liliana for her personality and her ability to see him as a full person, including the lost child, and not just as a titillating dark figure. Both characters are virgins, and their joint experimentation is delightful and authentic. Micah, in particular, charms with his playfulness. Plus, the characters only have sex when there’s time to spare  – for instance, having to wait for sunrise to travel safely in dangerous country – instead of being those loonies who boink in caves while being hunted by vampires. Hurray!

There is a Big Mis of sorts, but the characters handle it like what they are: mature adults who have seen much worse and know what a real problem looks like.

This is the fourth book in the Royal House of Shadows series, but the only one written by Singh. I haven’t read the others but that wasn’t a problem, and as the siblings were all cast into different realms, so the worldbuilding in Micah’s book is completely independent. Since what makes Lord of the Abyss special isn’t likely to be duplicated in a book with different characters, different setting, and different writers, and since the overall Sorcerer conflict is resolved in this book’s final battle, I probably won’t bother to seek out the others. However, if you plan to read the series, you might not want to start with this one.

You can buy this book in two Kindle editions – one that is just Lord of the Abyss, and one that includes a contemporary also by Singh called Desert Warrior. They’re currently the same price, which makes Desert Warrior free, and having read it, that’s about the right price (it’s a completely forgettable sheikh story). How you want to buy Lord of the Abyss is up to you. Just make sure you buy it!

Buy Now: A/BN/iB/K

Lord of the Abyss and Desert Warrior: A/BN/iB/K

Grade: A

Book Type: Fantasy Romance

Sensuality: Warm

Review Date : June 18, 2017

Publication Date: 12/2011

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Caroline Russomanno

I'm a history geek and educator, and I've lived in five different countries in North America, Asia, and Europe. In addition to the usual subgenres, I'm partial to YA, Sci-fi/Fantasy, and graphic novels. I love to cook.

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